There's this beautiful little hidden gem just a few hours north of Mexico City that you absolutely have to travel to — unless you're not into vividly blue, warm water hot springs!
There are some major perks to living as a volunteer in Mexico. Not only are you teaching English in Mexico (to a group of cuties!) you're only teaching for 15-20 per week, giving you plenty of time to explore during the day. Plus, you'll have weekends off to adventure to Hidalgo, and hang out in these dreamy hot springs.
See what else Mexico is hiding with this Mexico Destination Guide — you’ll find our favorite tips, recommendations, and spots most tourists miss.
What's All The Fuss?
Well, the Grutas de Tolantongo is absolutely gorgeous. Also, it's crazy inexpensive to do all the things.
There's a hot water cave and a tunnel to explore (so bring a waterproof flashlight if you have one!). There's a stream with small rapids you can play in created by the water flowing from nearby waterfalls and caves. There's tons of small pools on a mountainside that you can hang out in full of warm thermal water. There's a zipline over the green valley and crystal waters (it's one of the best places to zipline in Mexico). You really could just spend the whole day enjoying the beautiful nature of Mexico and swimming.
There's not many westerners who have found out about this place yet, so it hasn't become the tourist trap that we always try to avoid. It's truly a hidden gem.
How Do I Get There?
The springs are located deep in a canyon near San Cristobal, Hidalgo just outside of Ixmiquilpan. It's tricky to get to — we recommend hiring a van to take you directly there. ILP Volunteers can chat with their Local Coordinators about making this happen, but you have other options.
The official website has transfer options from places like Mexico City, Tepotzotlan, and Queretaro with really easy step-by-step directions.
Where Do I Stay?
You can choose to stay right by the hot springs at night if you'd like. There's a few options for housing listed on their website — there are a couple places to stay right by the water and caves but be warned; they don't take reservations so your best bet is to arrive early, early, early and get a spot.
Just so you know, these accommodations aren't fabulous; they are pretty basic, with nothing really to do in the evenings if you decide to stay the night. We have had ILP volunteers who stay overnight in Huichapan, then took buses up to the hot springs for the day, then went back to Huichapan.
How Much Does It Cost? + Tips
For a day pass, plan on paying $140 pesos which gives you access to the pools and the cave.
Along with everything you might need for an overnight stay, plan on packing/wearing water shoes. If you explore the caves, you'll want protection from the stones that litter the bottom. Also, there are a few fast-moving-water activities so you'll want shoes that stay one.
Something else to note: this is the place to pack up a Go-Pro or waterproof camera! You will absolutely want pictures of this place, but you'll get wet. Make sure your phone is in a waterproof case, or bring on the Go Pro.
Good News for ILP Volunteers!
What's even better for our ILP volunteers in Mexico is that they happen to live close enough to visit on the weekends ... so you'll have the chance to go multiple times during your semester living in Mexico if you'd like. Just as a head's up though, there are tons and tons of weekend trips you can take, like San Miguel De Allende or the dreamy city of Leon.
It's really nice that you live so close because then you can just go on a normal weekend when there's less people. During a holiday weekend, this place is really popular so it gets pretty crowded.
Interested in seeing more of Mexico? Think about living there as an ILP volunteer! Our volunteers spend a semester living in Mexico teaching cute little kids how to speak English (read all about Kelsie's semester in Mexico, here) and get more info about volunteering in Mexico by clicking that green button: