Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Las Grutas de Tolantongo

This weekend was a 3-day weekend in honor of Benito Juárez's birthday. Benito Juárez was Mexico's president for five terms (1858-1872).  He was the first Mexican president of full indigenous descent (Zapotec origen from Oaxaca) and to not have a military background. He resisted the French occupation in Mexico and restored the Republic and used liberal efforts to modernize the country. He is remembered as a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights for Mexico's indigenous people, lessening the power of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexican politics, and the defense of national sovereignty. His period of leadership is known as La Reforma (the reform) and included the expropriation of church lands, bringing the army under civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, the separation of church and state in public affairs, etc. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Juárez)


This weekend I visited Las Grutas de Tolantongo (the caves of Tolantongo) in the state of Hidalgo. This self-described "Oasis within reach" was a bit farther away than we thought, but worth it! It boasts a blue, "hot springs" river with an average temperature of 93 degrees fahrenheit. There's a tunnel that's like a natural steam bath and hot shower rolled into one.  There's a cave where you can wade in the warm water amongst the stalagmites and showers of naturally heated water. There are various (warm) pools to swim/relax in and beautiful waterfalls. There are also options of hiking or zip-lining. If you stay overnight, there are hotels on the premises and tents to rent for camping.


(For more info visit Grutas de Tolantongo's website: http://www.grutastolantongo.com.mx/index_ing.php


almost there! a quick photo op with the impressive landscape 

driving down the mountain to get to the Grutas 

driving down the mountain to get to the Grutas 

driving down the mountain to the Grutas 


driving down the mountain to the Grutas 


Welcome to Las Grutas! "Hot springs" river
and camping area 

waterfalls 

waterfalls 

waterfalls 

waterfalls 

waterfalls. entrance to the tunnel above and
entrance to the cave below 

doesn't it look like The Scream face? 

lots of people! 

waiting to go into the tunnel

waterfall 

under a cascade of hot water in the cave 


tranquil pool of naturally heated water 


so excited to roast marshmallows! 

About to try the pink marshmallow. Suspicion confirmed: not as good. 

Pretty view of the mountains in the morning 

the "hot springs" river




various eatery options 


hummingbird on the cactus flower 

Las Grutas de Tolantongo was relaxing and definitely something different. I'd recommend visiting when it's not a holiday weekend though and hopefully the crowds aren't so bad.

On the way back to the DF we made a pitstop in Pachuca, Hidalgo for some pastes. They reminded me of Argentine empanadas but with a flakier pastry outside. Typical pastes had fillings such as red or green mole, beef and potatoes, or chicken. They also have sweet varieties with fillings like pineapple or apple. Yum! 

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