At only 82 kilometers from Toluca in State of Mexico, we find an ancient mazantlica town famous in the region for its spas and hot springs: Ixtapan de la Sal, a destination that in its Nahuatl name reveals part of its past and at the same time, one of its main tourist attractions. Ixtapan means on the white, referring to the salt deposits that were once exploited for trade in the region between indigenous people in the era of New Spain.
This place, surrounded by lush vegetation and mild climate is the same place where a group of Indians from the Pacific coast, on the way to Tenochtitlan in the year 1394, found hot springs that flowed generously. Those were the first settlers on record, maintaining the exploitation of saline resources until the imminent arrival of the Spanish under the command of Andrés de Tapia. It is said that during the pre-Hispanic times this place was visited by the great lords, who came to strengthen the body and spirit in the hot springs of the place, which contain medicinal properties that help relax the nervous system and would enhance the treatment of some types of arthritis and bone fractures. The waters of the 8 springs maintain an average temperature of 39ºC and more than 600 years later makes Ixtapan the favorite destination for families in the region who come to have fun or to spend their days off.
Ixtapan Water Park, for example, includes all the amenities you can imagine: water slides, river, lake with pedal boats and oars, and a comforting thermal pool, which is covered to maintain the temperature better. It also has an area of extreme fun, a large playground with wading pool, pirate ship, waterslide and also a game area with balls for the pool, jumping, tunnels and networks. And of course, one can’t miss the picnic area for organizing family retreats with a barbecue, or perhaps enjoy the service of a restaurant. And after a day of fun, how about a massage? Ixtapan Aquatic Park Service has a spa, which offers relaxing massages, healing therapies and innovative beauty treatments in its magical hot springs.
Another option is to swim at the Ixtapan Municipal Spa, located in the heart of the city, which also offers pools and slides, plus a space for the application of mud, and offers services such as massages and mud masks.
And extreme sports also have a place in this destination! Paragliding, rappelling, mountain tours on motorcycles and a chance to practice cross country, freeride and downhill. Or how about playing a round of 18 holes? The Grand Reserve Golf Resort & Country Club is the choice, which also features a beautiful hotel and tennis courts, cycling routes, a fishing lake, a recreational lake, spa and, of course, an equestrian club with 5 kilometers of horseback riding trails.
Walking through the center of the city is very pleasant as we can enjoy its narrow cobblestone streets and appreciate the Parish of the Assumption, built in the mid-sixteenth century, whose main entrance is an example of Plateresque which means the manner of the silversmith. Every Sunday we can stroll through the craft and food markets or simply sit and watch the people go by and the town wake up, which still retains the atmosphere of a typical Mexican town, with brick houses and red tile roofs, yet has the advantage of a first class tourist infrastructure.
In the village of Tonatico, 5 minutes of Ixtapan, visitors find the Caves of the Star located on the edge of the depression of the Balsas River, at the mouth of the underground rivers, Chontalcuatlan and St. Jerome. The entrance, at the foot of a cliff in the canyon of Zapote, invites us on a tour through caverns and galleries with extraordinary views and landscapes: an underground river that rushes into 3 waterfalls, a canyon, and a cliff which visitors arrive at after crossing a bridge and seeing the silent figures of stalactites that have been shaped by a millennia of water filtration. In the nasal site of 2km in length, were found several pre-Hispanic objects which suggest to experts that this site served as a shrine to Tlaloc, the god of rain.
And if nature inspires desire for adventure, do not forget to experience the excitement of one of the tours that are organized between February and April, through the underground rivers, lasting approximately 3 hours. We recommend visiting the apiary, where you can learn all about bees and the honey production process, from extraction to packaging, or visit the town of Ahuacatitlán, "Place between the Avocados," which an ancient building revealing the past of this magnificent place.
Mexican land of carved wood crafts, glazed pottery and knitting, where fun, health and relaxation are available to all who wish to reach Ixtapan de la Sal, one destination of Travel By Mexico, the site of Mexico in the world.