Odds are, we (travel junkies) have come across pictures of Mexico’s Grutas de Tolotongo springs, when researching picturesque parts of the country.. Steps of cool, cascading waters of a vibrant blue, envious pictures and videos from your favorite travel influencer seeping through your imaginations…. But have you heard of the lesser known, but just as daydream inducing, springs of Las Estacas in the Mexican state of Morelos?
Getting into the Park
Situated in the state of Morelos, Las Estacas Parque Natural is a naturally formed spring cenote that has been turned into a well kept, regional park. About a 2 hour drive from Mexico City (three if you are stuck in the infamous Mexico City Traffic….I swear, someone should name Mexico City traffic a Unesco heritage experience so we can at least find some benefit from the experience) this beautifully natural occurrence is a network of clear spring cenotes. The manicured lawns, well maintained pedestrian pathways and variety of refreshment and lodging options is a welcome respite from city life.
We originally made our way from a weekend in Tepoztlan, another fine getaway from the maniacal busy-ness of Mexico city. Although Mexico City is divine choice for a week of museum and food gorging, or even a quick jaunt, making the most for Twenty four hours in Mexico City, I’ve been exploring the surrounding towns to see how locals like to spend their weekends. We had our own transportation on this diversion, as did many others attending the park, a fact that may make this excursion unobtainable for others. The entry fee is quite pricey as well, as of summer 2022 it will set you back $460 pesos as an adult, less if you are a minor. However one does see the effects of the high cost of entry in a fabulously maintained park space with a wide variety of services.
Staying at the Park
There are a number of hospitality options for those looking to spend a night or a few days at the park. A full service hotel, glamping, camping and even a Hotel Para Perros (dog hotel) for those that want to bring along their furry friends (dogs are not allowed in the waters, but can spend the day making other canine friends in their own secluded area). We were only there for a day trip, but envied those in the camping area, who could roll out of their tent and into the springs before the crowds even showed up.
Our plans brought us there on a Sunday, and although there were many families out and about, I never felt crowded, or spaced out of any of the lawn areas or activities.
Once you have settled in and paid the entry fee, enjoyment of the park is at your own leisure. You will have free use of the children’s pool, some public yoga classes, and weekend tours. Other activities such as ziplines, kayaks, and stand up paddle boarding will cost extra and can be booked on site. There’s even a spa for those wishing to take a break from swimming, or wanting to partake in a traditional temazcal steam experience. Aside from all the additional activities, ongoing promotions might be more to your liking, including scuba in the springs, ancestral cultural experiences, paddleboard yoga or even a curated romantic package.
There are several refreshment activities when you need a break from the springs. We opted for a full service restaurant option to try regional fare in a relaxed setting (and of course with alcohol 🙂 Additionally there is a self service mercado which stocks many grab and go options. Don’t forget to wait 45 minutes before hitting the water!
Pros and Cons
All in all, I was extremely impressed with Las Estacas. It was well laid out, organized, and most of all, clean.. This was evident in the smiles of all the families there to partake in this natural wonder. However I can see how the distance from Mexico city, lack of public transportation to the springs, and cost might be a barrier for entry to some families. I would recommend this for anyone looking for good clean wet fun to beat the scorching heat!