Las Grutas de Tolantongo 2024 Guide: How to Plan the Best Trip

Have you drooled over the super aesthetic Mexican hot springs all over Instagram? Here’s everything you need to know to plan a trip to Las Grutas de Tolantongo aka Tolantongo Hot Springs in Hidalgo.

And if you enjoy this post, check out my Hot Air Balloon Guide from Mexico City!

visitors lounging in naturally blue warm thermal limestone pools at Las Grutas de Tolantongo park and resort on sunny spring day.
Jazzmine relaxing and sunning her brown skin in a Mexican mountain hot spring pool or gruta de tolantongo.

What are Las Grutas de Tolantongo?

You’ve probably seen stunning photos of the sparkling blue pools cascading down the side of a mountain but Las Grutas Tolantongo is actually so much more.

The man-made pools are carved out of limestone and filled with naturally warm thermal water that flows through the mountain. There’s a limestone river, caves, waterfalls and even camping grounds plus a zipline surrounding the pools, all part of Tolantongo Resort. Think of it as a relaxing warm water park for all ages!

Tolantongo is located in Hidalgo state, which is in central Mexico and about four hours from Mexico City.

mossy waterfall dripping over entrance to Las Grutas Tolantongo cave and tunnels.
Waterfall entrance to Tolantongo caves and tunnels
water spraying down over swimmers inside Tolantongo cave.
The partially underground caves that source naturally warm water in Tolantong’s thermal river

Tolantongo Resort

If you plan to visit overnight and don’t know where to stay, the resort is a solid option. There are plenty of restaurants around, a shop to buy anything you may have forgotten, indoor lodging, and campgrounds. There’s also an infirmary onsite, which came in clutch because I did have a little accident during this visit.

I recommend enjoying a meal at Fonda Paraiso, which is just a short walk from the thermal pools and open all day.

How to Get There

Driving from CDMX

Getting to Las Grutas from Mexico City takes about four hours by car and makes for a great day trip from CDMX but I don’t recommend driving by yourself because the roads are quite twisty with lots of bumps, animals crossing, and large holes in some spots.

I visited the springs during a Mexico City solocation but made the trip with a Mexican hot springs group excursion from Mexico City and we left early in the morning while it was still dark to arrive right when the park opened, which was just perfect.

It’s a scenic drive through mountains and, as you get closer, small towns and farmland. You’ll see bright green signs guiding you to the springs.

I had a great experience and recommend this tour for guided visits to Las Grutas especially because booking reservations is not allowed. Even better, they picked me up at my hotel in Roma neighborhood in Mexico City!

Nearby Airports

In order of distance, the closest airports to the grutas are:

  • Aeropuerto Internacional Felipe Angeles (AIFA) – about 165km
  • Queretaro Intercontinental Airport (QRO) – about 186km
  • Mexico City International Airport (MEX) – about 200km
  • Toluca Airport (TLC) – about 230km
Jazzmine perched on ledge of a Tolantongo gruta hot spring pool in a chocolate one piece bathing suit looking at view of trees and a distant mountain.

Best Time to Visit

Because the weather is generally very warm ,the Tolantongo resort and park are open year round, though the rainy season lasts from May to September. Generally, Mexico’s busiest season for travel is December through April so keep that in mind but don’t let it discourage you as I visited in March and had a great time.

As with most attractions, weekends can get very crowded at the hot springs so try to go on a weekday if you can. It’s best to get there first thing in the morning to have the most calm, uninterrupted time to soak and take in the views of mountains and gentle sun.

The warm weather is such a cool contrast to my trip to Chena Hot springs in Alaska or when I visited Banff Hot Springs in Alberta, Canada!

Things to do Nearby Tolantongo

If you’re staying at the Tolantongo Resort, you might venture over to Metztitlán, which is about an hour away and home to a national park, Reserva de la Biosfera Barranca de Metztitlán. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a draw for it’s cliff views, wildlife, lake, and lagoon.

cascading naturally turquoise limestone thermal river flowing downhill at Tolantongo Resort.
Tolantongo thermal river flowing downhill

Is the water really that blue?

Yes, the water is really that stunning turquoise color in real life, which makes for stunning photos! Although the pools are manmade, the limestone surrounding them and all along the river bed turn the water this blue green color naturally.

Here’s how to get beautiful travel photos even when traveling alone!

Jazzmine wearing a brown bathing suit standing in natural blue green thermal pool in Tolantongo, Hidalgo, Mexico.

What to Pack for Mexican Hot Springs Excursion

You’ll need a good pair of water shoes for grip because things will get slippery. I highly recommend these inexpensive water shoes if you want to be safe. Also pack:

The grutas are the major tourist draw in this area so you’ll also see roadside shops selling floats, water shoes, etc., along the way in case you need to purchase anything.

Top Tips for Visiting Mexico’s Grutas de Tolantongo

  1. Arrive early in the day.
  2. Avoid weekends, if you can.
  3. Go with a group for more fun.
  4. Exercise caution, as with any water activity.
  5. Eat at the onsite restaurant.
  6. Bring pesos.
  7. Pack water-friendly products or money to buy them.

Is Grutas Tolantongo worth it?

I highly recommend making the trip, especially if you can add it to your Mexico City itinerary anytime soon. Tolantongo is affordable, beautiful, and relaxing.

Note that it is not the most physically accessible place for folks using mobility devices, though. Navigating between the pools could be difficult and exiting the part is a bit of a climb.

In my opinion, I found the experience to be quite safe but reasonable caution is always necessary. All of the pools are pretty shallow and manmade but I slipped trying to slide into one pool from another, instead of taking the designated path, and cut my ankle on a groove between two rocks–hence, the infirmary coming in clutch!

Complete your Mexico City vacation plan with this roundup of Mexico City restaurants to try!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is Tolantongo Grutas entry fee?

Currently, general admission is 180 Mexican pesos per person, which includes the thermal pools, cave and tunnels, river, and suspension bridge.

What are the hours of operation?

Tickets are valid during opening hours, currently 7am to 8pm.

Are pets allowed at Tolantongo?

At this time, pets are not allowed into the park.

More Favorite Mexico Destinations

I hope you now know everything you need for planning the perfect trip to Las Grutas de Tolantongo, whether you’re seeing the Tolantongo hot springs solo or with friends. Let me know if you have any questions and sharing is caring so be sure to pin this guide for later and follow me over Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

Jazzmine overlooking view of mountain from the ledge of a natural hot spring pool with text overlay: ultimate guide to grutas de tolantongo mexican mountain hot springs.
People soaking in cascading turquoise thermal pools with text overlay: Las Grutas de Tolantongo What to Know Before Your Go.
Jazzmine soaking in thermal pool with text overlay: "Las Grutas de Tolantongo Mexican Mountan Hot Springs Review.

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