A Weekend at an Overcrowded Campground at Las Grutas de Tolantongo | Mexico

I had been wanting to go to Las Grutas de Tolantongo (in the state of Hidalgo) for months and a couple of days ago we were finally on our way! I was so excited.

Las Grutas de Tolantongo is a complex in the canyon of Tolantongo. In this canyon there’s a thermal (!) river, this river runs through caves you can visit and there are thermal pools as well. By thermal I mean 20 degrees – which basically is…heaven.

 

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Early morning, when most people were still sleeping. In the afternoon it was full of people.

The usual thing to do is to go camping there – so that’s what we did.

We arrived and it was very crowded, that’s when we realized that it was Semana Santa (Easter holidays)! The Semana Santa is the most busy season in Mexico. Literally everyone travels and it seemed like the whole country decided to gather in Las Grutas de Tolantongo.

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The funny thing was that there were no tourists there, only locals …and us. Which made it a hardcore Mexican experience.

From hearing typical Mexican words like “ANDALE ANDALE ANDALE” to “orale!” and “gueeeyy”. Non-stop barbecuing, even from as early as 8:30 in the morning my fiancé almost threw up from the smell and he’s not even a full time vegetarian yet. Loud Mexican music and there even was a live orchestra which played so chaotic, it sounded like the musicians had no idea what they were doing! Anyway, the atmosphere was crazy, nice and everything felt very safe as it was mainly families with children there no creepy dudes looking for one night stands.

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The Holy River of Mexico

 However, it was SO crowded, we only managed to swim in the river, not in the pools or caves… In a way, I am very disappointed because I was soooo looking forward to all this and in the end we were only able to do 1 thing… But on the other hand, it was a great experience and I’ll never forget this. We went there to experience the pools but we got another experience instead. So after all, I do not regret going during the Semana Santa BUT we will go back some other day to really experience the attractions this place has to offer.

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Crowded” we thought when we arrived. But the day after, there were 3 times as many people and tents! There was NO personal space at all.

Where and What?

Las Grutas de Tolantongo, San Cristobal, Hidalgo.

Entrance fee: $120 off season. $140 during holidays.

Included are: all the attractions, a place to camp, toilets and showers. You can rent lockers for $50 a day. To go to the thermal pools, you can take a collectivo leaving at the reception and this will cost you $5 (you can walk there too but it’s 2 km up hill).

There are many small and cheap restaurants on the site itself. However, we (as budget travellers) brought our own food and water.

You can rent tents for as cheap as $100, mattresses, blankets, chairs, tables etc.

If you’re not a budgettraveler, you can stay in the hotels or apartments on the site itself. They’re pretty cheap.

There is no Wifi AT ALL and make sure your camera is charged because there are barely any electricity plugs (if you camp there at least).

Last but not least, GO OFF SEASON and try to avoid weekends.

Want more information? Check their website – they even have an English page.

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The river gets this color because of the salt.

How to get there?

From Mexico City, take the bus “Ovnibus”, that leaves from Central del Norte, to Ixmiquilpan (no toilets on this bus!) it takes 3 hrs and costs $165.

Once in Ixmiquilpan, take a taxi to the San Antonio parking. If you tell the taxi driver that you want to go to Las Grutas de Tolantongo, he’ll bring you immediately to the right place. This will cost you $50.

The busses leaving to Las Grutas will cost you $50 and it takes about 1hr to get there.

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16 comments

  1. Ahh, I’ve been dying to go to Tolantongo for aaages too. Life always seems to get in the way though, and cos it’s like a four hour trip there and back it seems super hard to do in just one day. Thanks for the post though! I HAVE to get there before I leave Mexico.

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    • It’s extremely beautiful and the water is soooo hot! And when you’re in the pools (we didn’t go in cuz there were too many people) you have a view over the canyon. It’s incredible.
      Going there for just one day isn’t worth it. I didn’t mention this in my post (I should add it now) but you can rent tents and matrasses there and I believe they’re pretty cheap. You could go there in a weekend!
      When will you leave Mexico?

      Liked by 1 person

    • When it’s less crowded, indeed, hahaha. Yeah, when you’re in those pools, you have an amazing view over the canyon. *-*

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    • So true! I’m really happy when I find out that a place (in nature) where I’m going to doesn’t have wifi. It allows you to be completely in the moment and enjoy the environment even more.

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  2. Oh wow! What an experience. I arrived in Andalusia in Spain and had not idea that is was Semana Santa. It was crazy busy and so hard to get accommodation. I feel you. Still at least the river looks spectacular.

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  3. The colour if the river is gorgeous. I have never camped myself but this must have been quite an experience 🙂

    Cheers,
    Ameeta xx

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  4. Wat jammer dat je dan zo voor een vervelende verrassing van die Semana Santa te komen staan. Zou ook net wat voor mij zijn om dat te vergeten. 🙂

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    • Het was jammer maar ik probeer alles positief in te zien. We hebben nu ten minste een échte Mexicaanse ervaring op gedaan haha. En we zijn van plan eens tijdens een weekdag terug te gaan als het rustig is. 🙂

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