Tips to enjoy Grutas of Tolantongo in Mexico

Did it happen to you that you see an incredible picture and imagine paradise? It’s so good taken that you immediately want to go there. And then, you arrive and realize that the picture had 100 people just outside the frame. That’s exactly what happened to me when I visited Tolantongo caves in Mexico.

I had a lot of expectations for the place, some of them fulfilled but the place definitely looks better in pictures.

However, it was a well-traveled weekend, the place is beautiful and just the drive to get there is stunning with the semi-dessert landscape.

To fully enjoy your experience of this natural hot spring paradise, here are 9 tips that will make your experience in Tolantongo much easier and I wish I had beforehand. 

1. ARRIVED LATE TO TOLANTONGO

I spent almost a full day traveling from Mexico City to the caves since I took public transport. By car, it’s around a four-hour ride. 

When we reach the park, it was already around 6 pm. Because of the hour, I only needed to pay for a one-day entrance to the park instead of two. I paid for the next day’s ticket only, even that I entered the park that day. 

If I would arrive a couple of hours early I should have paid two days instead of one.

If you are planning to stay just one full day arrive late, sleep there and wake up early to make the most of your day.

Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico | Travel blog

2. DON'T EXPECT TO BE ALONE

The legend said that Tolantongo used to be a lonely paradise, not anymore.

It is full of people all year. It’s been told that from Monday to Thursday there are fewer tourists, but even in “low-season” is still packed.

It is relatively close to Mexico City and other towns, so the place is quite popular for Mexicans.

They usually hit the place with the whole family, food to barbecue and feed a whole town, big speakers and the need of relaxing. You definitely won’t feel alone here!

Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico | Travel blog

3. YOU CAN'T MAKE RESERVATIONS

Tolantongo places three hotels and a camping service, but it is impossible to reserve by phone or email, so be prepared for anything.

The hotels are booked really fast since they aren’t really big, on the other side they have a large stock of tents to rent.

The tents are set up in front of the hot river, a beautiful spot to spend the night hearing the water at the background.

You can also rent blankets and sleeping mats for a good price. Altogether, a 4 person tent was less than $25. And it was really cool to wake up and immediately go for a swim in the spring waters.

Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico | Travel blog

4. BRING CASH AND FOOD

Everything inside the park needs to be pay in cash, so make sure you bring your money with you.

On the complex, you will find bars, stores and also lockers to put your things while you are enjoying the park, all of these only accept cash.

Although you can buy food in the stores and at the bar, they are quite pricey. My recommendation is that you bring some essentials like fruit, chips, almonds, or whatever you feel like eating. 

The park also has an area for barbecue, they sell the wood but not the meat.

5. BRING SUNSCREEN, SWIMSUIT & WATERPROOF CAMERA

If there is something essential that you need to pack to enjoy Tolantongo, it is sunscreen, a swimsuit and a waterproof camera.

You will walk and swim in the sun for a long time, in spite of being in the mountains the sun is strong and you will feel the sunshine on your skin. There are also some short treks around the park.

Also, make sure you don’t forget your camera, even better if it’s waterproof since you will be wet most of the time.

Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico | Travel blog

6. WALK AND ENJOY THE LANDSCAPE OF HIDALGO'S STATE

Tolantongo is placed in a beautiful semi-desert spot surrounding by mountains in the state of Hidalgo.

The hot springs, the caves, the swimming pools are all spread through the park.

As an example, from the caves to the hot springs swimming pools is a good 30 minutes walk, you can also take a bus but I definitely recommend walking the nice paths.

It is not tired or hard, it would be like taking a walk but a stunning one. Bring your water and good shoes, and don’t forget to sink in all the hot swimming pools you find.

Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico | Travel blog

7. HEAL YOURSELF ON THE HOT SPRINGS

The Tolantongo water has healing properties and it is a pleasure to spend time inside.

Enter the caves and breathe the steam that the spring water makes, it’s like being in a sauna.

The water temperature gets to 38 degrees (100 Fahrenheit), it’s perfect for cleansing and detoxing your body.

Is the water magical? There is proof that the Tolantongo waters have medicinal properties, especially for chronic skin diseases. They have high levels of calcium, which can prevent different types of dermatitis. Go for it, they won’t hurt you!

Grutas Tolantongo in Mexico | Travel blog

8. HOW TO GET TO TOLANTONGO BY BUS

1.Go to the North Terminal of Mexico City and take the bus that goes to Ixmiquilpan. The journey can be between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the traffic and how many stops the bus does.

2. Once you arrive at Ixmiquilpan take a local bus (or taxi) to the north side of Ixmiquilpan. The shuttle to the Tolantongo park is located in the parking lot next to the church of San Antonio, close to the main market.

3. Ask the locals if you don’t find the place, they are really friendly and would let you know the right direction.

4. The shuttle costs 50 pesos (USD$3) and it takes an hour to the main entrance of Tolantongo. Be careful because the shuttle only departures every hour on the weekends, and less often during the week. 

9. HAVE FUN AT TOLANTONGO

Although it is a crowded place and a touristic paradise, enjoy Tolantongo to the fullest.

It is a unique place, after all, mostly created by nature. Be impressed by the caves and the spring waters of the river, picture the cactus that surround the place and heal your body and mind while you are there.

 

Have you been to Tolantongo? Do you have more tips? Leave a comment

 

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