Las Grutas de Tolantongo is one of the coolest outdoor sites close to Mexico City. So many tourists are itching for a convenient escape into nature after spending some time in the bustling Mexican capital. That’s why Tolantongo is so perfect.
The distinctly cotton-candy blue waters of Las Grutas Tolantongo are its signature draw. From the layered turquoise man-made pools along the mountainside to the (equally as vivid) natural pools of the Tolantongo River and caves.
After living in Mexico City for nearly a year, I can safely say that Las Grutas Tolantongo is one of the best sites in Mexico. There are just some things you should know first before visiting. I’ll cover all the practical details in this guide.
Table of Contents
- How to Visit Las Grutas de Tolantongo
- Things to Do in Las Grutas de Tolantongo
- Why Visit Las Grutas de Tolantongo?
- Tips for Visiting Las Grutas de Tolantongo
- FAQ’s about Las Grutas de Tolantongo
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How to Visit Las Grutas de Tolantongo
Most visitors come from Mexico City, although it is a long trip. Las Grutas de Tolantongo is located around 3 hours and 45 minutes away from Mexico City. This time frame can change drastically depending on where you’re staying in Mexico City and what mode of transportation you’re using.
How to Get to Las Grutas de Tolantongo
🚗 Renting a Car (Search Discover Cars) – Getting a rental car is probably the most expensive way to reach Tolantongo, but I’d still recommend it to anyone who has a bigger budget and feels comfortable driving in Mexico. There’s nothing quite like taking yourself on a road trip adventure through Mexico. It adds an extra layer of fun to your Tolantongo trip.
The only thing is that renting a car in Mexico is a little bit tricky. Make sure you do your research beforehand so you don’t get swindled, and take a video of every inch of the car before you pull off the lot. After the rental costs, all you’ll have to pay is the tolls and gas, which will cost around MXN 475 (USD 23) and take about four hours each way.
You can search Discover Cars to compare various local rental agencies.
🚌 Taking the Bus – Although more complicated, the cheapest way to visit Las Grutas de Tolantongo is by taking public transportation. Here is how to take the bus from Mexico City to Tolantongo:
- First, make your way to the Mexico Terminal TAPO bus station
- Take the ADO bus from here to Pachuca. It’ll take about 2 hours, and the bus runs every 3 hours, so you’ll have to plan your timing pretty well.
- At Pachuca, take the bus to Ixmiquilpan. The bus takes 2 hours and runs five times per day.
- At Ixmiquilpan, walk 14-minutes to the Ixmiquilpan, where you’ll finally take the bus to Tolantongo. This bus will take an hour and 15 minutes, and it runs every four hours.
As you can see, taking public transportation to Tolantongo is a whole journey. It’ll take about six hours total, not including waiting time, but only costs between $12 and $22, depending on what time you’re leaving.
I wouldn’t recommend this method. Unless you’re planning on staying around Las Grutas de Tolantongo for a few days, and you’re really sticking to a budget in Mexico City.
☂️ Joining a Tour – Another option for getting to Las Grutas de Tolantongo is joining an organized tour. If you’re only visiting Mexico City for a week and in a time crunch, this is the best choice for you. A group tour is a great way to knock out a day trip without doing any of the planning yourself.
Plus, there are lots of different Tolantongo tours, depending on your preferences. Like this Tolantongo Caves Small-Group Tour that includes transportation from CDMX and all your entry fees. Or, this Day Trip to the Tolantongo Caves that can provide infant seats and a local guide.
Tickets and Pricing for Las Grutas de Tolantongo
🎟️ Tickets – The general access park tickets to Grutas de Tolantongo costs MXN 150 (USD 7.26) per person. The parking ticket is valid for the entire day during the park’s regular hours from 7 AM to 8 PM.
🚘 Parking – It costs an additional MXN 30 (USD 1.45) to use the parking lot.
⛺ Camping – You can also opt to camp at Grutas de Tolantongo. If you have your own camping gear, you’ll just need to pay for the next day’s general admission fee. Basically, you pay the park entrance fee two times, and you can camp overnight. If you don’t have your own gear, you can rent one for as little as MXN 120 (USD 5.81) per night for a small tent.
🕴️ Zipline – The onsite zipline also comes with an extra cost of MXN 200 (USD 10).
⏰ Operating Hours – Las Grutas Tolantongo park is open every day of the year, including holidays.
- The Tolantongo caves, tunnel, waterfall, zipline, and swimming pools are open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- The thermal pools and river are open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- The nearby restaurants are open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- The nearby grocery stores are open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- The Grutas Tolantongo ticket office is open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
♿ Accessibility – Las Grutas Tolantongo is not accessible for people with wheelchairs or mobility issues.
The Tolantongo hot springs are small, crowded, and cover the side of a mountain. Getting to the main pools means that you need to trek up a mountain that can be slippery with runaway water from the natural pools scattered around.
Reaching the Tolatongo waterfall entrance also requires climbing up many steps. There isn’t an accessible path for people with wheelchairs.
Things to Do in Las Grutas de Tolantongo
The Tolantongo Park is divided into two different sections – El Paraiso Escondido and La Gruta Zone. Between these two zones, there are a bunch of different things to see and do.
The Tolantongo Hot Springs (El Paraiso Zone)
The major reason why locals flock to Grutas Tolantongo is its stunning hot springs.
