As I slipped into the hot tub I thought to myself, Why do I feel like I haven’t been in hot water for a long time? Then I remembered the hot water in our shower remains hot for a maximum of 35 seconds. I’ve started soaping myself up before turning on the water: it’s a strange sensation.
Out in the wilds of the Sierra Madre mountains, north of Sayulita, Rincon and La Penita, someone has gone to the trouble of building 20-something tubs and pumping them full boiling water from a nearby hot spring. This is the first hot spring I’ve visited with a complete absence of sulfur stench. I’d recommend bringing along some coals, liquid fire gel, and meats. Grills have been constructed from brick and concrete. Also, bring more beer than you think you’ll need. There is no such thing as too much beer at the hot springs.
On the day we visited a young man was using a mule to haul sand from lower ground to the car park. As he had a lighter load on the return journey Jo-Roxy made sure the mule was staying in shape.
I believe the name of these hot springs is Aguas Termales de Nuevo Lxtlan, but I think mostly they are referred to as the hot springs close to Alta Vista. From Sayulita the drive was about an hour and a half. The road is in decent condition but a car with clearance is recommended. I first visited in our VW Passat and probably wouldn’t do that again, luckily this time we enlisted our friends Zoe and Leyland and their huge car.
DIRECTIONS FROM SAYULITA / PUERTO VALLARTA to HOT SPRINGS:
Driving north on the 200 keep an eye out for kilometer marker 82. This is not long after La Peñita de Jaltemba. I’ve created a gMap below to help you find the turn, which is the most difficult part of the journey to navigate. From here no mapping technology can help you. I have devised a simple rule: stay to the right. 20 minutes after leaving the highway you should encounter a small corner store, stay to the right. 20 minutes later, you will find the small village of La Cucaracha, stay to the right. You should arrive at a sign for the hot springs 15 minutes later.
The only time you should be turning left is at the sign for the hot springs themselves. Don’t be surprised when the kilometer mentioned on the sign feels and probably is more like 5. If you are feeling lost at any time, just ask any of the friendly locals if you are on the right path. I got the feeling it’s a question they get all the time.