Grutas Tolantongo Hot Springs Mexico: Your Ultimate Guide

Located in the mountains of central Mexico, Grutas de Tolantongo is an expansive resort complex of caves, natural hot springs, and thermal pools.

At an altitude of over 4,000 feet (1280 meters), the Tolantongo hot springs flow from the volcanic mountains into a cave and turquoise river that is simply breathtaking.

In addition, the stunning backdrop of mountains and desert surrounding Tolantongo, Hidalgo makes for incredible views as you soak in the thermal mineral waters that are said to have healing properties.

And while this is a touristy site, I was pleasantly surprised by the delicate balance of nature with the developed resort.

I’ve written this travel guide with everything you need to know. It includes how to get to Grutas Tolantongo whether you decide to stay in a hotel overnight or take a Grutas Tolantongo tour.

At Grutas Tolantongo, a series of manmade pools are layered on the side of the mountain mixed with several trees. The early morning light illuminates them as a couple of people swim.

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Tolantongo Hot Springs Tours

If you prefer to book a tour to Tolantongo Hot Springs, there are some great options, especially from Mexico City. While I go into detail more later, I’ve included my top pick for a Grutas Tolantongo tour below.

Editor’s Choice
At Grutas Tolantongo, a series of manmade pools are layered on the side of the mountain mixed with several trees. The early morning light illuminates them as a couple of people swim.

✔ Guided Hot Springs Tour
✔ Breakfast, Snacks, Supply Bag
✔ Round Trip Transportation

What is Grutas Tolantongo?

Grutas Tolantongo is a system of caves and hot springs that flow through a canyon located in the municipality of Cardonal in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico.

The Tolantongo cave system is located in a box canyon which is characterized as a narrow canyon with a flat bottom and tall vertical walls.

Is Grutas de Tolantongo Natural?

There are many parts of Grutas Tolantongo that are natural, mostly notably the cave, tunnel, and Tolantongo River.

The cave is classified as a karstic cave which erodes as water seeps into the porous limestone rock. The is also a grotto (small cave), called a tunnel because of its narrow shape.

The thermal waters in the Tolantongo caves are naturally heated to around 68°F as they pass through a complex series of channels within the mountain.

As the hot springs flow out of the cave to the river, the water mixes with cool water which results in more mild waters in the pools of the river.

A woman in a red bathing suit stands in one of the hot spring pools at Gruta Tolantongo, Hidalgo. Others soak while look over the edge at the mountain view.

The part of Grutas de Tolantongo that is not natural is the man-made pools built into the side of the mountain near Hotel Paraiso Escondido.

However, the water that is pumped into these pools is natural thermal water from the mountain.

Visiting Grutas de Tolantongo, Hidalgo

Las Grutas de Tolantongo comprises three main attractions – the hot spring river, the cave and tunnel, and the hot spring pools built into the side of the mountain.

Continue reading to learn about each of these attractions as well as the zipline and restaurants at Grutas de Tolantongo, Hidalgo Mexico.

The Hot Spring Pools

The most picturesque part of Grutas Tolantongo is the series of hot spring pools with beautiful mountain views.

I also found this was one of the most accessible areas of the Tolantongo hot springs, mostly due to the manmade walkways.

The layered hot spring pools at Grutas Tolantongo feature several trees growing into the structures with several small waterfalls flowing from one pool to another. Several people are swimming in this early morning light.

These pools get busy, though it’s possible to find smaller pools with fewer people at the far end towards the top. Also, the vantage point at the far end opens up to some of the best mountain views.

While these pools are sufficiently warm for most visitors, I found myself seeking warmer waters.

There isn’t much temperature difference between them, but those with a direct pipe of hot spring water do feel slightly warmer.

Turquoise Blue Thermal River

The Tolantongo River flows through the steep box canyon where Grutas de Tolantango is located.

At first sight, its rich turquoise color of seemingly endless thermal waters took my breath away.

I thought the hot springs pools would be the highlight of Grutas Tolantongo for me, but I really enjoyed this natural river area.

The bright blue thermal river at Grutas Tolantongo is stepped with rocks to create small pools. In the background is a rockface with cactus and other plants growing.

Plus, its milky color made me begin to wonder if the river contains more minerals than the other Tolantongo hot springs. The mineral deposits left on my waterproof cell phone case confirmed it.

If you’re looking for the most therapeutic benefits, to me the river is a great place to soak while enjoying the stunning views of the canyon and surrounding mountains.

The long river has been damned at consistent intervals to create pools of thermals waters.

It’s hard to find shade along the river, so you may want to time your visits for the early mornings or late afternoons. Alternatively, you can rent a table and chairs in the shade to take a break from the sun.

The Cave and Waterfall

The Cave is located at the back of the canyon, accessible via a paved walkway. As you enter the cave, a light trickle of cold water falls down from the waterfall above.

Inside the cave, you’ll find thermal waters and a powerful waterfall pushing through the center.

Being close to the source of the hot springs, the cave is where you’ll find the hottest waters for soaking. The cave also creates a slight sauna effect, though not as much as the narrow tunnel (see next).

At the cave of Grutas Tolantongo, various streams of water fall down the rockface from the top to create a misty waterfall. The sun streams into the camera lens at the edge of the frame.

On the right is a second small cave whose outflow of water can make it difficult to enter. However, if you can swim into the force of the water on the right, there is a rope to help you pull yourself through the current.

Keep in mind, you won’t be able to bring anything into the cave that you may lose. There are security guards patrolling this area with a whistle.

You can bring your cell phone in a waterproof case, though visitors are required to hang items such as extra clothing, sunglasses, and hats on the fence.

The Tunnel

While you probably won’t spend a lot of time in the tunnel, it is another Gruta Tolantongo attraction you should explore.

To get there, climb the steps to the left of the cave. Navigating the tunnel requires a bit of physical fitness and comfortable waterproof shoes.

In fact, the tunnel itself is quite dark so it’s best to bring a waterproof flashlight as well.

As you enter the narrow tunnel, hot spring water flows down the sides. Some people were content sitting in this area.

If you’re physically able, you should explore through the tunnel as it opens to a grotto (small cave) in the back.

Do you love hot springs? You’ll also want to read about La Gruta San Miguel de Allende.

Zipline at Grutas de Tolantongo

If you want to feel a slight adrenaline rush while visiting Grutas Tolantongo, Hidalgo, you’ll want to make time for the zipline.

The Grutas Tolantongo zipline is over 6,000 feet (1800 meters) long and split into four sections.

The first two are the shortest and a bit of a warm-up. The last two sections are twice as long and take you further through the canyon with beautiful views of the turquoise river.

The zipline starts behind Hotel Paraiso Escondido near the pools and ends close to Hotel La Gruta by the river.

So if you’re staying at Paraiso Escondido, it’s also a great way to navigate to the river and cave for the day. Just keep in mind, it’s not recommended to bring many things with you on the zipline.

Hours – 8 am to 5 pm
Cost – 250 pesos per person

Grutas Tolantongo Restaurants

There are over a dozen snack bars and restaurants at Grutas Tolantongo. I was pleasantly surprised by the restaurants but you shouldn’t expect it to be the best food in Mexico either.

The food is decent and prices aren’t as elevated as I feared. By far, we ate the best food in Grutas Tolantongo at Restaurante Paraiso Escondido.

And while I was really excited to see two restaurants serving barbacoa, they are only open on Sundays which isn’t the best time to visit.

Do you love visiting waterfalls and other natural attractions? You’ll also want to read my guide to Huasteca Potosina, an area full of natural sites in the state of San Luis Potosi.

Where Is Grutas Tolantongo?

Las Grutas de Tolantongo is located in the state of Hidalgo in central Mexico. Grutas Tolantongo is about 4 hours from Mexico City, 3 hours from Queretaro, and 2.5 hours from Pachuca, Hidalgo.

Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo is the largest town near Grutas de Tolantongo. It takes about an hour to climb the mountain out of Ixmiquilpan and arrive at Tolantongo caves.

Several people stand in line to board the bus to Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo. A sign in the front windshield lists the destinations along the route.

How To Get To Las Grutas Tolantongo

There are three main ways to get to Las Grutas Tolantongo, Hidalgo – by bus, by car, or a group tour. In each case, you will first need to arrive in the town of Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo.

I’ve detailed how to get to Tolantongo below. The best way will depend on your travel style, budget, and the number of people in your group.

Mexico City to Grutas Tolantongo

Most travelers will visit Grutas Tolantongo from Mexico City which takes about 4 hours to arrive from the city center by car. Even though it’s a long drive, it’s possible to visit Grutas Tolantongo as a day trip from Mexico City.

I’ve detailed the three ways to travel from Mexico City to Grutas Tolantongo below.

Private Grutas Tolantongo Tour From Mexico City

If you want to take a Grutas Tolantango tour from Mexico City, private is the way to go in order to maximize your time. In fact, when you book this private tour to Grutas Tolantongo you can customize it to your fit your ideal itinerary.

When booking, there is an option for a two-day tour which includes a visit to other natural places in the state of Hidalgo or Teotihuacan. Plus, the two-day option is one of the only tours with an opportunity to stay overnight at Grutas Tolantongo.

We had a blast with our private tour to Tolantongo. Isah and Carlos were our tour guide and driver. They are super sweet and very knowledgeable. They cater to our needs and everything along the way. The view was worth the long drive and the hot springs was amazing.

– Viator Review (Read More Reviews)

Group Grutas Tolantongo Tour From Mexico City

If you prefer a group tour, this is one of the best options for a tour of Grutas Tolantongo from Mexico City. You’ll depart the city early in the morning to make the most of the day and stop for breakfast (included) along the way.

At Tolantongo you’ll have an opportunity to explore the entire complex with your guide by your side. From the cave and steamy tunnel to the hot spring pools and zipline. The tour also includes round-trip transportation from Mexico City.

The tour guide was amazing! Very knowledgeable and friendly. It’s a 4 hour ride to the location, but it’s worth the ride. There are cenotes, water caves, hot springs, rivers, and a beautiful bridge all surrounded by beautiful mountains. Everyone in the park was so friendly. The lunch was delicious!!!!! The ride back was beautiful. It was a wonderful day trip!

– Viator Review (Read More Reviews)
A bright blue thermal pool runs through the property at Tolantongo, Hidalgo surrounded by green mountains.

Mexico City to Grutas Tolantongo Bus

Buses from Mexico City to Tolantongo leave from the Mexico Norte terminal in the northern part of the city. Technically, the bus takes you to the town of Ixmiquilpan and from there you’ll need to taxi or take a colectivo bus to Las Grutas de Tolantongo (see next).

From Mexico City’s north terminal, Ovnibus has the most departure times with the earliest leaving at 6 am. Another option is Estrella Blanca, both of which have schedules on their websites. These buses leave from platforms 6 and 7 at the Mexico Norte bus terminal.

Since the bus to Tolantongo departs from the north of Mexico City, it takes about 3 hours to get to Ixmiquilpan by bus. Continue reading to learn the next steps needed.

Once you arrive in Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo you have two choices

  1. Take a taxi all the way to Tolantongo caves for about 800 pesos (up to 4 people).
  2. Take a taxi (about 70 pesos) to the Tolantongo colectivo located in the San Antonio parking lot, just north of the church (map). The cost for the colectivo is 60 pesos per person, each way.
The colectivo to Grutas Tolantongo is parked beside a tent that provides shade for the bench seating.

Ixmiquilpan to Tolantongo Colectivo Departures

This Ixmiquilpan to Grutas de Tolantongo colectivo schedule is approximate since the colectivo will also leave when full. If possible, give yourself some extra time to arrive and thus avoid needing to wait an hour or two for the next departure.

  • Monday – Thursday, every two hours from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (9:30, 11:30, 1:30, 3:30, 5:30)
  • Friday – Sunday, every hour from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
A close up view of a paste, one of the famous foods of Hidalgo. The bread pocket is filled with a dark chicken mole and topped with sesame seeds.

If you do have some time, there is a Dino’s Pastes shop at the entrance to the parking lot. Pastes are a typical food of Hidalgo that was brought over by miners from Cornwall, England in the 1800s.

While Dino’s is a chain found throughout Hidalgo and other neighboring states, they are a decent quick snack to hold you over on the hour long bus to Tolantongo from Ixmiquilpan.

Tip – The bus from Ixmiquilpan to Tolantongo will drop you off near La Gruta Hotel. If you prefer to stay at Paraiso Escondido, there is an internal minibus on the right that will take you there with your luggage.

Tolantongo to Ixmiquilpan Colectivo Departures

The colectivo bus to return to Ixmiquilpan leaves from the area near La Gruta Hotel. Times are posted on a large sign nearby. We took the 11:30 am bus back on a weekday and had no issues finding a seat.

I was told the later departure times fill up, so you may want to plan to arrive early to reserve a space. The Tolantongo to Ixmiquilpan colectivo leaves Monday – Sunday at the following times.

  • 7:30 am
  • 11:30 am
  • 1:30 pm
  • 5:30 pm

Queretaro to Tolantongo, Hidalgo

Queretaro is another close city to visit Grutas Tolantongo. If you are visiting this area, I find this city easier to navigate than Mexico City (as well as the Queretaro airport and bus station).

Grutas Tolantongo Tour From Queretaro

If you’re staying in Queretaro, you can book this Grutas Tolantongo Tour with an English-speaking guide. It includes transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle and the entrance fee to Grutas Tolantongo.

Once you arrive, you’ll be able to visit all the attractions within Tolantongo – the cave, tunnel, river, hot springs, swimming pools, suspension bridge, and zipline – with the help of your guide.

Excellent tour guide, Enrique was knowledgeable of the cities and the hot springs. I recommend taking this tour to get an idea of the layout.

– Viator Review (Read More Reviews)

Queretaro to Grutas Tolantongo Bus

To take a bus from Queretaro to Grutas Tolantongo, you’ll need to arrive at the main Queretaro bus station. From there Estrella Blanca has many departures under the bus name, Conexión.

The travel time is slightly shorter, so the 6 am departure will arrive just before 9 am, which is the perfect time to arrive at the colectivo from Ixmiquiapan to Tolantongo caves. (See detailed instructions and schedule above).

Several people stand in line to board the bus to Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo. A sign in the front windshield lists the destinations along the route.

Rent a Car and Drive to Tolantongo Caves

For the ultimate freedom, you can rent a car and drive to Grutas Tolantongo. This option is great for groups who don’t mind driving in Mexico.

The drive is about the same distance whether you rent a car in Mexico City or rent a car in Queretaro. My preference would be to go to Grutas Tolantongo from Queretaro since it’s a smaller city and easier to navigate.

Regardless of which one you choose, Google maps is pretty clear about navigating to Grutas Tolantongo from Mexico City and Queretaro.

Closest Airport to Grutas de Tolantongo, Hidalgo

There is no airport at Grutas Tolantongo. Most people will fly into Mexico City Airport (keep in mind, there are two now) as this airport offers the most international flight options.

And it’s a toss-up for the closest airport to Tolantongo, but technically, Queretaro International Airport (QRO) is closer by 15 km.

While there may be fewer flight options to Queretaro, I find this city and airport much easier to navigate. The airport is quite small, yet new and modern.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there are many more Grutas Tolantongo tours from Mexico City if that is your preferred way to get there.

Map Of Grutas Tolantongo

Use this map of Grutas Tolantongo to familiarize yourself with the grounds, different attractions, hot springs, restaurants, and hotels.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Grutas de Tolantongo?

The best time to visit Grutas de Tolantongo is during the weekdays. It’s also best to arrive as early as possible whether you plan to take a day trip to Grutas Tolantongo or stay overnight (more on that and hotels later).

As far as the best time of year to visit Grutas de Tolantongo, the time you may want to avoid is the rainy season (June through Sept), especially if you plan to camp at Grutas Tolantongo.

This area of central Mexico is known for having year round spring-like weather that’s perfect for soaking in hot springs.

In the winter, you may want to bring a jacket for the chilly mornings and nights. It’s also important to note that April and May are typically the hottest months, with daytime highs reaching the high 70s to low 80s.

Grutas Tolantongo Hours

Grutas de Tolantongo is open 365 days per year, including holidays. The various Tolantongo attractions have different hours, which I’ve detailed below.

But keep in mind, these hours seemed to change slightly when I was there. For the hot springs especially I was told different hours by different people and some of it seemed to change based on the time of year, though they roughly followed daylight hours.

Also, the hours for the grocery stores and restaurants are a general time. Not every store or restaurant is open during all of those hours but at least one is, so you can guarantee you won’t starve.

  • Cave, Tunnel, Waterfall, Swimming Pools – 8 am to 5 pm
  • Hot Springs and River – 8 am to 9 pm
  • Restaurants and Snack Bars – 8 am to 9 pm
  • Small Stores – 8 am to 9 pm
  • Ticket Office – 6 am to 10 pm

How Many Days Do You Need in Grutas Tolantongo?

I was planning to only stay one night (two half days) in Grutas Tolantongo. But when I realized there was an extra day in our trip, I added it to our time at Grutas Tolantongo.

Two nights in Grutas Tolantongo was perfect. And if you like hot springs as much as me, you may want to plan for a third which would allow you to visit La Gloria Tolantongo as well.

Several people swim in one of the manmade hot spring pools at Grutas Tolantongo, Hidalgo as the rising sun peaks above the mountains.

What To Pack For Las Grutas Tolantongo

I’ve detailed a few things you should pack for Grutas Tolantongo that you either may not think about or need help deciding which to choose.

After this list is a shortened, more complete packing list that includes the little things you are likely already bringing to Mexico.

1. Cash (Pesos)

The entire Tolantongo resort (entrance fee, hotel, stores, restaurants, etc.) does not accept credit cards, only cash. Furthermore, the closest ATM is in Ixmiquilpan which is an hour away from the hot springs.

The amount of cash you need will depend on your travel style as well as where and how long you stay. I recommend bringing more cash than you think you will need in order to avoid an unnecessary trip to Ixmiquilpan.

2. Waterproof Cell Phone Case

While you may not want to use your cellular service at Tolantongo, you will certainly want to take pictures. And since water and phones don’t mix well, you’ll definitely want to buy a reliable waterproof phone case.

Another alternative is a waterproof waist pack if you want to carry more than your cell and a folded bill. My mom brought one of these and it was useful to carry several items at once.

3. Comfortable Water Shoes

Considering there are a lot of natural areas at Grutas Tolantongo, you will definitely want comfortable water shoes. They are especially helpful to wear in the cave and river where you’ll encounter rocks.

I prefer a sandal that can double as an alternative hiking shoe or even be worn with a dress. If you don’t anticipate wearing them again, there are also less expensive water shoes that fit on your foot like a glove.

4. External Battery Pack

Taking a day trip to Grutas Tolantongo is a long day and the beauty of the hot springs have you taking a lot of pictures. An external battery pack will ensure you can recharge your phone.

A powerful external battery pack will be less necessary if you stay overnight unless you plan to camp. Regardless, I find this to be a top item I use when traveling through Mexico.

5. GoPro or Other Waterproof Camera

For those that are more serious about their photos or want more flexibility than their phone camera, a waterproof sports camera is the way to go.

I prefer a waterproof GoPro as I find it produces superior pictures to an action camera with a separate waterproof case.

6. Microfiber Towel

Another essential that I always travel with is a quick dry microfiber towel. Not only does it dry quickly, but it also packs small.

If you’re going on a day trip to Grutas Tolantongo, you’ll definitely need to bring a towel. And if you’re staying overnight it’s best to keep the hotel towel clean for showers.

7. Waterproof Dry Bag

This isn’t quite as necessary since in addition to lockers, there are places to stash a few things at both the river and the pools. But a waterproof dry bag is handy to have to keep your towel, coverup, or other items dry and not scattered about.

