In the state of Hidalgo, hidden a few minutes from the town of Ixmiquilpan in the municipality of Cardonal, is the Eco Tourist Park “Las Grutas de Tolantongo”, a park that allows you to enjoy the warm thermal waters of its pools and other forms of relaxation. Whether you are traveling as a couple or as a family, Grutas de Tolantongo offer a variety of activities to do that can take you a couple of days, so we recommend that you plan your trip for at least two days.
Las Grutas de Tolantongo are the perfect destination if you are looking for a relaxing weekend. It is one of the most famous spas in Hidalgo, a beautiful place to rest and get away from the monotony of the city. This destination can offer a natural paradise, among hot springs, geological formations, rivers full of aguas de Tolantongo and a cave, as you can see there is a variety of things you can do in this quiet place.
So that you can enjoy your walk at your leisure and cover the entire route, here is everything you need to know about Las Grutas de Tolantongo.
- What are the Grutas de Tolantongo?
- Where are Las Grutas de Tolantongo?
- How to get to Tolantongo Grutas?
- What is the best season to visit Grutas de Tolantongo?
- What is the origin of this peculiar name – Las Grutas de Tolantongo?
- What is the story behind Grutas de Tolantongo?
- The best things to do at grutas de tolantongo hidalgo
- Where to stay in Tolantongo?
- Where to eat in Tolantongo?
- How much does it cost to go to Grutas de Tolantongo?
- What should I wear to go to Grutas de Tolantongo?
- Camping at Las Grutas de Tolantongo
- Recommendations for your visit to Las Grutas de Tolantongo
- FAQs about las Grutas de Tolantongo
What are the Grutas de Tolantongo?
Las grutas de Tolantongo are a natural paradise hidden in the state of Hidalgo, Central Mexico. It is characterized by hot springs, waterfalls, caves, tunnels and pools, it is an ideal place to relax. All of them are natural formations that you can access and enjoy either with your family or friends.
Where are Las Grutas de Tolantongo?
To get there you must first pass through the town of Ixmiquilpan, which is 42.9 km from the final destination, and from there follow the signs to the caves. You can get there either by bus or private car.
When passing through Ixmiquilpan you can take the opportunity to see the sculpture of Diana the Huntress, which is the one that was originally located on Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City. The one that is currently in the capital is a replica.
Once you get to the caves, you can stay either inside the park, where there are several hotels and camping areas, or outside the park there are also hotels where you can stay.
How to get to Tolantongo Grutas?
The most common points to get to this earthly paradise are from Mexico City or Queretaro.
If you travel by bus from the CDMX choose the one that takes you to Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo, in this place we will look for a bus that will take us to the Morelos market until we find the parking lot of “San Antonio” and there board the minibus directly to Las Grutas de Tolantongo.
If you go by car, the most important recommendation is to travel during the day, now we head to the Mexico-Pachuca highway until we find a detour to the left that says: Actopan, Hidalgo, we head back to the Pachuca-Ixmiquilpan highway, arriving to the place we find an exit to “El libramiento a Cardonal” we go straight and we find the signs de Tolantongo.
And traveling by car from Queretaro, take the Queretaro-Mexico highway until you find an exit to Pachuca passing San Juan del Rio and “Palmillas”, passing through Huichapan we arrive to Ixmiquilpan, arriving there we locate the church of San Antonio where you will see the exit to Cardonal where little by little we will arrive to the Caves.
What is the best season to visit Grutas de Tolantongo?
If you want your visit to this tourist attraction in Hidalgo to be as magical as possible, you should consider two aspects: the weather and the day of the week. For example, your experience at Las Grutas de Tolantongo can be very different if you travel in winter on a weekend than in summer during the week.
Taking into account that the cold months are from December to March and the rainy season is from June to August, it could be said that the best with the best weather to visiting Tolantongo is between April and May if you want a pleasant climate and if you are looking for a more autumnal one what better than to go from September to November.
Also if you want to make the most of Las Grutas de Tolantongo facilities it is best to go when there are fewer visitors, ie during the week and early to enjoy the day without worries and crowds.
