If you are planning to visit La Gruta San Miguel de Allende, you have landed in the right place. In this post, I am going to share all you need to know about this spectacular hot spring and spa place and all you need to know if you want to make the most of your time there.
As you may know, San Miguel de Allende is not only one of the most spectacular towns in Mexico, but also nominated as one of the most enchanting towns in the world in 2021.
Its cobblestone steep roads, colonial architecture, and colorful streets full of art and glamour make San Miguel a unique place to visit in Mexico.
The problem is that you will fall in love and never want to leave. In fact, I keep coming back!
If you are staying a few days in San Miguel de Allende and you want to take a break from all the amazing things to do, la Gruta is one of the places where you can just do it, a place where to relax and chill.
San Miguel de Allende is in fact surrounded by a few special sites like la Gruta, where the hot springs are turned into recreational places with gardens and facilities where you can spend a day and relax surrounded by nature, and have a massage, or enjoy a lovely meal.
I have been visiting a couple of the most popular hot springs in San Miguel de Allende and la Gruta is one of them.
In this article, I will tell you all about it, including tips on how to make the most of your time there. You will also learn about all the things you can do in the surrounding area.
Where is La Gruta located
La Gruta Spa and Hotsprings is located only 15 minutes drive from San Miguel de Allende, in the pretty little town of Atotonilco.
You may have heard of it for its beautiful sanctuary which is called the Sistine Chapel of Mexico, for the beautiful paintings all over its ceilings and walls.
While you are visiting La Gruta you can combine other attractions and plan a full day tour for yourself and your friends or family. I am going to help you do that in this post.
La Gruta is located just outside Atotonilco town and you can easily walk along the cobblestone road from the Sanctuary.
Otherwise, a taxi will charge you 250 MXN, which is outrageously expensive.
Map of La Gruta San Miguel de Allende
Things you should know about La Gruta San Miguel de Allende
✔️ Visiting La Gruta Spa has an entry fee of 250 MXN which you can pay by credit card as well (visa or MasterCard)
✔️ You are not allowed to bring food and drinks inside except for the water bottle.
✔️ Pets are not allowed
✔️ Kids are not allowed in the cave ( la Gruta ) because of the high temperatures and high level of water
✔️ If you suffer from any heart conditions and low blood pressure you should not enter the cave. If you are not sure, consult your doctor.
✔️ There are restaurants around the pools and gardens where you can enjoy a nice meal or a drink
✔️ There are lockers available to leave your personal belonging
✔️ You can only enter the pools in the bathing suite
✔️ It’s advisable to shower before entering the thermal pools
✔️ WIFI is free and open, available through the property
✔️ The pools are being emptied and washed every evening and refilled in the morning the following day
✔️ Monday and Tuesday the place is closed for maintenance
The thermal pools and la Gruta
There are four thermal pools scattered around the beautiful gardens and the other facilities.
Three of them are close to each other on the right side right after the Spa and the locker rooms.
You will find the first small one that looks like a normal swimming pool but has thermal water as well in it.
If you go past it on your left side you will bump into the second pool, where you will find small showers coming out from the wall.
In this pool, the water temperature is higher to prepare you for the next one, the main attraction of the place, and where it gets the name from: “La Gruta” meaning the cave in Spanish.
It’s a dome-shaped, man-made cave that you will get to from a narrow tunnel where two people can barely pass without touching each other.
It’s about 15 mt long and the water may be around 1.30 mt deep. Here you will start to feel the heat which will get more intense once you are inside the cave.
The dome allows the hot spring water to maintain its natural temperature.
In the “gruta” you can also enjoy strong showers sprouting from the wall for a nice neck massage.
Here the water reaches 40˝˝°C which is quite strong, and steamy, so make sure you stay a limited amount of time.
WARNING: those who suffer from heart conditions should not get to the gruta. Also, children are not allowed inside.
From La Gruta you can get up on a stair that leads to an upper terrace with more sunbeds and an outdoor pool where the water is cooler.
There you also find another bar and restaurant with tables and chairs and a path that leads you to the other garden on the other side of the property where a bigger pool is situated.
This thermal pool is wider and the water gets down to 32°C.
Also by this pool, you can find sun lounges tables and chairs.
La Gruta San Miguel de Allende Facilities and Services
Restaurant and cafe
There are cafes in different corners of the spacious gardens where you can sit and chill sipping a natural juice or having a delicious local meal after you relaxed in the healing waters.
You can pay either by credit card or cash.
Remember you cannot take your own food and drinks ( except water ) on the premises.
There are spacious lockers that are free to use. You just leave a deposit of 50 MXN that will be refunded when you bring the key to the locker back.
The changing rooms are situated right by the lockers for your convenience and they are free to use.
