A Guide To Las Grutas Tolantongo

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Mexico is a treasure trove of natural and archaeological attractions to choose from. But, if you’re looking for a Mexican-style back-to-nature experience, Las Grutas Tolantongo is a hidden gem. This little-known natural area is far from any beaches or major cities.

A beautiful resort located in a canyon nestled within the mountains of Hidalgo, Las Grutas Tolantongo hides a spectacular wonder combining manmade elements and natural volcanic features. The word Gruta, meaning grotto in English, describes the large grottoes or water-filled caves located at one end of the canyon.

Las Grutas Tolantongo

What is Las Grutas de Tolantongo?

las grutas de tolantongo
Las Grutas de Tolantongo is a hidden gem that most visitors outside of Mexico are yet to discover.

A cooperative of families in this valley owns and operates the resort where Las Grutas de Tolantongo lies.

This family-friendly resort area contains several points of interest that draw visitors from all over Mexico.

The most famous attractions are the grottoes where waterfalls gush from above into the cave pools. The natural hot springs and the shallow, mineral-rich river are also significant attractions.

Many people believe that the minerals in the water promote health and vitality, and some spread the mineral deposits on their skin, particularly their faces.

Because the river is fed by the natural hot springs, it maintains a warm temperature year-round.

The most popular time to visit Las Grutas Tolantongo is during the warm, dry months, between March and June.

The resort is the most crowded during the Holy Week, Semana Santa, preceding Easter.

Most Mexicans flock to water during this important week, so foreigners may find it more enjoyable to avoid resorts near water during this national holiday.

Fortunately, this resort is open every day of the year. Because the pools and river are fed by hot springs, this is a popular resort to visit even during the cooler winter months.

Las Grutas Tolantongo allows visitors to escape the chaos of modern-day life by immersing them in a low-technology area.

The hotel rooms do not have television or Wi-Fi and the only cell phone signal in the area comes from Telcel.

Visitors who travel to this resort are looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation that allows them to decompress from their digital, technology-driven world.

How Much Does It Cost To Visit Las Grutas Tolantongo?

las grutas de tolantongo resort
It doesn’t cost much to visit Las Grutas de Tolantongo and you will experience a Mexican adventure.

The cost of a one-day ticket is MXN$150 (approximately US$7) per person for ages five and above. Children under the age of five visit free.

The tickets cover the cost of one day at the site, which opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm. It provides access to most of the activities in the park (except ziplines), access to bathrooms, and access to basic medical services.

Cash is the only form of payment accepted within the resort.

Parking within the resort and the shuttle transportation between zones have an additional cost.

The resort property contains several restaurants, snack stands, souvenir shops, rentals, and lodging.

None of these amenities is included in the ticket price and requires additional cash.

There are also lockers available that you can rent during the day if you are not staying at the resort and wish to have a secure place to keep your belongings.

Compared to many other resorts in Mexico, Las Grutas Tolantongo is a relatively inexpensive vacation spot.

The cost of food and beverages at the restaurants and snack stands are typically cheaper than beach resort prices.

In addition, hotel rooms are less expensive than at many other resorts.

For foreign visitors who want to see a unique natural area at a reasonable price, this is the place to visit.

Tour companies can organize trips to this resort area for visitors who are not fluent in Spanish, making visiting Las Grutas Tolantongo even more stress-free.

Always check the resort’s website for up-to-date pricing for hotels, rentals and transportation.

There are no ATMs on the resort and the nearest town is an hour’s drive away, so make sure you have enough cash to enjoy the park.

Where can I stay overnight to enjoy Las Grutas Tolantongo?

Many options are available for spending the night either at the park or nearby.

Outside of the park, you can find several hotels on the road between Las Grutas Tolantongo and Ixmiquilpan.

In Ixmiquilpan itself, there are many hotels to choose from and buses to Tolantongo.