Read also: Best time to travel to Cancun
What is the origin of this peculiar name – Las Grutas de Tolantongo?
We start from the assumption that, according to Enrique Rivas Paniagua, the name comes from tonalli, which means “heat of the sun” or “where you feel warmth” in Nahuatl. It is then when Enrique Rivas Paniagua, in the book ‘Lo que el viento nos dejó: hojas de terruño hidalguense”, explained that the neighboring towns referred to these caves with the name of Tonaltongo. Even so, when they were discovered, the name was misspelled but it was the one that was officially adopted: Tolantongo.
What is the story behind Grutas de Tolantongo?
San Cristobal belongs to the municipality of Cardonal and was born when the hacienda “La Florida” was expropriated. Tourism began there in the 1960s. Today tourism is the main activity in this area, since it has Las Grutas de Tolantongo Water Park and the La Gloria Water Park.
When it opened it began to offer services such as the rental of horses, donkeys and mules to go down the ravine. As time went by, food and camping sites were added. From the beginning a price was established to enter the Grotto. This money was used to adapt the facilities. Dressing rooms, showers, walkways and stairs were built.
In 1995, the Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) and the Secretary of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) proposed the integration of Tolantongo into a Natural Protected Area (NPA), a measure that was rejected.
Tourism had been maintained until 2002, but it has increased due to the promotion of the place through its website. Today Las Grutas de Tolantongo is a tourist complex with hot springs, in addition to a set of three pools that run along the canyon walls.
The best things to do at grutas de tolantongo hidalgo
The state of Hidalgo is a wide range of options to satisfy the tastes of every Traveler Magazine reader, and to open the way to discover it is to enter a festival of sensations with its Magical Towns, its mining history, its rich culinary tradition and its landscapes.
And speaking of landscapes, the outdoor activities you will experience at Las Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico add to the tourist benefits of this Mexican destination that asks nothing to places outside the country. Just imagine yourself dazzling before the basaltic prisms, touring its archaeological sites, the Sierra Gorda and giving yourself a gift of peace in its hot springs. What a perfectly balanced experience!
And among all these possibilities you can enter an oasis that emerges from the mountains. It is the perfect opportunity for you to not only imagine yourself there or see in a photo the incredible color of the warm water of the river and the pools. Interested? So, keep reading and discover all the best things to do at Las Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico:
Visiting the Tolantongo cave (La Gruta)
In the park, in a cavity formed between the rocky walls, you will find La Gruta de Agua Termal, a natural space in which a waterfall of warm water falls into the water well below it and where you can swim and relax.
Inside Tolantongo caves, you can observe the stalactites and stalagmites that, over the years, have been formed by the filtration of water between the rocks and their minerals.
The water from Tolantongo cave in turn supplies the pools and the thermal water river of the park, in a network of internal aquatic connections that connect the natural waters throughout the park.
To enter Las Grutas de Tolantongo as a couple, hold on to your partner, as the area can be very slippery due to the constant flow of water between the stones of the waterfall that serves as a backdrop to the entrance.
Hold the children’s hands and do not neglect them, the depth of the water in the well can be dangerous for the little ones. Although both the entrance and the interior have handrails to hold on to, it is best to be cautious.
Relax in the Thermal Pools (Las Pozas Termales)
A natural jewel of Mexico are these 40 pools that are staggered in the ravine of this magnificent place, its scenery is worthy of admiration in which even people from other countries can’t resist its beauty; it is time to make real the photo that we see so much and that inspires us. Let’s swim in these natural jacuzzis!
The essence of these pools is their turquoise color, because the water comes from a spring with a unique transparency and ideal temperature to relax, reaching up to 38 degrees Celsius.
The panorama of these thermal pools is impressive but its relaxation and tranquility are the best part, water will fall to you like a waterfall and when you enter to take a natural bath, the view that you will have is a gift of Hidalgo just for you, you will never forget it.
Discover the Steam Tunnel (El Túnel de Vapor)
Following one of the stairs of the incredible pools, you will arrive to a steam tunnel framed by stones and a walkway that covers your feet with water.
