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Grutas Tolantongo Mexico: What You Need to Know Before You Visit

Grutas de Tolantongo bridge

Everyone loves infinity pools and and hot spring pools. But have you heard of Mexico’s Tolantongo Caves or Grutas Tolantongo? They are a collection of pools heated by the surrounding volcanic mountains and built into a cliff amongst the Mezquital Canyon in the state of Hidalgo in Mexico. Although the heated pools are the main attraction, the resort offers much more — including two grottos with natural spring water, a cave with natural showers, a pristine turquoise river that runs through the canyon, and several waterfalls. This is definitely a bucket list destination!

Because the Tolantongo Caves are so secluded and internet/Wi-Fi services are limited in the area, it can be pretty difficult to plan a trip. Which is why I’m going to tell you everything you need to know before you visit this magical place!


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Best Time to Go

Please be aware that Tolantongo is a very popular attraction and thousand of visitors visit every day. I’m not sure if there is a “low-season,” but what I can tell you is that I visited in November and the crowds were reasonable. Additionally, the weather was perfect and the water was warm. Pro tip: wake up super early so you can enjoy and have the heated pools all to yourself — they open at 8am.


Hot Springs in Tolantongo


How To Get There

The nearest international airport is in Mexico City so, wherever you’re flying from, this is your best bet. From here, you can rent a car and drive yourself, or you can travel by bus with Flecha Roja or Ovnibus. The bus route is a little more complicated but definitely doable, just be aware that there are several taxi/bus transfers so you’ll be hopping from one vehicle to another. I suggest driving since you’ll save both money and time.

If you drive, please do so while the sun is out and avoid driving at night. The roads are a little bumpy and you’ll also encounter some sharp turns, which is why it’s safer to drive during the day.

The total travel time is about 3.5 hours from Mexico City, maybe 4 if you stop for a bathroom break and snacks. Other than that, the route is pretty straightforward — you take the Mexico – Pachuca highway to Ixmiquilpan (85), then exit on Libramiento a Cardonal, and that will guide you straight to Las Grutas de Tolantongo. You can find the detailed directions on the Google Maps app, which has a feature that allows you to download maps and access them while you’re off-line.


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Hotel and Accommodations

There are about 4 hotels inside the park but, like I said, internet connection is limited, therefore, the hotels do not provide online services (like room reservations and booking). You simply have to arrive and hope that a room is available. I suggest arriving early Thursday or Friday morning — your chances will be pretty good.

For the same reason, they do not accept electronic payments, which means you have to pay cash. Rooms start as low as $30 USD and only go up to $60 USD per night. What a steal!!

If you would rather camp, there are designated camping areas along the river. You can rent a tent from one of the hotels or bring your own. Either way, you still have to pay a park entrance+parking fee of $8 USD per day, per person (not valid 24hrs). For example; I went with my dad and we paid a total of $32 USD for two days.

Other Accommodations

The park offers almost every service you can possibly need — bus services, inner shuttle services (to drive you around the park since it’s so big), ziplining, camping equipment rentals (like chairs, tables, grills), locker rooms…you name it. They also have blankets, inflatable mattresses, firewood, ice, pillows, and padlocks for sale in case you forget anything.


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What To Bring

Like I said above, the hotels offer almost everything you could possibly need, but, here is a list of things you should bring yourself:

  • water shoes
  • snacks and water for the roadtrip
  • enough cash to last your entire stay
  • a GoPro and/or water proof phone case (trust me, you’ll want and need it)
  • a waterproof headlamp if you’re curious to explore the caves
  • a padlock to store away your belongings at the lockers near the waterfall and caves
  • a book or pre-downloaded Netflix movies/TV shows to entertain you when you lack internet connection

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How Much Does It Cost

Traveling to the Tolantongo Caves is one of the most affordable trips I’ve ever taken. Here’s a summary of my expenses (USD):

  • Flight from SFO to MEX: $360
  • Car rental + gas: $100 – $150
  • Hotel: $64 for two nights
  • Entrance Fee to the Park: $16 for two days
  • Food and snacks: $45 – $60 for two days

GRAND TOTAL: $585 – $650

However, because there’s so much to do and see in Mexico, I would suggest you add this Β to an already existing trip. Make the flight worth it and explore Mexico City or take a second road trip elsewhere.


Please be sure to visit their siteΒ for any changes and/or updates!


That’s it! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or tag me on Instagram if you visit Tolantongo, I’d love to hear about your experience!


Read More: Road Trip Through Southern Oregon for Less Than $500

cindyycheeks

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4 COMMENTS

  • Avatar
    roadtofreckles

    What a gorgeous spot. I’m flying into Mexico City next week and I didn’t know this place existed. Definitely heading there!

    • Avatar
      cindyycheeks
      AUTHOR

      YAY! How exciting! I’d love to see your pictures! πŸ˜„

  • Avatar
    Erica

    I’m currently making plans to visit Mexico City in August. I would love to visit this place, but would probably need to do a day trip. I’m a little nervous about driving there. How was the drive? How did you make arrangements to rent a car?

    • Avatar
      cindyycheeks
      AUTHOR

      YAY! That’s amazing! I definitely suggest at least 2 days though! Or, at least one night even if you leave early in the morning. The drive was perfectly fine, we had zero problems. Just make sure to download a google map of the route so you can use it offline because you will loose service here and there. You can go on Expedia.com and search for car rentals in Mexico City and they’re super inexpensive. Just reserve it and you pay in person.

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