Where To Stay At Las Grutas de Tolantongo

las grutas de tolantongo swimming
There are several places to stay at Las Grutas de Tolantongo but don’t expect luxurious accommodation.

Accommodation Near Grutas Tolantongo

Hotel Molanguito

Hotel Molanguito is close to the resort, only 8 km away, and is a popular place to stay as it has hot water and Wi-Fi.

You can catch a shuttle from the hotel to Las Grutas Tolantongo and back each day.

Unfortunately, this hotel is only available on weekends and holidays. It does not accept reservations in advance and you must pay in cash.

Accommodation In Grutas Tolantongo

There are three different zones within the resort property and each zone has its own accommodations and nearby attractions.

Hotel rooms within Grutas Tolantongo are basic, containing a bed and bathroom. These hotels do not offer Wi-Fi or hot water like the Hotel Molanguito. Instead, the water for showering is more tepid in temperature. However, some of the hotel rooms contain a balcony with spectacular views of the canyon below.

Paraiso Escondido

The Paraíso Escondido zone contains two hotels open every day – Paraíso Escondido and Hotel Paraíso.

These hotels are close to the thermal pools, hiking trails, suspension bridge, tunnel and zipline.

In addition, there are swimming pools in this zone, one of which has a water slide. So that makes this zone an excellent area for kids to play.

Paraíso Escondido also has several cabins available for rent, separate from the main building. Neither Paraíso Escondido or Hotel Paraíso accepts reservations.

La Gruta

The La Gruta zone is closest to the grottoes, the tunnel into the mountain, the waterfall and the upper section of the river.

There is one hotel in this zone, La Gruta, made up of several buildings. This hotel is in service every day. Like the other resort hotels, this hotel also does not accept reservations.

La Huerta

The third zone in the resort park is La Huerta. This zone has one small hotel, La Huerta, that is only open to guests on weekends and holidays.

It is located close to a hiking area and close to the river, downstream from the zone, La Gruta. This hotel also does not accept reservations.

Camping At Grutas Tolantongo

las grutas tolantongo thermal pool
Camping is a back-to-nature adventure suitable for families at Las Grutas de Tolantongo.

Camping is available in all three zones.

In the Paraíso Escondido zone, tents can be pitched near the forest, where there are hiking trails and ziplines.

Some of the hot springs are also near the campsites.

La Huerta and La Gruta offer tent sites along the river, with bathrooms, dressing rooms and showers available to campers.

Camping along the river in La Huerta and La Gruta is not recommended during the rainy season from late June through to August.

Tent rentals are available for those without camping equipment, and resort staff will set up your tent in a location of your choice.

In addition to the tents, you can rent tables, chairs, blankets, air mattresses, tent nails, grills, camp pads and padlocks. You can also purchase firewood, charcoal and ice.

Check the resort website for up-to-date pricing for these rental items.

Las Grutas Tolantongo Tips

grutas de tolantongo hot springs
Las Grutas de Tolantongo is an unexpected attraction in Mexico that’s off the beaten track.

1- If you plan on staying overnight at the park, either camping or in a hotel, you must purchase tickets for two days of access to the park. For example, if you want to spend Saturday night, buy a park ticket for Saturday and Sunday.

2- No reservations are accepted for camping or hotels.

3- Cash is the only accepted form of payment at the resort.

How To Get To Las Grutas Tolantongo?

las grutas tolantongo waterfall
Las Grutas de Tolantongo is run by a group of local families.

Las Grutas Tolantongo is in the state of Hidalgo, a four-hour drive from Mexico City and a three-hour drive from Querétaro City.

If you’re planning on driving to Las Grutas Tolantongo, only drive during the day as it’s safest to avoid driving on rural highways at night in Mexico.

From Mexico City and Querétaro City, you can also take a bus to Ixmiquilpan, about 42 km (26 miles) from Las Grutas Tolantongo.

There’s a bus service from Ixmiquilpan to Tolantongo, where you can catch a shuttle into Las Grutas Tolantongo.