Bathrooms and showers
There are bathrooms and showers scattered around the property so that wherever you are you can find one close to you.
You will have the use of sun loungers and chairs included in the price. They are spread around the pools and in the garden. You must bring your own towel.
There is free WIFI throughout the property and it’s open to using. You don’t need a password.
There is a lot of parking space at the entrance of the property and it’s free.
Spa services such as reflexology, deep tissue, and relaxing massage are available at an extra price. Only cash is accepted and you cannot make a reservation in advance.
So when I was there I really wanted to have a massage but I lost my slot by 5 minutes so I cannot tell you if it’s a good massage.😔 If you try it let me know, though!😜
La Gruta San Miguel de Allende Prices and info
La Gruta Opening Hours
La Gruta Spa is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 7 am to 5 pm
La Gruta Entry Fee
250 MXN ( about 13 USD) to be paid in either cash or credit card (Visa or MasterCard)
Things to do in La Gruta San Miguel de Allende
► Relax in the pools
► Walk in the hot water of the thermal pools
► Spend some time in the steamy cave (la gruta) as long as you can
► Chill in the sun lounges by the pools or in the garden
► Have a massage
► Have a delicious natural juice or lunch in one of their restaurants.
How to get to la Gruta from San Miguel de Allende
Getting to La Gruta is very easy as it’s only 20 minutes from San Miguel de Allende. Here are the options.
Getting to La Gruta by bus
Getting to La Gruta By bus is the cheapest way but the least comfortable. If you opt for the bus you should know that they leave roughly every hour and they leave on the main road close to La Gruta.
In San Miguel de Allende look for the purple busses leaving from El Portón between the hotel Live aqua and Calzada de la Aurora. They have Atotonilco or el Santuario written in the front and should cost around 20 MXN.
Always ask the driver where he’s going to be on the safe side.
Getting to La Gruta by taxi
Getting to La Gruta from San Miguel de Allende is the best and most convenient option even though it’s obviously pricier.
You can get any taxi from San Miguel De Allende and either ask the driver to pick you up at a certain hour or get his number to call him when you want him to come for you.
Keep in mind that Gruta is about a 20-minute drive from San Miguel de Allende.
During my time in San Miguel while I was housesitting I had a driver, Jose Luis, which I absolutely recommend. He’s very reliable, he speaks English and has reasonable rates.
He has a comfortable 6-seat minivan. You can send him a WhatsApp at this number +52 415 125 4958. You can tell him Isabella recommended him, if you wish, just for reference.
Getting to La Gruta by car rental
The area around Atotonilco is surrounded by many estates, hot springs, sanctuaries, and places to see.
If you want to see multiple places in one day and don’t want to rely on a driver you would need to rent a car.
However, keep in mind that there is no car rental in San Miguel de Allende.
You will need to pick it up either at Queretaro Airport or Leon Airport. Queretaro is the closest to San Miguel but Leon is the closest to Guanajuato. Therefore depending on your itinerary choose accordingly.
This is a relatively safe area to drive around, except for Celaya, which I would avoid.
Going from las Gruta to Atotonilco town center a taxi will charge you 250/300 pesos which is insane.
From la Gruta to San Miguel de Allende is about 500 pesos, which is also a lot. A taxi from San Miguel would cost less, so make sure you tell your driver to come and take you back to San Miguel de Allende.
If you consider a return ride it would be almost like the cost of a car rental for one day including insurance and you will have the freedom to check out more places at once.
I recommend checking car rental rates on the Discover Cars platform to compare prices and find the best deal.
What to bring to La Gruta
Here is what you need to bring with you when visiting La Gruta San Miguel de Allende:
✅ A change of underwear
✅ Mexican Pesos
✅ A book or a kindle device
✅ Earbuds (if you want to listen to your favorite music)
MOTIVATIONAL 32oz BPA & TOXIN FREE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
✔ Made of high-quality eco-friendly BPA Free, food-grade PETG plastic material, it’s leak-proof, odorless, durable, and recyclable, safe for your daily drinking.
✔ Time maker can help you boost your daily water intake.
✔ STURDY AND PORTABLE: This sports water bottle is made of premium quality, BPA FREE, PETG plastic material,
Places to see around la Gruta: restaurants and attractions
⛪️ Atotonilco Sanctuary
Located only 15 minutes walk from La Gruta, Atotonilco Sanctuary is called the Sistine Chappel of Mexico for the beautiful paintings on the walls and ceiling. It’s definitely worth the walk.
🌮 Eat in the food stall on Atotonilco main street
Right on the street by the Atotonilco Sanctuary, you will find a line of vendors offering local art and crafts, but also delicious local food.
