While in spanish the word “grutas” means “grottos”, in Mexico it is used in a different manner by which it is used to describe various cave systems from Cacahuamilpa to Tolantongo. Where by Las Grutas de Tolantongo is located in the northern state of Hidalgo. It is known as a tourist destination for its caves and thermal features of the river.
The water based activites provided in Grutas de Tolantongo is what sets it apart from other grutas in the country. Among the grutas is balnearios, which is a Spanish term for attractions that are related to water. Where Las Grutas de Tolantongo serves to be a combination of spa and water park which are completed with thermal pools.
Like many other tourist destinations in Mexico which are natural in nature, Las Grutas de Tolantongo is administered under the ejido system. Which means that the land is not owned by the public, but instead it is privately owned by members of the local community. Sort of like a co-operation system, where these ejidatarios serves as the investor for the infrastructure projects to attract visitors to Tolantongo.
Development of Grutas de Tolantongo was started in the 1970s, with the establishment of trails, pathways and roads which leads to the connecting rivers, waterfals and caves of the system. As tourism grew due to the infrastructure making it possible, other features which are hospitality in nature followed through since the 1990s and construction of the waterpark began in the mid 2000s.
The co-op ejido system and development of man-made features for the natural wonder has been much of a controversial subject. Less governmental involvement has been the reason for a diminished level of accountability as well it increased the likelihood of the wonder becoming a target for organized criminal organizations. However, it remains to be a living example of an extension for an alternative model of economy in the tourism industry.
Where is Las Grutas de Tolantongo?
Las Grutas de Tolantongo is located 17 kilometres from Ixmiquilpan which is on Route 27 in the Mezquital Valley, at the state of Hidalgo in Mexico. It is about 198 km or between 3 to 4 hours drive towards the northwest of Mexico City.
Know Before You Go
Entrance to the landscapes of Las Grutas de Tolantongo $150 (Mexican Dollars) per day, per person. General opening hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, however hotels and camping grounds are available for visitors who wants to stay overnight.