Guests staying at Hotel Molanguito can take a bus to Tolantongo and the shuttle into the park.

Other local shuttles or taxi services are available within the park at nominal cost to carry visitors to different zones.

The bus from Ixmiquilpan to Tolantongo starts running at 9.30 am and has a final departure time at 6.30 pm. The bus departs every two hours from Monday through Thursday, but from Friday through Sunday, the bus leaves every hour. This bus picks up riders from the San Antonio church parking area and transports them to Tolantongo.

The bus from Hotel Molanguito runs every day, but the departure times are not posted online. Check the resort’s website for up-to-date bus schedules to Las Grutas Tolantongo.

What To Do At Las Grutas Tolantongo?

las grutas de tolantongo staircasehidalgo
If you love the outdoors, you’ll find plenty to do at Las Grutas de Tolantongo.

Las Grutas Tolantongo has many activities available for all age groups and activity levels.

Paraiso Escondido

For the less adventurous visitors or those with small children, the Paraíso Escondido zone has a series of interconnected hot springs that jut out from the side of the mountain.

There are a series of stairs carved into the side of the mountain that allow visitors to climb to the thermal pool they want.

The view of the canyon from these pools is incredible, and it is recommended that visitors arrive early to have the best choice of thermal pool.

This zone also has a few swimming pools of varying depths close to the hotels.

There is also a tunnel and hiking available in this zone.

Ziplines are another activity in this zone, but there is an additional cost to participate (MXN$200).

Visitors who choose to hike to the suspension bridge in this zone will have a wide, unrestricted view of the canyon below.

La Gruta

In the La Gruta zone, swimming pools are available around the hotel buildings and access to the warm river.

However, a couple of activities require more physical exertion and may not be appropriate for young children and people who have mobility issues.

One of these activities is a visit to the grottoes, where access requires climbing up a long set of stairs from the river.

You walk through the waterfall to discover a series of caves filled with hot water (approximately 36°C/96°F), where you can swim around the grottoes and explore.

To gain access to some of the chambers within the grottoes requires swimming underwater.

A tunnel goes into the mountain and can be accessed by walking through the waterfall.

Once inside, there are ropes available throughout the tunnel to help visitors explore.

The tunnel is partially underwater and climbing some of the sections inside requires some effort.

Despite the challenge, the beauty of both the grottoes and the tunnel is well worth exploring.

La Huerta

The La Huerta zone contains several activities appropriate for all ages.

There’s easy access to the warm, shallow river in this zone, and the current is slower in this downstream portion of the river compared to the part that runs past the La Gruta zone.

Access to some thermal pools and hiking also requires less effort than La Gruta.

Where To Eat At Las Grutas Tolantongo?

Las Grutas Tolantongo has several restaurants and snack options available throughout the resort in all three zones.

Three larger sit-down restaurants are open on weekends and holidays, but not every day during the week as the restaurants open on a rotational basis.

In addition to these three restaurants, there are five smaller, less expensive restaurants.

A couple of these – El Paraje and El Paraíso – are only open on Sundays and holidays.

These restaurants offer a wide variety of different regional dishes that are sure to delight visitors who have spent their day lounging in the hot springs or hiking through the forest.

Several small snack stands and convenience stores are scattered throughout the zones that offer bags of chips and candy, tortillas, tortas, quesadillas, and other small snacks in addition to various beverages.

Prices of the food items are not posted on the resort website but are relatively inexpensive compared to restaurant prices outside of the resort.

The restaurants and stores at the resort only accept cash and the closest ATM is in Ixmiquilpan, an hour’s drive away.

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Angie Grier is a spicy señora living in central Mexico with a penchant for freelance writing. Having spent most of her adult life writing first as a scientist and then as a teacher, she now contributes articles on a wide variety of topics for a number of print and online media sources. When she’s not shopping in Tonalá or eating chilaquiles, she writes a travel blog detailing her life and adventures in Mexico at www.onaroadleadingsomewhere.com.