Rich in culture and natural landmarks, Mexico boasts a variety of top hot springs. From secluded primitive soaking pools to well-developed resorts complete with the finest facilities and overnight lodging, there’s a mineral hot spring for everybody.
Take advantage of the United States’ proximity, and hop on a plane south of the border to visit some of the best hot springs in Mexico. While it contains one of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City, there are plenty of opportunities to escape the hustle of urban life to relax in some steaming thermal water in the Great Outdoors.
Mexico is a beautiful destination with a wide variety of amazing landscapes from beaches to deserts and everything in between. Over ⅓ of the country is covered in different types of forests and there are geothermal springs spread across the vast North American country. So grab a swimsuit and your gear, and get into nature.
Here’s a look at the top thermal springs in Mexico, in no particular order:
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Grutas Tolantongo, a massive park in San Cristóbal, is a popular place to spend some serious time and is touted as “an oasis at your fingertips”. More than 25 pools with thermal water (97-100℉/36-38℃) are built into the side of a mountain and accessed by a rather complex set of paths and stairs. The views are breathtaking.
There are several more traditional pools with waterslides near the multiple hotels on the property, though not all are spring-fed. While many waterfalls cascade throughout the property, the largest and most impressive is just outside a cave with swimming access. Watery tunnels are ripe for exploration as well.
Ziplines, hanging bridges on hiking trails, and camping by the thermal river—rent equipment or bring your own—are all on the list of things you can do here. Plus, all your dining needs will be met by the 16 different on-site places to eat or drink or the conveniently-located grocery store. Grab your friends and head to Grutas Tolantongo any day of the year; there are no days off at this local water paradise.
Hierve de Agua, Oaxaca
Hierve de Agua is a group of white travertine rock formations reminiscent of roaring waterfalls about 42 miles outside of Oaxaca City. The area is a standout because of the 2500-year-old irrigation system, uncommon in pre-Hispanic Mexico, and because they’re unique in that they’re lined canals.
Aside from its archaeological attraction, a group of both artificially and naturally formed pools in “Cascada Chica”, or the Amphitheatre, fill with 72-81℉ (22-27℃) mineral water that bubbles to the surface of the earth. Pools are on an open terrace 5,000 feet (1524m) above sea level in the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca mountains, with endless views of the valley below.
Get there early and bring plenty of water. It’s far away from civilization, but there are food stands, bathrooms, showers, and six basic cabins to spend the night in. You can go on a tour or by yourself, but once you’re here, you should definitely explore the 1.6-mile (2.6km) loop trail that ends under Cascada Hierve el Agua.
The Zentik Project uses its hotel, spa, and art gallery to build on the magical soaking experience of the Yucatán. While it’s not fed by a hot spring, its subterranean cave sits six meters underground and is filled with a saltwater pool with water 95-100℉ (35-38℃). Natural light and candles create a romantic glow as water falls from points in the ceiling.
At ground level, an outdoor swimming pool lined by hammocks sits next to a bamboo hut-style spa. Let go of your tension with a massage or a signature cocktail from Naino, the gourmet on-site restaurant. Or, you can get creative with an art workshop.
In 12 unique rooms, aka Mayan cabins, decor from colorful bedding to wall murals painted by regional artists is combined with historic charm. The light and airy feel are in part due to Kaliju, a new interior design project that uses pieces from a collective of artists and artisans that work with traditional fibers. Many pieces are available for purchase if you fall in love with them during your stay.
Agua Blanca Hotel
Guests can discover idyllic waterfalls, creeks, and caverns throughout the 70-acre property at the convergence of two microclimates of Central Mexico. Agua Blanca Hotel is well-loved for the nature- and wildlife-viewing opportunities, and it’s an especially popular place to stay for those making their way to the nearby Monarch Butterfly Reserve.
You’ll never be bored here with activities like rappelling, yoga, tai chi, Zumba, origami, educational courses, board and yard games, and ziplining. More relaxing options include soaking in the thermal pools (88℉/31℃), and enjoying the Tamazcal—an indigenous sweat lodge of sorts.
You also read in the library or lie on hammocks, visit the resident farm animals, or watch movies on the big screen, to name a few things to do. You might even enjoy jumping onto a tour of local mezcal production.
21 rooms and houses are open for overnight guests with an eco-tourism focus. Solar panels heat water for showers, and the organic vegetable garden supplies the dining room. Camping is also available for anyone wishing to be closer to nature.
Termas de San Joaquín
Take a trip back in time in the large, underground thermal pool of Termas de San Joaquín, a beautiful stone space like that of a Roman bath. The toasty mineral water averages 108℉ (42℃), and the natural lighting adds to the historic ambiance.
Like the previous listing, Termas de San Joaquín also has a Temazcal on-site as well as an indoor freshwater pool, a gym, a spa, ping pong, and a library. Outside, a scenic lookout awaits sunset viewings over distant mountains. Biking trails, sports fields, and a playground keep active guests satisfied. A unique selling point is their astronomy evenings with stargazing and discussions of the solar system in their very own observatory.
Guests hoping to spend more time here can book one of the traditionally decorated rooms. Programmings like karaoke nights, educational plant and animal life tours, as well as barbeques, are fun ways to mingle with other guests. Note that the last of these is just one of three dining options on the property.
