Las Grutas Tolantongo, also known as Las Grutas de Tolantongo or Las Grutas Hot Springs, is one of Mexico’s most impressive natural attractions. The stunning Tolantongo Canyon is home to a series of hot springs and breathtakingly beautiful geothermal pools. It’s open to the public and one of the prettiest spots in this part of Mexico.
Las Grutas Tolantongo has nine thermal pools that range in temperature from a cool 98 degrees Fahrenheit to nearly 111 degrees Fahrenheit; don’t stay in the latter for too long (and be sure to drink tons of water).
While the hot water is totally natural, the pools are human-made. But the skin-soothing water within them comes direct from beneath the earth. And the Las Grutas experience doesn’t just end with its thermal baths and white sand beaches. The canyon is also home to a wide range of wildlife, from birds and fish to butterflies and reptiles. Kayaking, rappelling, spelunking, and mountain biking are also popular activities at Las Grutas.
And if all that isn’t enough, some of the best campgrounds in Mexico are near Las Grutas Tolantongo. And because the springs aren’t near any huge cities, the stargazing can be incredible.
How to reach Las Grutas Tolantongo
Las Grutas Tolantongo can easily be reached by car. If you’re traveling from Mexico City, the drive takes about four and a half hours. Once you arrive at Las Grutas, most of the attractions are within walking distance. However, if you plan to explore further afield there are taxi services available on site or you can hire your own vehicle in nearby towns. There are extra fees for camping, camping gear rentals, the zipline, parking, and more. Fortunately, you can book it all online, and can add on shuttle service between the attractions.
Reaching Mexico City is fairly easy from most cities in the United States. Unfortunately, there aren’t any major airports much closer, which means you’ll likely need to rent a car to reach the springs. If you drive, you may want to spend the night at the springs at the on-site Las Grutas Tolantongo Resort. Rooms are basic, but they’re clean and comfortable, and you won’t be spending too much time in your room anyway, most likely. The catch is that you can’t reserve them in advance, and they only accept cash payments, so make sure to hit an ATM in Mexico City before you start the drive.
If you’d rather not go that route, your best bet would be to book a tour from Mexico City. Companies like Vibe Adventures offer long one-day tours that include everything from transportation to meals.
When to go
Normally, the best time to visit this part of Mexico is summer, as the high elevation means cooler temperatures when the rest of the country is quite hot. But since these are hot springs, you can visit year round, and soaking in the pools when it’s cool outside is quite pleasant. However, the lower-elevation areas around Las Grutas Tolantongo can be prone to flooding, so it may be best to avoid September, which tends to be the rainiest month.