This tunnel has a dim light and the sound of the water will give you a touch on your way to the other point, plus you will see columns and natural pools to rest for a while.
Practice Hiking in front of such Nature
It is time to connect with the land of this place, enjoying on foot the trails and routes being a good way to receive the surprises of the vegetation, the sounds of nature and the river.
Willing to let yourself be amazed in your walk is that nature will leave you incredible messages; you can take shelter under the shade of a tree, take excellent pictures of the landscape and let the magic accompany you.
Fly up to a thousand meters away in its zip lines.
It’s your turn to fly through the air at full speed and in front of the natural panorama of the mountains. At Grutas de Tolantongo you can make up to four launches and fly up to 1,890 meters!
So you choose to do a 280-meter launch, go over 600 meters or do the whole adventure. What an adrenaline rush!
Give to your memory the views of the waterfalls.
To the delight of our eyes, the waterfalls of the Grotto Zone are impressive, the falling water also relaxes our ears being an immense scenery to contemplate and live it in all its expression.
You will be able to see vegetation, rock formations and the warm water that falls into the riverbed; choose the place you like the most and don’t forget to take great pictures as a souvenir.
Take a steam bath in Las Grutas de Tolantongo
As the name of this oasis says, the caves are a great attraction since the currents that come out of them feed the pools and the river de Tolantongo. To take a thermal bath here is to relax your body to the maximum with the 38 degrees of its waters, turning out to be very warm and captivating, but this experience looks better with the panorama because the entrance is hidden with the water of the waterfalls.
The first vault where you will enter to swim and relax has a height of up to 40 meters and you will observe its stalagmites and stalactites on the ceiling, these are formations made by the precipitation of minerals found in the water itself. A natural steam bath with natural showers!
Give a little bit of mystery to your walk in the Thermal Tunnel (Túnel Termal)
The experience of the caves (grutas) is getting more and more exciting, now you will be captivated by a tunnel formed at the top of the waterfalls, you will climb some stairs where the water current is falling, with great care you will be able to enter this wonderful enigmatic space.
At the door of this tunnel your eyes will see the mountainous landscape, the vegetation and everything that covers Tolantongo and now you will go into the tunnel, unique because more thermal water will continue to fall.
Enjoy the turquoise blue Tolantongo River
The water energy that runs through this river covers the entire park, so you will witness the magic of this vibrant walk through the ravines either from Paraíso Escondido or Las Grutas, its color is worthy of spring water with an incredible transparency and a fascinating natural environment.
You can also enjoy this natural attraction since the camping area is located on the shore of this great river, which is also very shallow; it is advisable to do it with water shoes and with great care, but you will certainly spend hours of true delight.
Dare to cross el Puente Colgante
A suspension bridge (in the best suspense movie style) you need to cross to access the area of La Gruta and the Túnel de Vapor. This bridge joins two ends of the mountain and it is a real treat to appreciate the view.
This bridge allows you to see not only the park, its pools and the river, but also the state of Hidalgo. Crossing it -besides a good adrenaline rush- will give you breathtaking views and you will be able to take some great pictures.
It is a very safe bridge, well fastened and tensioned, so leave aside the fear of heights and venture into the experience of walking across it.
As you cross it you will find the access road to the Steam Tunnel (el Túnel de Vapor), which runs along one side of the bridge. If you stop in the middle of it and turn towards the entrance of the tunnel, another beautiful view will awaken your eyes: the magical waterfall that runs in front of it.
Swimming in Tolantongo River
It is a warm water river that crosses the length of the park.
Adapted between rocks to form some warm pools, this wonderful and natural river starts in a kind of rapids and culminates in segments that offer quiet spaces for swimming and enjoyment.
It is a river of turquoise waters, one of the main attractions around Grutas de Tolantongo Hidalgo.
Whether swimming in it or simply sitting on its shore, the stay in its waters provides true relaxation. The best thing is that, due to its shallow depth, children can play and swim peacefully.
The most incredible thing about this river is that it is totally natural, its waters come from the mountain and the warmth of the same is maintained throughout its length. It is truly a wonder of nature hidden among the mountains of Tolantongo.