Make sure you try the “sopes“, a typical regional food which is a thick blue corn tortilla with all sort of fillings.
🏊🏼♀️ Check out the other “Balneario” Escondido Place (hot springs)
Not far away there is another hot spring place (Balneario) called Escondido Place, which, to be honest, I like better than La Gruta, even if it has smaller pools. I will talk about it in a different post. Escondido place has also a beautiful hotel on the premises and a spa as well.
Check out the biggest vintage store shop on the main street
Right across the main road from La Gruta San Miguel De Allende, you will find a unique huge open-air vintage store selling all sorts of objects for home and garden decor.
Even if you don’t need to buy anything it’s worth taking a look at. You will see incredible art pieces made with old recycled stuff.
Visit Dolores Hidalgo Pueblo Magico
Not too far away, at only 20 km from la Gruta, Dolores Hidalgo is a Mexican Pueblo Magico mainly known as the birthplace of Mexican independence in the 1800s.
Local priest Miguel Hidalgo uttered the “Cry of Dolores” at the 18th-century Dolores Parish Church, rallying people to rise up.
Now on September 15th every year, to celebrate this historic event, a ceremony led by the President of the Republic is held, where the bells of the National Palace are rung, alluding to Hidalgo’s call.
Take a tour in one of the viñedos la Santissima Trinidad
Located right before Dolores Hidalgo, at only 17 km you have the chance to visit one of the biggest vineyards in the area.
You can book a tour of their fields where they show you their wine-making process.
I would recommend doing the tour close to lunchtime so that you can have a fancy lunch in the property restaurant afterward and if you feel like getting pampered you can book a massage in their world-class spa.
Monasterio de nuestra señora de la soledad
Located only 7 km from Atotonilco, the monastery of La Soledad was founded by Father Wall as a hermitage for 10 years until in 1985, the Mother House of “La Soledad”, sent monks in order to continue the work of God begun by Father Wall, not as a hermitage, but as a community.
Now every Sunday there is a big long mass where many people from San Miguel and nearby villages attend.
Have lunch at the restaurant Mama Mia Campestre
Mamma Mia Campestre is an excellent restaurant in a beautiful private park, where you can enjoy delicious grilled food and artisanal bear or other specialty drinks.
Tables are scattered around a beautiful garden by a lake and during the weekend, visitors can enjoy great walks in nature among plants and sunflowers fields.
On Saturday and Sunday, it gets crowded so it would be better to reserve a table.
Where to stay near La Gruta
Staying in the area can be a good idea, just outside San Miguel de Allende immersed in nature. There are in fact many cute hotels that you can visit. Here are some hotel ideas
⛺️ Zenzontle glamping SMA
A laidback stay in a luxury but simple tent camp with incredible views over San Miguel and the surrounding valley.
Guests will enjoy the beautiful garden and free WiFi. Bathrooms are shared and equipped with a shower, while certain accommodations at the hotel also feature a terrace.
🏨 Hacienda Hotel Hacienda Taboada (Aguas Termales)
Located in the countryside just outside Atotonilco, this small and comfortable hotel offers spacious rooms in Colonial style and a thermal water pool for the guests’ use.
🏨 Hotel Nirvana
Spectacular hotel located right between La Gruta and Escondid place. The rooms are rustic but elegant and the pool is surrounded by a beautiful manicured garden. They also have a rich menu of spa treatments.
🏨 Finca La Devocion
A spectacular place located between Atotonilco center and La Gruta. This beautiful property offers large spacious country-style suites and an ample garden where to take walks, and exercise, and a large outdoor pool where to relax and enjoy the peaceful nature.
La Gruta San Miguel De Allende: final thoughts and tips
Now that you know how to visit La Gruta you have everything you need to plan your trip.
Whether it’s a couple of hours or a full day I would recommend getting there at 7 am when they open to take full advantage of the place without too many people around.
When I visited it was 9.30 am and although it wasn’t very crowded, I found it quite busy to my taste and I wished I made the effort to get out of bed earlier.
Even though the busiest time of the week is the weekend, also during the week it gets quite crowded after around 10 am. So keep that in mind if you don’t like to be around too many people.
For Further Reading about San Miguel de Allende and its Surrounding
San Miguel de Allende offers so many places to visit and things to do and some of the top hotels to stay in, which I have explored and put together in a detailed article.
But you should also go further and explore Guanajuato capital City with all its incredible things to do and narrow lanes, museums, and restaurants. Check out my posts here below for further reading.
► The best boutique hotels in San Miguel de Allende
► 27 Amazing things to do in Guanajuato
► Where to stay in Guanajuato
► Amazing things to do in Queretaro
► How to visit the Sierra Gorda in Queretaro: 4-day itinerary