Visit Las Grutas De Tolantongo Mexico Hot Springs
Have you ever kicked back in steamy springs? Alas, nothing beats the first time at the marvelous Grutas de Tolantongo.
The scenic hot springs are a revered itinerary and social media fascination, with several travelers tempted to document their great experience with this natural phenomenon. And their obsession is wholly justified.
The Las Grutas de Tolantongo, one Mexico’s best-kept secrets, is perched in the mountains of Hidalgo, a 4-hour drive from its capital. While here, you are greeted by the glistening turquoise-blue Tolantonga river and the lush vegetation surrounding it. And that is just the drumroll for the main event.
The cascading spring water over petrified travertine pools is a sight to treasure for many. Here is a guide to Grutas Tolantogo to help you plan your trip.
What is Las Grutas Tolantongo?
Las Grutas Tolantongo is a system of caves and grottoes. Water from the main grotto courses into the river, which ultimately runs through the several hot springs. The result is a captivating experience and exceptional views of the surrounding mountain for travelers.
The unique set of caves and springs are immersed in a canyon spread across a river of hot water with a hidden entrance beneath the falls. Besides its wholesome pools, the caves have thousands of stalactites and stalagmites if you want to explore deeper into its unusual construct.
The royal blue river lights up the cave and is so irresistible that you will take out your phone and take a snap.
The river waters reach a temperature of 90°F and flow through a series of rocks to form a series of waterfalls to create natural pools. Natural pools are also widely revered for their healing properties. In addition, the mud perched along the banks is known to offer myriad health benefits.
Is Grutas Tolantongo Natural?
Yes and no. The springs have both man-made and natural sections. The artificial semi-circle ponds, also known as “Parayso,” are built into the cliff wall and fed by the thermal river. Everything else about the Grutas Tolantongo is just very scenic & super natural.
Where is Tolantongo Grutas?
The remarkable hot springs are located in Hidalgo, a state home to one of the biggest Nahuatl populations in the country. Hidalgo is only a 4-hour drive from Mexico City and a 4.5-hour drive from Guanajuato. The scenic canyon is etched mountains along the Mezquital Valley, and getting there requires firm conviction but ultimately rewarding for travelers.
How to Get to Grutas Tolantongo from Mexico City?
There are several options for travelers when planning their trip to the Grutas Tolantongo. Unfortunately, taking a flight isn’t one of them. To get to the marvelous springs, you must go by road.
What Is the Best Way to Get from Mexico City to Tolantongo Caves?
The springs are a 4-hour drive from Mexico City, but the time frame varies depending on where you reside and your transportation mode. Here are some possibilities;
Driving from Mexico City to Tolantongo
Renting a car is a viable option and an effective one too. The drive to the destination makes for precious memories, particularly when traveling as a group. You will, however, need to take extra precautions when picking out a car in Mexico, so you don’t get conned. After the rental costs, it is much more affordable, with only toll gate fees and gas left to pay. It should cost about $23 in total.
Mexico to Tolantongo Bus and Colectivo
Taking a bus is hands down the cheapest way to visit Grutas Tolantongo. First, you will make your way to Tapo Bus station, where you will take the ADO bus to Pachuca. The bus takes a 2-hour trip to Pachuca and runs at a 3-hour interval. So, if you choose this method, timeliness is a must.
While at Pachuca, you will take another bus for a 2-hour trip to Ixmiquilpan. At Ixmiquilpan, you will take a 14-minute walk to a bus station to Ixmiquilpan and take another bus to Tolantongo. The bus takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes and makes only four daily runs.
As you can see, opting for a bus will take about 6 hours to get to the springs, and we have accounted for the waiting time between buses. However, the entire trip will cost you between $12 to $22, depending on what time of the day you set off.
Grutas de Tolantongo Tours
The third option is taking an organized tour. It is an effective option, particularly for those visiting the country for only a few days and wanting to get through the best of what Mexico offers. It is also much easier because you don’t have to do any of the planning and meet several travelers on the group tour.
