Agua Blanca Nature Resort in Michoacan, Mexico

Some hotels are places you stay near a travel destination. In a resort like Agua Blanca, however, the hotel itself is the destination. Come stay here to get into nature and enjoy 75 acres of land to explore with a river, waterfall, and hot springs. 

Agua Blanca hot springs resort Michoacan

Agua Blanca nature resort has been around for more than a decade as a lodging enterprise, but for more than 80 years it has been a hot springs spa in the mountains of Michoacan in Mexico. It’s not all that close to anything, but is within a few hours’ drive of several Mexican cities: Morelia, Queretaro, and the capital. It gets visitors traveling between Valle del Bravo and Morelia, as well as those who are visiting the El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary, one to two hours away depending on traffic and road conditions. 

There are closer places to stay if you are coming to see swarms of butterflies during the monarch migration season of November through March each year. You can choose from plenty of small hotels in Angangueo, for instance, or the town of Manzana de San Luis.

There’s nothing in either spot that compares to Agua Blanca resort though, with its extensive grounds and relaxing location far from noise and bustle. 

Facilities and Activities at Agua Blanca

Mexican hot springs near the monarch butterfly sanctuary

Many guests are only here for a night, which is a shame considering all there is to enjoy and explore. Near the rooms are the hot springs, which are more like warm pools than the scalding springs you’ll find in some more volcanic sites. There are lounge chairs around them for relaxing in the sun.

There’s a spa on site if you need a massage after climbing up past 9,000 feet to see the butterflies in their natural habitat. 

It’s worth taking some time to explore the extensive grounds, however, where there are lots of hidden treasures around corners and down steps. There’s a rudimentary outdoor gym that has some free weights and a boxing bag, a temazcal (sweat lodge) that requires advance reservations, and a cool plunge pool at the bottom of a cliff that is next to two hammocks with a view. 

Agua Blanca grounds in Michoacan

Paths lead past an exposed cavern showing its old stalactites and big tree roots coming down the rocks. A waterfall cascades down one steep section, the stream ending in a river filled with boulders.

My group went on a canyoning hike down that river, rock-hopping and looking for the best routes across the water. It was a good workout with a local guide. 

Birdwatchers will find plenty to look for in this area and the various levels of the resort grounds offer chances to get even with the canopy in some spots. Area spottings include red-tailed hawks, indigo buntings, goldfinches, pygmy owls, and orioles. 

Dining With Your Group

Meals here are served buffet style and there are only four or five items, so the dining experience is probably not what you’re going to remember about this resort. There’s generally one main dish, several sides, and rice or beans. Tables are set up by group size depending on how the reservations were made, so if you’re a couple you’ll have a table for two; if you came with a group, you’ll have a designated table of that size. 

It’s all dished out with a minimum of service and a rush to get finished at the designated time. If you have special dietary needs, relay those in advance. The vegetarians in our group didn’t have much to choose from. 

You might want to bring some snacks along too as there’s no store to buy them here. (Just local jam for sale.) There is a full bar, however, housed in a separate open-air building with a billiard table and a foosball table, decorated with local masks from Michoacan. A big caged area has colorful parakeets inside. 

Agua Blanca lobby

The lobby area here is inviting and if the weather is not great for exploring the outdoors, you’ll find plenty of diversions here. There are board games, books in multiple languages, and one computer with a printer. 

Agua Blanca Rooms

Rooms here are situated in a row facing the lawn, all similar with one or two beds, a sitting area outside the door, and a closet big enough to walk into. They are decorated with local crafts and textiles and have a lot of color splashes. 

mountain resort with hot springs in Michoacan, Mexico

Baths have basic toiletries but you’ll have to trek up to the front desk to borrow a hair dryer. Beds are comfortable and there’s a double outlet behind the end table for recharging your gadgets. Water runs through the property in a channel outside the rooms, which adds a nice white noise element to help you get to sleep in this quiet and secluded location. 

I can’t really speak to the reach of the Wi-Fi because it only worked for about a half hour when we first arrived and then it was off for the rest of our stay. When I asked a staffer at the front desk what was wrong—in Spanish—I only got a shrug. Speaking of that, you may want to load a language app on your phone: none of the staffers spoke English, even though most of the guests were foreigners when we stayed. 

On the plus side, this is a more sustainable operation than you’ll find in most of North America. Solar hot water heaters and filtered drinking water are the most obvious signs for guests, but all food waste goes to the compost pile to feed the plants and there’s a natural wetlands area to recycle gray water. 

Booking a Stay

As best I can tell, you need to book direct with the hotel to stay here: they’re not listed on any of the booking sites. Thankfully the website is more fluent than the staffers, offered in both English and Spanish. 

Rates at Agua Blanca in Michoacan are reasonable, running $206 to $230 double with all meals and taxes included. Children up to 11 are $50 to $63 per person. Book your stay here

Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel. He was hosted at Agua Blanca for one night as part of an Adventure Travel Mexico conference tour of Michoacan state. As always, all opinions are his own. 

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