And, if you prefer a backpack-style dry bag it can be used for other outings during your travels.

Quick Packing List For Tolantongo

  • Bathing Suit
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Water Shoes
  • Waterproof Cell Phone Case
  • GoPro or Other Action Camera
  • Waterproof Dry Bag
  • Sun Protection Hat
  • Reef Safe Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • External Battery

Where To Stay in Grutas Tolantongo

The best place to stay in Grutas Tolantongo is in one of their hotels or (if not rainy season) at the campsite along the river. I’ll detail both below including the costs of Grutas Tolantongo.

A quick reminder, Grutas de Tolantongo is CASH ONLY and the closest ATM is an hour away in Ixmiquilpan.

Grutas de Tolantongo Hotel

There are two main Grutas de Tolantongo hotels – Paraiso Escondido and Hotel La Gruta. Both offer rooms with one and two beds as well as the option of a balcony.

You cannot reserve a Grutas Tolantongo hotel ahead of time, which is why it’s recommended to go as early as possible and inquire about a room as soon as you arrive.

You can then rent a locker to put your things in and enjoy the Tolantongo hot springs while you wait for the room availability in the afternoon.

The curved window at a Grutas Tolantongo hotel room reveals a rugged mountain view with clear blue skies and white clouds

When we arrived in the early afternoon, it was a little late though I hoped since it was a weekday in August we wouldn’t have any issues reserving a room.

The only request that wasn’t available was a room with a balcony, although I later realized most face the swimming pool. Instead, we lucked out with an incredible mountain view from our room.

Which Grutas de Tolantongo Hotel Is Best?

Honestly, this is a hard question to answer. From the pictures, it seems the rooms at both hotels are very similar.

So, when I looked at the Grutas Tolantongo map and saw that Hotel Paraiso Escondido was closest to the hot spring pools, I assumed this was the best hotel. And it certainly was convenient to be close to that area first thing in the morning and into the evening.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the natural cave and river of Tolantongo which are located close to Hotel La Gruta. Had we stayed there, I definitely think we would have soaked in those hot springs more.

I think you’ll be happy at either hotel in Grutas Tolantongo. While the rooms are quite comfortable, keep in mind there is no hot water or WiFi unless you choose to book the very expensive Paraiso Escondido 2.

I didn’t use my phone much, but I found the Telcel service to work well during our stay. The main website does state that it is the only Mexican cell phone service at Grutas Tolantongo that works.

Grutas de Tolantongo Camping

The Grutas de Tolantongo camping is a great way to visit these hot springs on a budget. And the amazing thing is, you can rent everything to need to camp at Grutas Tolantongo.

The main place to camp at Grutas Tolantongo is located along the turquoise river that runs through the canyon. It’s a wide open space with just a few trees for shade.

In addition to tents and the basic necessities needed to camp at Grutas Tolantongo, there are also tables and chairs, grills, charcoal, and wood available to rent or buy.

Campers have access to the shower, bathroom, and changing room facilities 24 hours per day. These facilities are located next to each camping site.

There is also cell phone charging stations near the main camping site. If you do choose to camp, I would make sure you buy a portable battery charger for the trip.

Keep in mind, it’s recommended not to camp very close to the river during the rainy season in case the river unexpectedly swells. And in the winter months, from December through March you will likely need to rent or bring a blanket as well.

Grutas de Tolantongo Costs

The biggest thing to keep in mind when you’re thinking about the costs of Grutas Tolantongo is that only accept cash (pesos) is accepted.

The closest ATM is an hour away in the town of Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo. In instances like these, I find it’s best to bring more cash than you think you will need.

A bright blue swimming pool at Tolantongo, Hidalgo with mountains in the background and plants growing from the rocks in the foreground.

It’s important to keep your entrance ticket as you will need to present it to rent a hotel or camp at Grutas Tolantongo.

Entrance Fee For Grutas Tolantongo

The entrance fee for Grutas Tolantongo is 180 pesos per day. If you take a day trip to Grutas Tolantongo, you simply pay 180 pesos cash when you arrive.