Enjoy the breathtaking views of Grutas de Tolantongo
Recreate your mind and engrave in your memory the memory of the most beautiful landscapes, stopping to appreciate the views that the nature of Hidalgo and las Grutas de Tolantongo give you.
Whether on the suspension bridge or in the warm water of a pool, you can appreciate for hours the beautiful scenery of Hidalgo, the majesty of its mountains and the turquoise waters of the Tolantongo River.
One of the best views is the wonderful natural fall of thermal water that flows over the rocks and falls on you before entering the Steam Tunnel or La Gruta: a unique moment of sight and a pleasant reception of the water to give you what it hides among the rocks.
Where to stay in Tolantongo?
Tolantongo Park has five beautiful and comfortable hotels for your rest:
- La Gruta
- Paraíso Escondido
- La Huerta
- La Gloria Tolantongo
Those are hotels with all the comfort of a five star hotel, except for the TV and wifi that none of them have.
The hot water comes from the hot springs and the route it takes to reach the hotels; if it is a cold day, the water may not be very hot.
The hotels in Tolantongo do not work with reservations, so we recommend you arrive very early in the morning or the Friday before the weekend, so that you can find available rooms.
If you can’t get a room, don’t worry, you can still stay overnight in Tolantogo by renting a tent available at the hotels.
Where to eat in Tolantongo?
Each hotel has its own restaurant, but there are also fondas where you can enjoy the best Mexican dishes.
Restaurants such as Grutas Tolantongo, Concina Nohemí or Las Palomas have a history in the caves and are highly recommended by tourists.
If you have to leave the park to go somewhere else, but you are coming back (for example, to go to a restaurant or leave Paraíso Escondido to go to Las Grutas or to the river), don’t forget to bring your entrance ticket: the only guarantee that you have already cancelled your access.
How much does it cost to go to Grutas de Tolantongo?
The cost of a day or weekend at Las Grutas de Tolantongo can vary depending on the number of people and whether you go by car or not.
The Tolantongo entry fee is 140 pesos ($7.30) per person per day. The entrance fee includes access to all the park’s attractions in its two zones, both Paraíso Escondido and Las Grutas.
With one ticket you can enjoy the caves, the tunnel, the waterfall, the hanging bridge, the pools, the swimming pools, hiking, the river and the zip line jump. The entrance fee is valid for one day, so if you go for two days you must pay double entrance fee.
Transfers within the park can be done in your vehicle, for which you must also pay a parking fee of 20 pesos ($1). But if you need internal transportation and you do not have a vehicle, the cost is 10 pesos ($0.50) per person and does not cover the round trip.
As for hotels, the cost per night for a 2-person room starts at 650 pesos ($34) and goes up to 1100 pesos ($57.5) for a 6-person room.
Camping equipment for rent ranges from 100 pesos ($5) for 4 people to 250 pesos ($13) for 10 people.
What should I wear to go to Grutas de Tolantongo?
To go to Las Grutas de Tolantongo, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes with grip, very light clothing since the sun is a little strong and inside the caves there will be humidity. So, if you are a cigar aficionado you will need the best travel humidor if you want to keep your cigars fresh and in a perfect condition.
If you have a camera, we recommend that they be waterproof or in their respective plastic cases. Try not to carry too much luggage in your bag, take what you need, food, some clothes to change, a towel, some fruits for the road and sunglasses.
You can use hats since you will be either walking or enjoying the scenery outdoors all day long, don’t forget to bring sunscreen.
Camping at Las Grutas de Tolantongo
To make the most of a weekend in Tolantongo you should stay at least two days in this incredible destination. If you are one of those who prefer to live a camping experience, this is possible; you can rent a tent with mattresses, buy some firewood for that fun campfire.
At night the panorama is totally different from what you see during the day, the stars and the moon are in charge of giving you a divine view.
If you are thinking of traveling to this destination, it is possible that you may also feel like having a barbecue to enjoy the outdoors and the nature that the Caves offer, if this is in your plans you should bring your grill and everything you need for your barbecue to be the best one.