There are several tour services, all equally captivating such as;
Tolantongo’s Hot Springs and thermal baths tour: This is one of the region’s highest-rated group tours and offers a comprehensive package. Most travelers who have taken this tour have been left impressed by Taz, a guide with a 4.98-star rating. With this tour, you get customized attention because the groups are small. The tour includes; hotel/Airbnb pick up, transportation, breakfast and lunch, entry ticket, a guide, and a visit to Virgin of Guadalupe Chapel.
Exploring the waters of Tolantonga tour: This is partly a comprehensive package and a great option. With this group tour, you will have to make your way to the Angel of Independence, but from there, everything is provided. The tour includes; transportation, breakfast, an entry ticket, and a guide.
Private Tour to Tolantonga Grottoes: This is the only option available if you fancy a private tour. The tour includes; hotel/Airbnb pick-up, transportation, entry ticket, and a tour guide.
Hot Springs and Subterranean Caves Tour: This tour offers a comprehensive package with several perks such as hotel/Airbnb pick up, transportation, breakfast and lunch, entry ticket, and a guide.
Unforgettable Tolantonga Tour: Get on this 12-passenger van tour and explore the breathtaking Grutas Tolantoga. And if you book your trip on a weekday, you will likely have even more space on the van. The tour includes; transportation, lunch (there are also vegetarian dishes), an entry ticket, and a guide.
So, what is the best way to get to Tolantogo? Of course, the best method depends on what sort of experience you are after. But door number three is a great way to see the springs without worrying about the cost of gas, the condition of the hired car, or the time the bus gets to the station. Joining a tour is the most stress-free option and the best way to get to the Las Grutas Tolantonga.
Best Things to Do in Hidalgo Mexico
Even though you are primarily in town to see the captivating Las Grutas Tolantonga hot springs, Hidalgo still has so much to offer. If you have a few days to spare, there are several other attractions in Hidalgo. They include;
Prismas Basalticos in Huasca De Ocampo
The breathtaking rock formations and waterfall are found within a 15-minute drive from Huasca de Ocampo and are a lovely day trip for several travelers. You will pay about $5 for an entry ticket, and the falls are open to tourists from 9 am to 6 pm. The morning hours are undoubtedly the best time to visit because the sun faces the waterfall.
Tula Archeological Site
The majestic site located in the city of Tula de Allende holds significant history. Tula was the capital of the Toltec Empire between the fall of the Teotihuacan and the rise of Tenochtitlan. The site is only a 2-hour drive from Mexico City. The site also has a museum, a proper place called Tula Grande, and remains of Tula Chico (an earlier settlement).
The main attraction here is the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl and the four 4-meter-high basalt columns curved in the shape of Toltec warriors (atlantes). For a comprehensive experience, you will need a guide to walk you through the site’s history.
Pahnu Archeological Site
This archeological site is relevant and an excellent itinerary for history buffs. Pañhú is a settlement for Xajay Culture, developed between 300 and 1100 years ago, and has close ties to the origin of the Otomis of Mezquital Valley. The site is relatively small, but its sweeping views make it a great day trip. You will pay about $4 for an entry ticket here, and a guide will walk you through the cave paintings’ history and relevance.
Where to Stay
There are many accommodation options to pick from depending on the experience you seek here.
Las Grutas de Tolantongo Hotels
There are five hotels on-site for travelers to pick from. However, given that this is essentially a rural area, the amenities at the ordinary Grutas de Tolantongo hotel are pretty basic and just comfortable for a pleasant stay. Need help finding stable Wi-Fi or a coffee maker here. Think of it as a vacation from urbanization.
The hotels at the grounds include; Paraíso Hotel (costs $80-$140), Paraíso Escondido Hotel ($40-$90), La Gruta Hotel ($32.5-$52.5), La Huerta Hotel ($40-$60 and only opens on weekends), and Molanguito Hotel ($32.5-$47.5 and opens only weekends). It is also worth noting that hotels in Grutas Tolantongo don’t accept bookings over the phone or online reservations. You will have to do everything old school. Arrive and head to a hotel of choice.
Las Grutas de Tolantongo Camping
For a truly remarkable outdoor experience, camping is the best accommodation option here and is popular amongst Mexican travelers and groups, particularly teenagers. If you come with your camping equipment, putting up your tent here won’t cost you anything.
