No, San Miguel is not located on any beach in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t water! Only ten minutes out of the city you can take advantage of San Miguel’s infamous hot springs. For $150 pesos or the equivalent of about $7 US dollars, you can buy your way into a full day of sunbathing, pool hopping, steam bathing and hot tubs.
Our favorite is El Escondido Place, spa, restaurant and hotel. The vibe here is very relaxed, mostly locals out for a day of fun and pleasure. Weekends are the busiest and the pools and surrounding area can seem very crowded. We recommend going during the week as you have more space to enjoy the amenities and the spa areas are quieter.
The grounds at Escondido Place consist of five bathing pools at varying temperatures. They are in different areas of the park and they seem to each have a unique personality and different groups of people gather there. For instance, there is one pool in the very back where there is usually pop music playing from someone’s bluetooth speaker and several people are enjoying beer from their coolers. In other more family-oriented pools, parents can hang out with their kids as they jump and play. None of the pools are deeper than four feet.
And then there are two grottos, one that is underground and stays pretty hot and the other is open air (except for the dome) and is cooler, but not cold. The hot spring fed pools are covered in arched brick, a technique although not uncommon in Mexico, takes great skill. The brick laid roof holds in the heat and creates a combo steam bath and hot tub all in one. The entrance and passages from one pool to another are very narrow. Anything to minimize heat loss. When the water is coming in from above, the force is so strong you can hardly stand in it but when you do its a great massage.
The outdoor grotto is similar in that you can move through narrow openings into another pool and it also features a dome at the end, but the temperature is not contained. It’s still fun feeling like you are swimming through caves.
On site, there is a hotel which is separated from the park but has full access to all of the pools. A restaurant with beer and cocktails serves a full food menu. At the restaurant we met a sweet cat that would go from table to table looking for food. Okay, it’s not uncommon in Mexico for strays to beg for food. It’s normal. Anyway, this cat (no bigger than a 6 mo. kitten) had at one time broken one of her front legs. She walked with a limp, her right front paw curled under. The last time we went, I made sure to save a little of the hamburger I’d ordered and sure enough, she showed up looking for a handout. And, the cat-lover that I am, obliged.
After we ran out of hamburger to give her, she let me give her a quick stroke before she limped off. I followed her behind a row of bushes where she slipped under a storage door. I then heard the mews of hungry kittens. I asked the waitress the cat’s name and she said Bagheera, you know, the black panther from Jungle Book. It made me feel a lot better knowing she had a name, that someone cared enough to at least give her that.
Anyway, enough of my animal ramblings…
You can’t go wrong spending a day at Escondido Place. It’s probably the most affordable of the hot springs and does allow you to bring your own cooler. There are a few grills and picnic tables where one can gather with friends for a cookout. It is especially popular among young couples! So if you’re in San Miguel, make sure you visit Escondido Place, wander from pool to pool, lay on lounge chairs and stare up into the sky. Take an entire day for relaxation and rest. The hot pools especially are very healing!