Hot springs are the result of either geothermally or volcanically heated water. From the earth’s most ancient civilizations until today human beings have been fascinated with these seemingly magical pools of steaming water, used for relaxation, healing and spritual rituals. For hot spring fanatics, Mexico offers options for all budgets and tastes.
Run as a cooperative by local residents, Grutas Tolantongo is one of Mexico’s best big hot spring complexes. Tunnels, grottos, and dozens of cascading pools are set amid a rolling natural landscape. One of the highlights of Tolantongo is that you can camp or stay in their simple, comfortable cabins on the property. Weekends and holidays are packed with people, so come during the week to avoid the crowds.
San Miguel de Allende
Located minutes from what has been voted the best city to live in the world by Conde Nast readers, are several hot springs complexes for taking a day off from shopping and eating in San Miguel. The Hacienda Taboada is a grand hotel complex in the middle of the desert with an Olympic-sized pool and several well-maintained gardens and smaller pools. La Gruta, are more intimate hot springs set under a canopy of trees with a grotto, several small waterfalls and a series of pools that increase in temperature as you move from one to the next. There’s an on-site restaurant and poolside drink service.
Hierve de Agua
An hour os so outside of Oaxaca City you can experience starkly beautiful rock formations and petrified waterfalls created by hundreds of years of dripping water over-saturated with calcium carbonate and other minerals. The water spring from a rocky outcropping at the top of the ravine and there are several hot spring pools for dipping. If you are looking for the ultimate natural setting, this location, unlike many on the list, has the bare minimum of tourist infrastructure and has some of the most breathtaking views.
In the town of Ojo Caliente in the State of San Luis Potosi there are several balnearios with hot springs. These complexes are more like public swimming pools filled with hot springs water. They have bathrooms, on-site restaurants and green areas for picnicking. Well-known is La Noria, La Cascada and the Centro Vacacional Gogorrón which has cabins and a hotel as well as small Roman baths that you can rent for private groups.
Termas de San Joaquín
For a luxury hot springs experience without the crowds, head to the Termas de San Joaquin hotel in Coahuila and visit their five domed pools that vary in temperature and have the ambiance of ancient Roman baths. You don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy the pools, but can pay a general entrance fee for the day. There is food and drink offered as well as bathrooms and changing areas. The hotel offers massages and beauty treatments if you want a whole day of pampering yourself.
The Agua Blanca eco-resort and spa is located near Michoacan’s butterfly sanctuary in Jungapeo. Besides their series of 90-degree pools, grottos and waterfalls, they also offer a long list of nature adventures in their 30 hectares of sub-tropical forest. They also have an organic garden, a animal farm, a zipline and lots of other family activities.
El Geiser is somewhere between a public swimming complex and a water park, with several large pools, slides, a zipline, a camping area and hotel as well as grills for cooking out and lifeguards on duty. They also have one of the largest volcanic vents in Latin America that spews steam day and night. Nature lovers looking for peace and tranquility will be disappointed, but families with kids will have a great time.
The Yucatan peninsula is already a culturally magical place, now you can also pamper yourself with a deep soak in the thermal waters at the Zenti´k Project, an arty, boutique hotel with a series of underground caves and water that hovers around 95 degrees. The hotel has bungalow-style rooms and offers spa treatments to complement the hot spring experience.