And if you prefer to rent out the equipment, you can get everything from inflatable mattresses to blankets. The tent costs about $6-$12.5, the ground pad is $7.5, and everything will be set up for you as part of the cost.
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What to Bring to Tolantongo Grutas
Making a packing list goes a long way to planning a successful time at Las Grutas Tolantonga. Many factors go into making a packing list, such as the time of the visit and how long you plan to stay. First, we will start with the most obvious things and then move to the generalized packing lists.
- Cash: In Grutas Tolantonga, cash is king. So, carry enough cash to cater to your basic stay while here.
- Water shoes: Water shoes are very resourceful in Tolantongo, given the slippery surfaces around the waterfall and pools.
- Waterproof pouch: Since you will be lounging around waterfalls and pools, you must carry a waterproof bag.
Overnight Tolantongo Packing list
Since the area is remote, hotels don’t have stable Wi-Fi, and nights can get pretty boring. So, make appropriate plans, such as downloading all the movies and podcasts for later use. You can also carry a book to read. Also, have chargers for all your gadgets and an extra battery pack if you plan to use the camping facilities rather than the hotels. Finally, for general use, please carry pajamas, a water bottle, and snacks just in case you need something to munch on at night.
Free Printable Mexico Packing Checklist
Here is a free printable packing list offering more profound insight into what to bring and, more importantly, what not to get on your trip to Tolantongo.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Tolantongo Grutas?
The hot springs are open all year round because the region experiences spring weather most of the year.
Average Tolantongo Weather
The winter (December to February) can get chilly, particularly in the evenings. However, during the season, temperatures dip to about 10°C, making camping undesirable. It is also advisable to avoid the wet season (July and August) due to rain, but if you make sure to book a hotel instead of camping.
Tolantongo Admission Prices
After all this build-up, you must wonder how much it costs to go to Tolantongo. A day pass costs $7 and includes access to everything in the park except the zipline, locker rental, food, and drinks.
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Things to do at Tolantongo Grutas
There is so much to cover at Tolantongo that making an itinerary can be daunting. But worry not; we have a few ideas that you will love.
Tolantongo Cave and Tunnel
The cave and tunnel are located just to each other and are one of the most endearing day escape in Tolantongo. It is worth noting that the current here is very strong, and this is where most of the hotel water comes from. So be cautious while inside the Tolantongo Cave and tunnel.
In case you have been wondering, these are the gist of your trip. Everything else is secondary. The hot springs are the prime attraction of Tolantongo and have some exceptional views. The trick to getting the best out of your time here is to visit on a weekday. A weekend is synonymous with crowds; for some, that is enough to ruin an experience.
The Suspension Bridge
The suspension bridge hangs close to the pools and is a great way to see the surrounding canyon. It is a worthwhile experience, especially if you love incredible scenery.
The Tolantongo River is a must-see, and its glistening cascades need more publicity (at least not as much as it deserves). And whereas the hot springs get much attention, the stunning blue river is an endearment for sightseers.
La Gloria Tolantongo
Located in a separate section, La Gloria has breathtaking waterfalls and natural pools. You will pay $7 to access the grounds. La Gloria can be accessed by taking the bridge near the staircase below the Tolantongo cave and tunnel. Also, a 2,625-foot-long zipline at this site brings you over several areas of the park. Tolantongo Zipline is a pocket-friendly venture (costs $10) you must try.
Tolantongo Hiking Trails
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are several hiking routes around Tolantongo. For example, Peña del Cuervo is one of the best and shortest hikes in Mineral Del Chico Park. You will be charged about $2 to access Peña del Cuervo, but the remarkable views along the path make this 30-minute hike worth it all.
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Additional Tolantongo Information
For more information on Tolantongo, check out the official Grutas de Tolantongo website, which has varied information, such as the month illustrated above.
There is no doubt that Tolantongo is an unusual attraction; even the locals can’t get enough of it. So whether you love the outdoors or are looking for the next viral Instagram post, Tolantongo is the perfect destination.
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