If you decide to stay overnight, it gets slightly more complicated as the ticket is valid from 7 am to 8 pm (essentially daylight hours).

So if you plan to stay two nights, you’ll need to pay 360 pesos. If you plan to stay 2 nights, the cost to enter Grutas Tolantongo is 540 pesos. Children under 5 years old are free.

The entrance fee gives you access to everything at Grutas de Tolantongo (the cave, tunnel, river, hot springs, and swimming pools). However, it does not include hotel costs, camping, food, the zipline, etc.

Grutas de Tolantongo Hotel Costs

The cost of Grutas Tolantongo hotels is mostly the same between Hotel Paraiso Escondido, La Gruta Hotel, and La Huerta (only open on weekends and holidays).

The prices vary based on the size and number of beds as well as the optional balcony (when available). The rooms at La Gruta Hotel have one or two matrimonial (full size) beds. The prices at La Gruta range from 900-1300 pesos per night.

The rooms at Paraiso Escondido Hotel expand to include those with one, two, or three King size beds or the addition of a sofa bed (up to five people total). The prices at Hotel Paraiso range from 1050 for one bed to 2200 pesos for three king beds.

The other Grutas Tolantongo hotel is relatively new. Hotel Paraiso 2 is nearly double the price since the rooms include hot water, WiFi, and a TV. The hotel also has an elevator.

When I told my mom our hotel would not have hot water, she was a bit concerned. But she was pleasantly surprised that the water wasn’t incredibly cold (at least in August). You may want to plan showers for the afternoon when the air is still warm.

Check-in is at 3:30 pm and check-out is at 12 pm.

Cost to Camp at Grutas Tolantongo

If you bring everything you need to camp at Grutas Tolantongo (tent, blankets, grill, etc.) then there is no cost for the campsite itself. You would only need to pay the entrance fee to Grutas Tolantongo for the days you will be there.

Looking down on the blue thermal river at Grutas Tolantongo, near where the water flows from the cave.

Otherwise, the costs per night are as follows

  • Tent (up to 4 people) – 150 pesos
  • Sleeping Pad – 150 pesos
  • Blanket – 130 pesos
  • Table – 50 pesos
  • Chair – 20 pesos
  • Grill – 100 + 300 returnable deposit
  • Charcoal – 70 pesos
  • Roll of Wood – 60 pesos
  • Bag of Ice – 60 pesos

As you can see, the costs can really add up. But if you’re a group that could share some of these costs, they make it really easy to camp at Grutas Tolantongo.

Keep in mind, the camping equipment must be returned by 12 pm the next day.

Cost of Transportation within Grutas Tolantongo

From 7 am to 8 pm there are minibuses to transport visitors within Grutas Tolantongo. The cost is 10-15 pesos per person, similar to local buses in Mexico.

The minibuses leave when there is a group of people, which from my experience never took long. At each waiting point, there are chairs and a tent cover for shade.

Other Grutas de Tolantongo Costs to Expect

  • Colectivo to Tolantongo from Ixmiquilpan – 60 pesos each way
  • Car Parking – 30 pesos per day
  • Lockers – 100 + 50 returnable deposit (available 8 am to 5 pm)

La Gloria Tolantongo

After all that explanation about Grutas de Tolantongo, there is adjacent hot spring resort that you should also know. La Gloria Tolantongo is managed and owned by ejido La Mesa which is also in the municipality of Cardonal.

Although there are parts that are also manmade, La Gloria Tolantongo seems to have a more natural feeling since many of the pools are in a natural setting.

And while it’s also less busy than Grutas Tolantongo, it seems to lack the mountain views that I enjoyed while soaking in the hot springs.

Similar to Grutas de Tolantongo, La Gloria has hotel rooms and camping with the ability to rent gear.

Previously, you needed to go through Grutas Tolantongo to access La Gloria, which means paying the entrance fee to both. As a result, I didn’t even consider staying at La Gloria though I thought we would likely visit for one day.

