"Mexico" Mike - Ex-media spokesman, Mexico Tourism Ministry. Named Mexico expert by NY Times, Wall Street Journal, TX Monthly, Guardian (UK), Mexico City News, Atención (San Miguel de Allende), Irish Times
Halfway between Monterrey & Saltillo are two unlikely hot springs - one a poor cousin and the other a rich relation. One is a fancy spa and the other is a primitive hot spring. Villa Garcia, Nuevo Leon is the closest town. These two springs sit on the border between Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, between the villages of Icamole and Paredon. The Hotel San Joaquin is a luxury resort which may not allow day visitors to use their mineral water pool. Nearby (on the same road) is a humble balneario which will welcome you to soak in their hot springs mineral water. Though not on the mineral content below, I swear I smelled sulfer (no brimstone) so I am sticking with my experience. There is a mild sulfur content, so they should be good for psoriasis.
I was the first travel writer to publicize them, having discovered them only by my diligence and perseverance. I was invited to help San Joaquin to develop their spa, but management changed before I could go and they limped along without my help. From what I gather, their "spa" is only active on weekends and is mainly filled with people from Monterrey.
This northern Mexico hot spring hotel and spa is reminiscent of Ixtapan de la Sal balneario in the state of Mexico. Both of these mineral water pools are like Roman spas. Since Ixtapan de la Sal Spa no longer has mineral waters on the premises (the pools are next door in the public balneario), San Joaquin is one of the very few first-class hotel/spas with mineral waters in Mexico. San Joaquin is definitely the most luxurious. You will have to search for their web site as it was down the last time I checked.
Should they be in business, my own experience with the management was that they were feeling their way and until I personally see the operation, am suspect of the quality of any spa they operate. Customer service is very important in a spa. The hotel is owned by one of the richest families in Mexico, owners of the convention center. But that does not mean they know how to operate a hotel. So I am putting this information here as a service to hot springs lovers, but with a caveat that I cannot recommend them since I have not seen the spa in operation. My visit was unplanned and they were not ready for guests when I was there.
The balneario nearby is a typical simple bathing facility and just as hot. For a hotel, you'll have to return to Saltillo or Monterrey.
Here is another caveat - I was invited to advise them on the building of the spa, but was told that the owners had changed their minds on the spa project, so I do not know if the spa actually exists yet. The hotel and restaurant and hot springs are there, yes. I saw them and soaked in them. My pictures are below. But I cannot swear to the spa part and since I have a reputation for being truthful, will not recommend a spa if i have not seen it.
Fortunately, there is an inexpensive balneario nearby. At the road where you turn off the highway to San Joaquin, just keep going straight past it to the balneario. Same water, much less money.
The hot springs at San Joaquin are between 40 and 44 degrees Celsius or between 104 and 111.2 Fahrenheit. The underground location with arched brickwork and stained glass skylights along with the nearly steam room conditions make it seem a perfect hot spring experience. We saw steam rising from the water and Nicki felt the presence of a Native shaman welcoming her to the springs. Unlike me, she is a very practical person, so there must be some powerful and benevolent spirits there.
San Joaquin is a five-star hotel, with rack rates of around $200 a night (double, plus tax) which includes breakfast, dinner and unlimited admission to the underground hot springs. You can visit the hot springs only for about $20. Saltillo, Coahuila, is about 2 hours from here. There are petroglyphs in Mina.
There is a public balneario farther down the road (south) from the entrance to the spa. Admission there is a few bucks.
|Temp. (C) (F)||40-44 C or 104-111 F||Magnesium||82.841|
|Iron||0.103||TDS (Tot. Dissolved Solids)||2810|