Los Azufres Spa Natural
Balneario Los Azufres is set on the side of Laguna Larga in Michoacán and is surrounded by dense forest. The lake itself is a great place to get out on the water, fish, or see a regatta. And it provides the on-site restaurant with local trout. There’s also an opportunity to hike, zipline, and climb in the area.
Multiple hot springs pools fed with sulfurous water, 77-86℉ (25-30℃), tend to look brown or green. Mineral-rich mud allows for mud baths, and a nearby sauna is ideal for those who prefer dry heat.
The property has several low-key log cabins for two to 20 people. Luxury hotels are also in the area if you prefer something more upscale or with more amenities. Or, you camp by the lake.
Guadalupe Canyon Oasis Hot Spring
Just 140 miles from San Diego, in the mountains of northern Baja, Guadalupe Canyon Hot Springs is a true desert oasis. Rock pools with sulfurous spring water are tucked in the middle of a remote–i.e. off-the-grid–palm tree grove. Guests can jump off the rocks into some of the deeper pools under the clear, starry sky.
Each of the 14 campsites is equipped with a private pool with water up to 125℉ (52℃) for you and your party and a barbeque or fireplace, palapas, picnic tables, and more. The largest site can accommodate four cars and 16 people, and the smallest can host just one car and two people. Public pools and mud baths are also available but are closed in the winter.
There are lots of things to explore outside the water, too, including indigenous caves and paintings, and rock climbing. Hike up to some naturally-occurring cool pools in the hills above the thermal options, some of which have waterfalls, then grab your guitar and stop in for an open mic night in front of the property’s store.
Aguas Termales la Azufrosa
Aguas Termales la Azufrosa is full of hot, sulfurous, thermal water, which ranges from 109 to 113℉ (43-45℃) in both indoor and outdoor pools. It’s fun for the whole family, and the outdoor seating area with string lights builds a sense of community serving as a place to watch a movie on a big screen or to relax with a sunset and a good book. Group programming yields fun events like yoga, as well.
You can snag a day pass or book a room in the lodge or camping area to spend more time here. Set in a patch of trees in the rather deserted flatlands between nearby mountains, it’s a wonderfully flat place to camp with clear views for miles. There’s cafeteria service for part of the day, but they recommend you bring your own food to prepare over a campfire or barbeque.
Balneario de las Ánimas
For more family fun, rent one of 12 cabins at Balneario de las Ánimas in Hidalgo. The property hosts a large family pool with twisting, adrenaline-pumping slides, and areas with jets for hydromassage. The kids’ pool is equally as exciting with more age-appropriate slides, water games, aqua tubes, and a wading pool.
When guests are ready to dry out, the grassy green fields are perfect for a game of soccer, a laid-back picnic, or a nap in the warm sun. Many such places are also open for camping on cushioned ground.
If you decide not to pack food, you can stop in the restaurant for a delightful meal or pick up supplies at the store. They’re prepared for everything at Balneario las Ánimas with palapas to shade you from the sun to medical services when things go wrong.
Hotel de Lourdes Campestre
As the name implies, Hotel de Lourdes Campestre is a country hotel near San Luis Potosi. Here, the outdoor swimming pool feels like a country club pool: upscale, peaceful, and personal.
Traditional architecture abounds, and guests can enjoy a large covered terrace, views of distant mountains, and manicured grounds. The more active can take advantage of hiking trails–there’s a hanging bridge over the nearby river–an outdoor playground, sports courts, and table games like pool and ping pong.
Spend the night in one of the 36 comfortable rooms with expansive windows from which to enjoy the views. Most rooms also have hydromassage bathtubs fed with springwater, but for more relaxing treatments, a visit to the spa can be arranged. When winding down for the evening, finish things off with a memorable meal at the in-house restaurant serving local specialties.
Paraiso Aventura Las Huertas
Good, old-fashioned fun awaits guests at Paraiso Aventura las Huertas in Morelos. With multi-level pools with waterfalls twisting through the trees, you won’t even have to worry much about sunburns. The wading pool is ideal for young ones while the aqua bar is a selling point for their parents.
An on-site grocery store and grills make picnicking easy, but a restaurant provides tasty dishes for those who want to make things easy. Locker rooms and showers add to the convenience.
Bring or rent a tent and sleep under the stars in the camping area. Rustic cabins and bungalows are also available for two to six people. The latter includes breakfast.
There are multiple pools of varying temperatures in the natural ravine at Balneario Chichimequillas in Hidalgo. One of which is a traditional, spring-fed swimming pool with a large encircling patio and lounge chairs dotting the space. An ancient-looking rock face, reminiscent of a Mayan temple rises above it with a built-in set of stairs.
The pools here are of varying depths. Two have areas for diving and jumping, and there are multiple waterslides throughout. Hiking and rappelling are also on the list of activities on the property.
Camping is offered in a 600 square-meter grassy space set aside for the purpose. Enjoy the gardens all night long, and cook your dinner over a campfire or head to the restaurant. Just keep an eye out for the iguanas relaxing on the stones warmed by the daytime sun.
The best hot springs in Mexico are waiting. On your next visit to America’s neighbors to the south, step away from the popular beach resorts and international attractions for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Load up on the mouth-wateringly amazing local dishes and kick your stress to the curb. Viva Mexico!