My friends Aldo and Ray recently started a lifestyle brand called Cholula Nation with another friend of theirs, David. In a nutshell, Cholula Nation seeks to share the authentic experiences in Mexico with foreign students who come to study in Puebla. They promote personal and community development through trips, events, and activities. The trips are designed to help the foreign exchange students to really understand Mexico in the short time they are here while they explore the wonders of the country with their friends. So yadda, yadda, Cholula Nation ran their first trip the first weekend of July. They were headed to Las Grutas de Tolantongo in Hidalgo. I wasn’t very psyched about the trip, but I wanted to support Cholula Nation, and I just happened to have two friends from the US coming to live in Cholula for the month so I thought it would be a good way for them to travel a bit and get to know some people.
Now, after spending some time reasearching “Las Grutas de Tolantongo” and trying to get excited, Aldo later told me that the trip was actually to “La Gloria Tolantongo“, which was different than the main one. He explained that there were much less crowds and that it was much more awesome. Downside (for me), La Gloria only offered camping in a tent, while Las Grutas offered a hotel. I sucked it up and on Saturday morning Eddy, my two girlfriends and I headed towards La Gloria Tolantongo in Hidalgo. All was merry up until an hour away from La Gloria; cell phone service cut out (no GPS), and all you have to guide you are a few signs. Well, the only way to get to La Gloria is an hour ride twisting and turning up and down a narrow, unpaved mountain. I’m not going to lie, this caused me a lot of anxiety! But eventually, we arrived, and seriously, I was at a loss for words when I saw La Gloria.
Tolantongo is made up of waterfalls, baths, grottos, and rivers of hot spring water. It’s seriously a warm-bath paradise in the middle of absolutely no where in the mountains. I can’t really explain it so these picture will have to do!
I spent the day drinking in the warm rivers (95-100°F) and grottos as if I was a college kid again and actually had an awesome time!
The next morning, I realized there was a bridge that connected La Gloria to the main part, Las Grutas. To have access to “the other side” you have to pay an additional fee. Despite Aldo being right– there were tons of people at Las Grutas and practically NO ONE at La Gloria– I wish I would have known they were connected. Ideally, I would have spent the day at La Gloria and then cross the bridge, pay the fee, and slept in the hotel at Las Grutas! I also heard that the road to Las Grutas is not as bad as the road to La Gloria (they are completely different paths). I probably would never make the ride up (and down) to La Gloria again, it was just too rough (and it rained at night so returning back to civilization was even worse). But now that I know that they are actually connected, I might try to go through Las Grutas.
For more information on Tolantongo, I advise first reading their Wikipedia entry here, then visiting their websites (linked above) and checking out all the Youtube videos– they are awesome. Special thanks to Cholula Nation for inviting me along on the trip!