I used to avoid balnearios (public swimming pools) with a passion, but recently I was invited to join a team of University of Guadalajara geographers investigating all of the hot springs around the old Primavera Caldera. To my surprise, I discovered that some balnearios have more to offer than noisy boomboxes and screaming kids.
Last week we took a look at two hot springs near the town of San Isidro Mazatepec, which is located 25 kilometers southwest of Guadalajara and 32 kilometers northwest of Jocotepec, along the four-lane Circuito Metropolitano Sur.
Mazatepec lies north of the highway, but if you drive south only 545 meters, towards the little town of San Antonio, you´ll see a small sign announcing “Aguas termales.” Turn left and in a minute you’ll find yourself at Rio Escondido, a balneario which has several nice-looking pools with tepid water that comes from a 50-meter-deep well. The admission fee is only 40 pesos for adults and on a weekday you are likely to be swimming there all alone, whereas on a Sunday you’d be bumping elbows with 300 others.
The surprise at Rio Escondido came when the caretaker invited us to look at their bungalows, which are located nice and far from the balneario area.
We walked through a gateway into an elegant place called Luna Aqua Villas. Here we found 25 truly attractive villas grouped around a large, stylish swimming pool. The villas are modern, immaculately clean and fully furnished with a kitchenette, blender, microwave, large fridge, TV with Sky and the nicest-looking bathrooms I’ve seen in years. The place even has a bar and a jacuzzi and looks like a perfect spot to hold a meeting or a reunion. The small villas (for up to four people) rent for 1,850 pesos per night Monday to Thursday. As for boomboxes, the caretaker says the place is dead quiet on weekdays and even on weekends you can count on “silencio total” after 10 p.m.