Anyone touring areas in the north of Mexico this week and found the cold was too much to bear might consider two other options: head for the nearest beach destination or visit one of Mexico’s hot springs.
Here are six such destinations in central Mexico, courtesy of the newspaper El Universal.
• There are two in Hidalgo state, including the Grutas de Tolantongo in Cardonal.
With some 40 natural pools embedded in the rock that offer a panoramic view of a canyon, Tolantongo has gained worldwide fame. The turquoise spring water is always between 36 and 38 C, and visitors can also swim in a river.
A waterpark has been erected around the natural springs, offering visitors swimming pools and waterslides. Those looking for a more relaxing experience can set off on the site’s hiking circuit while the adventurous can join guided tours to nearby caves.
There are two lodging options at Tolantongo: a two-person bedroom for 600 pesos (US $31) per night or camping, with the rent of four-person tents starting at 120 pesos. Admittance is 140 pesos, and it includes access to the waterpark and hot springs.
• The second Hidalgo destination is El Géiser in Tecozautla. The hot springs are connected to nearby volcanic air vents and feed pools that have been either equipped with waterslides or as hot tubs.
The pools are open full time and their vapor has been used to naturally heat a small steam room.
The site also offers ziplining and a hiking circuit that includes several suspension bridges. Families can organize picnics and enjoy the natural landscape.
Admittance to El Géiser costs 120 pesos, and ziplining is 150. The park offers camping areas for 100 pesos and lodging at a hotel where rates start at 250 pesos.
• Another option is La Gruta in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. The site’s name describes an indoor pool whose natural spring waters can reach 40 C. A rock ceiling was built over the pool, which can only be accessed through a 40-meter tunnel. If the heat is too much, La Gruta also offers outdoor heated pools surrounded by green areas.
Deep tissue, hot stone and foot massages are available on site, along with a temazcal, or sweat lodge.
Admittance is 200 pesos, and 400 more for a temazcal.
• The name of the city of Aguascalientes, in the state of the same name, means “hot waters” in Spanish and originated from the abundance of hot springs in the area. The fourth destination n the list, Ojocaliente, is located just 15 minutes away from the city.
A neo-classical building houses a bathhouse that first opened its doors in 1808. A number of private baths adorned with colorful mosaics can be rented by the hour by couples or families, who can then enjoy natural hot spring waters that reach temperatures of between 38 and 40 C.
Relaxing massages can be ordered for a full hour or half that time. Ojocaliente also offers a restaurant that serves meals that mix traditional and innovative recipes and ingredients, along with staple mezcal cocktails.
Renting a bath for an hour costs 150 pesos for a couple, while massages start at 250 pesos for half an hour.
• A natural spa in the Los Azufres region of Michoacán is the fifth destination. Named after the region in which it is located, the spa offers a treatment that includes a thermal mud bath, a steam room and wading into the 38 C waters of a hot spring.
The spa also offers eight types of massages and sells its own line of artisanal beauty products.
In terms of lodging, Los Azufres Spa offers cabins that go for 800 pesos per person per night or camping for 150 pesos per person. These rates include a basic spa treatment, while massages start at 300 pesos.
• Rounding out the list of hot spring destinations is the magical town of Chignahuapan in Puebla. Pools fed with hot spring waters are available for whole families in indoor and outdoor areas, with a more exclusive area set apart for those looking for a less crowded experience.
Hotel rooms also have hot spring water available in their tubs, while a spa offers relaxing massages and beauty treatments. The hotel also has a restaurant.
Admittance starts at 125 pesos per adult, while a hotel room for two starts at 2,557 pesos.
Source: El Universal (sp)