The Waters of Tolantongo: Mexico’s Volcanic Oasis

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It's a place made for bucket lists. Nestled in a box canyon in Mexico's Mezquital Valley, the Tolantongo Caves is one of the world's most scenic and truly unique hot springs destinations. A complex of wildly dramatic man-made, cliff-side pools capture the pristine hot springs water while offering breathtaking views of the surrounding valley and volcanic mountain peaks.

The water is heated by a local abundance of geothermal energy and is infused with a variety of health-fortifying minerals. There is also a hot springs river and, as the name suggests, a system of caves that add an element of fun and adventure, along with a host of resort amenities.

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The pools are part of a resort area consisting of three hotel complexes. Located near the city of Hidalgo, about a three to four hour drive north of Mexico City, Tolantongo has become a favorite vacation destination for Mexicans] and international tourists alike. Soaring canyon walls rising 500 meters above the canyon floor surround the systems of caves, pools, waterfalls and the river, which emanates from two large grottos. There is also a set of three natural pools called La Gloria that cascade down the canyon walls.

Tolantongo was established 30 years ago as an association of 112 local families that for generations have lived in the canyon and managed the valuable waters it contains. All of the workers are members of the families and collectively own the resort. Tolantongo functions entirely independent of local or national government, or other outside interests.

The place has drawn rave reviews online and in local and national media. In 2010, posted this review: "This tropical valley holds the most beautiful cascades, grottos and caves running with clear turquoise hot springs that exist in this world. The cabins are simple yet set in the midst of warm clear pools that cascade into each other, very romantic for couples or great for families."

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