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Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico: The Most Stunning Place on Earth

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Welcome to a truly unique place on Earth! Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico is a wide and beautiful park located a few hours away from CDMX. What makes this place extraordinary is that every activity involves natural thermal turquoise waters. 


From waterfalls to caves, and pools to a river, there is a whole new world to explore at this piece of Mexican paradise. Grutas de Tolantongo is an incredible place to visit by yourself, with your significant other, or even with your friends for a weekend getaway.


Want to hear more? Let's see together all you can do in Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico.

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Where are Grutas de Tolantongo?

Grutas de Tolantongo are located in Hidalgo, in Central Mexico. They are just 4 hours north of Mexico City, and 3 hours east of Queretaro.

where are grutas de tolantongo

Grutas de Tolantongo are a few hours north of Mexico City.


Getting to Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

Grutas de Tolantongo are definitely a unique place, but they're not as accessible as other gems in Mexico. The good thing is that there are several ways of getting here (both with public or private transportation).


The two different places that you can fly to in order to get close to Grutas de Tolantongo are either Mexico City, which is 3 1/2 hours away, or from Queretaro, which is 3 hours away by car.

Flight Tip: In Skyscanner you can put "from your city" and "to Mexico", which will give you the cheapest cities to fly into for the given dates you'd like to travel. Additionally, you can check the full calendar to see which dates are the cheapest to fly to either Queretaro or Mexico City.

Getting to Grutas de Tolantongo From Mexico City

Mexico City is the most common place to fly into or travel from. Here is how to get to Grutas de Tolantongo from the capital.


Using Public Transportation

If you are coming from Mexico City, you must first go to Central del Norte and take a bus on platform 7 or 8 of the ONIBUS or RED FLECHA line direct to the city of Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo.


Upon reaching Ixmiquilpan, you must take a bus to the municipal market of Ixmiquilpan, "Mercado Morelos", passing through the Garden and the Municipal Presidency. After that you should go to the north of the city, crossing the “Mercado Morelos” and locate the “San Antonio” parking lot, where the base of direct minibuses to Grutas de Tolantongo is located.

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Traveling By Car to Grutas de Tolantongo

Renting a car from Mexico City is probably one of the easiest ways to get to Grutas de Tolantongo, as there are plenty of car rental companies both in and outside of the airport.


Book a car rental in Mexico City:

From Mexico City, take the México-Pachuca highway. Then before entering Ciudad De Pachuca, there is an exit to the left towards Actopan, Hidalgo. where you must take the Pachuca-Ixmiquilpan highway.


Later, Arriving at the City of Ixmiquilpan, at the height of BODEGA SORIANA, locate the second traffic light. Take the only OXXO store in that area as a reference. 


You will find an exit to the right, towards the "Libramiento a Cardonal". Continue straight, through that "libramiento" and following the signs to Grutas de Tolantongo.

Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico pools

Don't want to go through the hassle of going on your own? Here are a few different excursions you can take from Mexico City to Grutas de Tolantongo.

Getting to Grutas de Tolantongo From Querétaro

Another popular city to travel from is Querétaro. Here are the different options.


Public Transportation

You must first go to the Santiago de Querétaro bus station, located next to the “Corregidora” stadium. Next, in Room B, look for a bus on the CONEXION Line in the direction of HUICHAPAN-IXMIQUILPAN-PACHUCA.


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Upon reaching Ixmiquilpan, you must take a bus to the municipal market of Ixmiquilpan, "Mercado Morelos", passing through the Garden and the Municipal Presidency. Later it goes to the north of the city, crossing the "Mercado Morelos".


Next you must locate the “San Antonio” parking lot where the base of direct minibuses to the Tolantongo Grottos is located.


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Getting to Grutas de Tolantongo by Car

If you visit from the city of Querétaro by car, you must take the Querétaro - Mexico highway, bound for Mexico City. You will pass through San Juan del Río, and in a later section in a place called "Palmillas" you will find an exit to Pachuca. Take the exit to get to Ixmiquilpan, passing through Huichapan.