If on the other hand you prefer to eat typical food of the region you will find a couple of restaurants that offer fish, jerky and delicious quesadillas.
What you can’t miss is the typical barbecue from Hidalgo, try to arrive early so you can get consome with chickpeas and some delicious barbecue taquitos.
After this description you are probably already convinced that your next trip will be to the Grutas de Tolantongo, so we have to share with you some tips for your trip.
Recommendations for your visit to Las Grutas de Tolantongo
Travel during the week
Tolantongo has become a very popular tourist area, so on weekends it is crowded with people. For a quiet enjoyment of your stay, we recommend visiting during the week.
Wear the right clothes
To bathe in Tolantongo hot springs, bathing suits are required, so don’t leave them behind; for the walk, wear sportswear and, for your stay and to go to the restaurants, don’t forget your jacket, as it can get cold.
Wear water shoes
The entire area of Tolantongo caves – whether it is the Steam Tunnel, La Gruta de Tolantongo, the pools or the river – can be dangerously slippery due to the constant rubbing of the water against the rocks and the ground, therefore the use of aquatic shoes is recommended.
Leave your accessories and jewelry behind
The water current is strong in Tolantongo, so your accessories such as watches, earrings or bracelets can get loose in the water and end up lost, so it is best to leave them at home.
There are no points of sale in the entire complex formed by “Las Grutas de Tolantongo” Tourist Center, so you cannot use your debit or credit cards: everything, absolutely everything, must be paid in cash.
Bring water diapers
If you are traveling with babies, you must include in your luggage special diapers for water, since in Tolantongo they will not allow you to take them into the water if you do not have the proper diapers.
Bring cameras and waterproof equipment
At Tolantongo all the water attractions involve water falling on you at some point. So, in order to be able to take pictures underwater, it is best to bring submersible photographic equipment; otherwise, you may lose the opportunity to capture wonderful images.
Remember to bring flashlights for the water, as there are dark areas between the tunnel and the grotto in which, without a powerful flashlight, you will not be able to get good pictures.
Remember that there are no reservations
Once again we remind you that the hotels at the Grutas de Tolantongo do not have reservations, so it is best to arrive very early on Saturday or, better yet, visit on weekdays to reduce the risk of not finding an available room.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite backpack with lots of pockets and explore the best of Tolantongo!
FAQs about las Grutas de Tolantongo
After arriving at Ixmiquilpan Hidalgo City, take a colectivo van from the Ixmiquilpan bus station toward the municipal garden until you get to the “Morelos Market.” From there, walk to the north to the San Antonio parking lot colectivo/microbus station where there is a colectivo directly to Las Grutas Tolantongo.
The distance from Mexico City to Tolantongo is about 125 miles (200 km), and the drive takes about four hours each way in normal traffic (eight hours total).
Caves, Tunnel, Waterfalls and Swimming Pools: From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thermal Pools (Just a few) and River: From 8:00 am to 09:00 pm
Yes, there are several guided Grutas de Tolantongo tours available. Here are some examples:
Incredible Tolantongo Caves from CDMX
Las Grutas Tolantongo tour
Tolantongo Caves Small Group Tour
Exploring the Waters of Tolantongo
Tolantongo’s Hot Spring pools and Thermal Baths Tour
Hot Springs and Subterranean Caves Tour
Short answer: YES! This destination is one of the best of Mexico’s hidden gems. Las Grutas Tolantongo is a spectacular turquoise water playground and is an Instagram-worthy area where everywhere is worth taking pictures in.
Some of the best hotels near Las Grutas Tolantongo in Tolantongo are:
Hotel Del Valle Inn
Hotel Dios Padre
Food, drinks and soap are not allowed in the thermal water areas. Campers can bring their own food and drinks but are required to use the trash facilities on-site.
Water shoes are essential! In fact, these are required to enter the caves. Pack your own or opt to purchase some water shoes at the bodegas at the base of the Grutas de Tolantongo.
Sorry, but you can’t enter to the park with any types of pets.