A popular institution in Mexico and Central America, balnearios, or thermal springs, range from undeveloped pools to fancy spa resorts to elaborate water parks that are packed with screaming kids on the weekends but make ideal camp spots during off hours. Many balnearios feature attached hotels, bungalows, or camp areas. Not all balnearios allow camping, but many will allow you to camp (for a fee) even if camping is not on their main menu. El Codo just sent me this fantastic resource that lists balnearios across Mexico. The directory includes hours, locations, and brief descriptions in Spanish.
On our recent trip we enjoyed stops at Ex-Hacienda Los Remedios in Chihuhua, Balneario Los Cactus in the state of Puebla, and Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca state. Another old favorite is Las Estacas, outside of Cuernavaca. We haven’t been there in years, but as a kid I loved the crystal clear canals and when my parents parked our van beneath a giant ceba on the property, I was able to set up a bed in its branches without worrying about falling out (the tree was that big). Some of my favorite hot spring-style balnearios, such as Esondido Place, are located outside of San Miguel de Allende. I’ve never camped at Escondido Place (and I’m not sure it’s allowed) but with its hot, sheltered pools and swimmable tunnel, it’s definitely worth a day trip. As for Guatemala, no trip is complete without a stop at Fuentes Georginas. Got a favorite balneario you are willing to share?
Next up on the topic: “El Codo’s Hot Spring Story”