Mexico Travel: las grutas Tolantongo
There are so many wonderful places to explore when traveling Mexico, but few can compare to Las Grutas Tolantongo. This unique place is a natural waterpark filled with thermal hot springs, bright turquoise rivers, warm hot springs with epic views, and caves to explore. While the destination is a bit off the beaten path, it’s well worth a detour. We show you what visiting Las Grutas Tolantongo is like and why it has been one of our favorite destinations as after RVing through Mexico.
Getting to las grutas tolantongo
Getting to Las Grutas Tolantongo is a bit of a trek with a very steep and windy drive into the canyon where the grutas are located. We drove from Teotihuacan, a suburb of Mexico City which is probably the most common place people travel from to get here. It’s around a three and half hour drive to the top of the canyon or you can choose to go to Las Grutas Tolantongo with a tour group who will help you get there and back. If you aren’t driving there in an RV like we did, we suggest planning to stay at least two nights, this will give you one full day to explore all of the Las Grutas Tolantongo, but if you have more time definitely spend several days there!
You cannot book hotel rooms before hand, however there are three hotels on site, and several more in the town just outside of Las Grutas Tolantongo. So if you plan to come, we suggest coming early and try to avoid visiting on the weekends. This is a very popular vacation destination for Mexican nationals and it can get extremely crowded on the weekends. Camping is also available where you can rent a tent and sleeping equipment from the hotel if the accomodations are booked.
what to bring to las grutas
Las Grutas Tolantongo is like a natural waterpark. There are activities for adventure and excitement, and areas to relax and enjoy incredible views. You can cater your experience to fit your interests, but in general it’s a good idea to bring the following:
- Waterproof camera (such as a cell phone or go pro)
- Water shoes
- Sunscreen (environmentally safe like this)
- Bathing suit
- Change of clothes
You cannot bring any water bottles, bags, or other items up to the cave or tunnel area. However you can bring your shoes and a towel. They have lockers you can rent for $80 pesos for the day at the bottom of the hill. There are also tons of stalls for food and refreshments and public restrooms to shower and change when you’re done.
exploring the caves
The area where the waterfall and caves are located is closest to the hotels and parking lots and is definitely best for those seeking a bit of adventure. As you walk along there are incredible waterfalls everywhere you turn, cascading into the hot thermal rivers. It’s an incredible sight!
At the top of the mountain there is a cave and a tunnel. You can walk to the end of the tunnel through a series of small pools where you climb up and down thermal features, feel the steam escaping through the walls, and have a serious adventure. The tunnel area is rather small and can get crowded on a busy weekend, so make sure to get here early if you want to venture in.
The cave is located below the largest waterfall and is a large cavern that has tons of thermal features pouring water into the very warm pool. At the back of the cavern there is small opening that leads to another area of the cave. It’s very dark in here, so have a flashlight or use the flashlight on your phone. This was a super cool and unique spot to explore and we enjoyed getting a “massage” from the water flowing from open thermal features. The current is extremely strong here, so you should be a strong swimmer if you want to explore.
relax in the pools
On the complete opposite side of Las Grutas Tolantongo is the thermal pools which are relatively warm (more like a lukewarm bath than a hot tub).
This is the area where the iconic instagram photos are taken or the incredibly epic shots overlooking gorgeous mountain vistas. These pools are super popular, so again get there early if you want to have the pools to yourself — or to be able to grab the instaworthy shot without lots of people in it.
There are technically two sides to the thermal pool area which can be accessed by walking through a steam tunnel, suspension bridge, or simply walking along a sidewalk at the top of the pool area by the hotel.
Las Grutas Tolantongo truly is a bucket list destination and I feel is a must if you’re planning to travel Mexico. Even though it can be a bit out of the way, or a trick spot to get to it’s 100% worth it. I would love to hear if this post helped you plan your trip to Las Grutas Tolantongo or if you enjoyed visiting there in the past. We can’t wait to come back here again and are thankful we were able to experience this wonderful place.
Liz & Dennis
We’re two travel-loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America as full-time RV’ers. This blog is where we share our lessons learned, tips and tricks, and favorite places to eat, see, and RV across North America! We hope it helps you find your wanderlust, plan and prepare for RV life, and get out on the road!
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