When you arrive in Ixmiquilpan, at a gas station called "La Huasteca" go to the center of the city, passing through the Jardin and Mercado Morelos arriving at the Church of San Antonio, where you will find the exit to the municipality of Cardonal. Take this exit and It will take you directly to Grutas de Tolantongo.


Rent a car from Queretaro:

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Upon Entrance to Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

The entrance to Grutas de Tolantongo is open 24 hours a day. Nevertheless, it's important to have in mind that the entrance is paid by day, and each ticket isn't valid for 24 hours, but from 7 am until 8 pm. So if you want to stay overnight you will have to pay for two days.


In our case, we got there around 7:30 pm, so we paid only for one day (as the day we got in was already finishing), so if you want to spend just one day and one night in Tolantongo, this could be a good option.


Actually, we don't recommend at all to leave the place without sunlight. The road isn't in good condition (there's no pavement) and it's in the mountains, so you're basically all the time driving next to a cliff.

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Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico: Accommodation

Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico has four hotels inside of it. They are all part of the same management, but they are located in different parts of the park. They all offer the same services (and, as well, lack the same ones).


You will only have access to a room that can have a shared or private bathroom. Wifi, TV, phone and food will not be included in your ticket. As this is a natural park, they try to keep everything as basic as possible. Their mission is that people connect with nature rather than building something full of technology.


The good thing is that if you really want or need any of the services mentioned above, you can stay in Hotel "Molanguito", which offers all of them.


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Hotel La Gruta

Being the closest place to the caves, tunnel and river, it has 100 comfortable rooms, some of which have a beautiful view of the river and the mountains. Without a doubt, a place where the soul rests.


Hotel "Paraíso Escondido"

This is undoubtedly the best place to admire the natural landscapes, with spacious rooms. Hotel Parada Escondido is ideal for the whole family, as well as has proximity to the thermal pools. It has 97 rooms, 10 of which are cabin style.


Hotel "La Huerta"

The "La Huerta" hotel, which has 34 rooms with beautiful views of the river and the surrounding mountains, is located near the trail, and is ideal to relax comfortably with the family.


Hotel "Molanguito"

This is one of the alternate spaces to the park, but without a doubt does not cease to amaze with its comfortable rooms. With hot water service, Wi-Fi and television, it will allow you to spend a moment enjoying comfort with your family.


Camping

Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico also offers its visitors to camp inside the park. You can pay for a tent if you don't have one. If you do, you can also use your own. If this is your case, you will only pay the entrance fee. The good thing is that there's plenty space right next to the thermal river, making it a great spot to set up your tent for a weekend getaway.

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What to Do in Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico is not just a place you want to stop by for a few hours. We suggest spending at least a full day or two to enjoy all the great things there are to do there. Here are some of the ways you can enjoy Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico.


Relax in the Thermal Pools

Alright, now that we know everything about how to get here, stay and get ready, it's time to enjoy all the natural jewels that Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico has to offer.


The thermal pools are probably the most popular area of the park. Consisting of 70 small pools built in the mountain, you can really enjoy the natural hot water running through them.

Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico

This spot is great if what you're looking for is a place to chill by yourself or with someone else. The reason why there are 70 pools is so that everyone could have their own little pool.


Float in the Thermal River

Divided into several little pools, the river flows from the top of the park (nearby its waterfall) and borders the whole area. You can find it next to the camping area, making it a great first activity to wake up to if you're sleeping in a tent.

Thermal River Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico SYM

The river goes downhill, so the division of each little pool (made with rocks) creates a very small waterfall where you can lay and enjoy a free "massage" by the water flow. This area is great if what you're looking for is a place to chill in a big group.


Visit the Waterfall

You may have seen waterfalls before- big ones, small ones, but nothing like this one. The reason behind this is that you can enter a cave with water under the waterfall.


This cave has a waterfall inside of it, as well as an entrance to a deeper cave, THAT ALSO HAS A WATERFALL INSIDE OF IT. Sounds too weird to be true? Well, trust us, we thought that too at first.

Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico, Waterfalls in Mexico


The water falling is actually cold, but the rest is thermal water. Once you're in the cave, you will notice how it gets a bit harder to breathe. This is due to the high humidity of the steam that the water produces. In the back of the cave you will see a new stream of water falling into the cave, perfect for a back massage.


Once inside the cave, head towards the back right corner to find the entrance to a deeper (and darker) cave. You will find a rope next to the wall, so that you can be guided through the cave.


Also, there's people working in there exclusively to take care of you while in the cave. They have flashlights and will help you as you walk through.


Go Inside the Cave

If you head towards the waterfall, you will notice there are stairs on the left of it. These lead to a little cave which seems normal at first. As you walk into it, you will start noticing that the steam is very intense and the temperature also rises. Don't forget that you will be walking through hot water, so the humidity will definitely affect the amount of oxygen you can get when breathing.


Cave Grutas de Tolantongo Mexico

Once again, don't panic. There are people working in there exclusively to take care of visitors. They are constantly checking on them, with flashlights, and giving support so that you can enjoy this truly unique place without having to worry about deep places.


Grutas de Tolantongo: Prices & Timetable

Depending on what's your plan when visiting Grutas de Tolantongo, prices can change a lot. Here's a list of prices from January 2021.


Entrance & Accommodation

General entrance: 150 pesos ($7.50 usd)

Parking: 20 pesos ($1 usd)

Hotel rooms (average): from 800 to 1800 mxn (from $40-$90 USD). Note that the most expensive room is for 6 people.

Tents: from 120 to 300 mxn ($6-$15 USD). Note that the most expensive tent is for 10 people.


Activities & Miscellaneous

Zipline 280 meters: 150 pesos ($7.5o USD)

Zipline 1890 meters: 200 pesos ($10 USD)

Grill rental: 100 pesos + 200 pesos as warranty ($5 USD + $10 USD warranty)

Chair rental: 20 pesos($1 USD)

Table rental: 50 pesos ($2.50 USD)

Internal taxi services: 80 pesos per trip- max 3 people ($4 USD)


For more info regarding prices, you can check the Grutas de Tolantongo Website


Timetable

Caves, tunnel, waterfalls and pools: From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thermal pools (Only some) and river: From 8:00 am to 09:00 pm
Restaurant and kitchens (Only some): From 8:00 am to 9:00 pm
Grocery store (only some): From 8:00 am to 9:00 pm
Ticket office: From 6:00 am to 10:00 pm

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Recap: Important Information About Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

  • The entrance to Grutas de Tolantongo has a cost of 150 mxn ($7.50 USD).
  • The ticket is valid from 7 am until 8 pm. This means that the ticket isn't valid for 24 hrs. For example, if you arrive on a Saturday morning, planning on staying until Sunday, you will have to pay tickets for two days.
  • The ticket won't include accommodation, food, ziplines, transportation nor restaurants. It only includes the access to the park (the profits are used to preserve the park).
  • You can't make a reservation for accommodation. They have a First Come, First Serve basis.
  • Pets aren't allowed in the park.
  • You can bring your own food and drinks. You can also use their grills to cook anything you may bring.
  • All payments are cash only. This includes entrance fees, accommodation rates and restaurant bills.

Packing for Grutas de Tolantongo

Now that you know everything you need to know for visiting Grutas de Tolantongo, we're going to share a packing list for your stay:

If you plan on camping, here are a few things you should also bring:

  • Tent
  • Cooler
  • Snacks & Drinks
  • Grill
  • Pillow
  • Sheets/ Light Blanket
  • Flashlight

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Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico is definitely one of the most beautiful places we have ever been (and the #7 most popular Instagram spot, according to a 2021 research study). If you are visiting Mexico, we can't stress enough that this is worth a visit.


If you have time, a weekend here is the perfect amount of time to spend. Otherwise, you can visit for the day and leave the morning after, but trust us, you will not want to leave.


To see what other things you can do in Mexico, make sure to check out our other Mexico travel guides. Also, if you have bigger plans in North America, you might want to see what else you can do in this side of the world by taking a look at our USA travel guides.


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