However, I’ve learned you can access La Gloria Tolantongo by driving or taking a taxi through San Miguel Tlazintla, Hidalgo. This route does add about 30 min travel time from Ixmiquilpan, so you’ll need to determine which is best for your schedule.

If you decide to access La Gloria from Grutas Tolantongo, there is a walking bridge to the right of the cave. The cost to enter La Gloria is 150 pesos.

Is Grutas Tolantongo Worth Visiting?

Grutas Tolantongo is definitely worth visiting if you enjoy hot springs, nature, and/or beautiful places.

While it takes a bit of effort to get to, visitors are often in awe of the beauty of Grutas Tolantongo. If you have the time, it’s also worth it to stay one or two nights at one of the hotels.

Questions About Grutas Tolantongo, Hidalgo Mexico

Where in Mexico is Tolantongo?

Tolantongo is located in central Mexico in the state of Hidalgo. Grutas Tolantongo is located a canyon in the municipality Cardonal, about an hour from the city of Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo. It takes 3-4 hours to get to Tolantongo from Mexico City and Queretaro.

What airport is closest to Grutas de Tolantongo?

The closest airport to Grutas de Tolantongo is Queretaro International Airport. However, Mexico City airport is about the same distance. In addition, there are more flights available to the CDMX airport from various cities.

How far is Mexico City from Las Grutas de Tolantongo?

Mexico City is about 200 km (124 mi) from Las Grutas de Tolantongo. It takes 3-4 hours to get to Grutas de Tolantongo from Mexico City depending on traffic, the time of day, and where in the city you start. If you start early from the northern part of Mexico City, it will cut your travel time significantly.

How do you get to Las Grutas from Mexico City?

There are three options to get to Las Grutas from Mexico City. The first is to rent a car and drive. The second is to take a Grutas Tolantongo tour from Mexico City. And the third is to take a bus from Mexico City to Ixmiquilpan. From there you can take a taxi or minibus to Grutas Tolantongo.

When can you see Grutas de Tolantongo?

You can see Grutas de Tolantongo anytime because the site is open 365 days per year. Yes, that’s correct, Grutas Tolantongo is also open on holidays. The ticket booth is open every day from 6 am to 10 pm. If you want to reserve a hotel, it’s recommended to arrive early.

How much does it cost to go to Grutas de Tolantongo?

It costs 180 pesos to enter Grutas de Tolantongo. The fee is required per day, so if you stay overnight you will need to pay 360 pesos. Other costs for transportation and lodging vary depending on what you choose.

Is Grutas de Tolantongo natural?

There are many parts of Grutas de Tolantongo that are natural. The cave, tunnel, and stunning river are all natural, as is the magnificent box canyon where Grutas Tolantongo is located. The most well-known part of Tolantongo that is not natural is the series of pools that were built into the side of the mountain and filled with thermal water.

Is Tolantongo man made?

Tolantongo is a mix of manmade and natural areas. The most notable manmade area is the 40 pools that are built into the side of the cliff with incredible mountain views. These pools are filled with naturally heated thermal waters that are rich in minerals.

Why is the water in Tolantongo warm?

The water in Tolantongo is warmed by volcanic rock as it passes through a series of channels within the mountains. The water cools slightly as it sits in rocky passes within the canyon before reaching the cave. From there it mixes with lukewarm water and flows into the turquoise river.

Where does the water from Tolantongo come from?

The water in Grutas Tolantongo comes from the volcanic mountain of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. Along the way, the water picks up mineral salts from the rocks before going into the Grutas Tolantongo cave system.

Who owns Grutas de Tolantongo?

Grutas de Tolantongo is owned by the municipality of Cardonal, Hidalgo. It is managed by ejido San Cristóbal while the La Gloria site is managed by the neighboring ejido La Mesa. So essentially, Grutas Tolantongo is owned and managed by the community similar to a co-op.

Is Tolantongo close to Cancun?

Tolantongo is not close to Cancun, Mexico. Grutas de Tolantongo is located in central Mexico, 3-4 hours from Mexico City. If you are traveling in Cancun, you can take a flight to Mexico City to explore this part of the country and Grutas Tolantongo.