The park has a variety of pools to soak the day away in. There are hot water infinity pools built into the side of a cliff, grottos, and swimming pools. The water temperature hovers between 96 and 100 degreesº F. It’s super relaxing, but keep in mind that you won’t be the only person. There the hot springs are super popular, and it’s tough to get them all to yourself.
Bathing suits are required in all of the La Gruta de Tolantongo hot springs.
Tolantongo Cave & Tunnel (La Gruta)
When exploring caves, you’ll go through its dark, wet tunnel. The entire place is usually on the moist side. So leave any electronics or personal belongings stowed away in a locker or buy a waterproof bag for them. Once you’re through the tunnel, you’ll get to a little swimming area in the caves. You’ll also find a spectacular waterfall right in the center of it all.
Tolantongo River (La Gruta)
Most of the people who decide to stay the night and camp in Tolantongo park usually set themselves up right next to the river. Surprisingly, the river is just as otherworldly blue as the warm water of the pools.
The great thing about the river is that it’s a much more wide-open space than the cliffside pools. So, if you’re a little claustrophobic or scared of heights, the river might be more fun for you.
Suspension Bridge (El Paraiso)
The Tolantongo swing bridge allows you to walk above the luscious landscapes. It’s a whole new perspective on the already gorgeous attraction. If you’re going to walk across the bridge, it’s recommended to wear comfortable shoes and try to walk briskly to avoid foot traffic.
Zip Line (El Paraiso)
Thrillseekers will get a kick out of rushing through the lush vegetation on Tolantongo’s zip line. The price of the zipline isn’t included in your general admission fee. It’ll cost an additional MXN 200 (USD 10) to ride the zipline.
Miscellaneous Facilities (Both)
Beyond these major attractions at Tolantongo, there are also a bunch of other facilities that you might find useful. There’s the Tolantongo resort, so you can rent a room and stay the night. A shuttle service is available that brings you to different areas of the park. Plus, there’s a quite a few delicious restaurants to choose from right nearby.
Why Visit Las Grutas de Tolantongo?
The state of Hidalgo, where Las Grutas de Tolantongo is located, is known for its plentiful thermal springs. The Tolantongo Grutas was one of the springs that gave rise to this identity.
When you visit Grutas Tolantongo, there’s a distinct captivating quality to it. The colorful hues and natural hot water. The staggered placement of the pools and overall revitalizing energy from mother nature. It’s all these things mashed together that make a visit to Tolantongo Grutas something totally unique.
Plus, it’s open year-round and even perfect for a spontaneous trip out of Mexico City’s neighborhoods for the day.
Tips for Visiting Las Grutas de Tolantongo
Arrive Early and Go on a Weekday to Avoid Crowds
Las Grutas de Tolantongo is one of the busiest natural attractions near Mexico City. Most people aren’t eager to share their hot spring time with a hundred others.
To avoid the crowds, make sure you arrive early. I’d recommend getting to the park right at 8 AM when they first open if you’re hoping to snap some dreamy pictures in the pools. If you go on a weekday, it’ll also be way less crowded.
Bring Water Shoes
The pools and hot springs at Las Grutas de Tolantongo tend to get super wet. Between people getting out of the pools soaking wet and the natural rainfall, it’s pretty slippery to walk around the pathways. The best way to combat this is by wearing water shoes.
Camp Overnight at Tolantongo (Except During the Rainy Season)
Camping overnight at Tolantongo is a terrific way to get the full experience of the area. The park makes it super easy to spend the night, too. There are cheap tents available to rent in varying sizes.
However, be mindful of the best time to visit Tolantongo. During the rainy season, from June to July, it can be very dangerous to camp anywhere near the river.
Get Travel Insurance
I always tell people that having insurance is the golden rule of being a smart traveler. Lots of people brush off travel insurance for Mexico – they say that they’ll never need it and it’s a waste of money for nothing. But you never need it until you do.
Even though you probably won’t have anything to worry about, your safety in Mexico City should still be on your mind. So, stay safe and get travel insurance in advance. Especially when you’re doing an outdoor activity like visiting the natural beauty of Las Grutas.
FAQ’s about Las Grutas de Tolantongo
Is Grutas Tolantongo natural?
Grutas Tolantongo has both natural and man-made sections. There are man-made semi-circle pools built into the side of a cliff overlooking the canyon area. These are created by damming off tiny warm springs. There are also a bunch of natural features at Tolantongo, like the river and the cave.
What city is Grutas de Tolantongo in?
Las Grutas de Tolantongo is located in the borough of Cardonal in San Cristobal City. It’s in the state of Hidalgo in Central Mexico.
What should I wear to Tolantongo?
Wear comfortable outwear, a bathing suit, and water shoes to Tolantongo. You should also bring a change of clothes, some cash and a waterproof bag to carry your electronics.
What airport is close to Grutas Tolantongo?
The Mexico City International Airport is the closest to Tolantongo.
It’ll take a little over three and a half hours to drive to Tolantongo from the Mexico City Airport. Your exact travel time will depend on the local traffic conditions.
That’s the end of my guide to visiting Las Grutas de Tolantongo in Mexico. If you’re still seeking out some activities to do on your Mexico City trip, check out our list of 33 fun things to do in Mexico City.
Have a blast soaking up the sunshine at Las Grutas de Tolantongo!