As our Mexican holiday season slowly draws to a close, the desire to be on the road again beckons. Our destination was to visit the source of El Molote hot springs, a rustic spot to enjoy an amazing soak in a natural setting without the hustle and bustle of commercial enterprises. The hot springs are located in a picturesque fertile valley where huge cabbages and other garden crops flourish. On this day, contrasting cultivation methods were at work with a team of horses pulling a cultivator and a motorized rototiller breaking sod, in the same field! Since our journey is as important as the destination, time was taken to photograph such events along the way.
A team of horses tilling – a rare sight today.
The 19th and 20th Century implements operating in the same field!
Gigantic cabbage patch visible from the roadside.
Following the road through the stream.
The narrow gravel road meanders through the valley crisscrossing a shallow stream toward the hot springs source. Reaching an open barren area, a slight sulfur odour and faint steam vapour cloud floats above the boiling bubbling hot waters. The source is a somewhat barren rocky area with the boiling water bubbling from the earth’s crust. Employing long handled barbecue tongs, eggs were placed in the hot bubbly water. Voilá, in 5-10 minutes we had hard boiled eggs ready for the lunch salad! In addition, prawns or other foods might further enhance the cooking adventure. After briefly exploring the area and dipping our toes in the nearby cool flowing stream, we returned a short distance to a warm shallow pool. Shade trees overhang the natural tranquil pool. The comfortable water’s temperature is an opportunity to soak away all tensions and stress allowing them to flow downstream. Do the waters contain healing powers as well?
The source of El Molote Hot Springs. Note the hot steam rising from the spring.
Our tailgate lunch.
Soon the stomach rumbles pulled us from a warm soak to a tailgate party of two. Others enjoyed lunch immersed in the pool, while some ate creek side. In the back of the Xterra and without chairs, Doreen and I stood enjoying the scrumptious outdoor lunch and the area’s quiet remoteness. (Remember to bring chairs.)
Friends enjoying the rustic setting and a relaxing afternoon soak.
Expect the unexpected! Sharing warm waters with locals, plus being interrupted by a cattle drive.
Drive past the busy swimming hole. With sixteen parked cars, it was a family fun Sunday afternoon.
After a return to the pool for a brief soak we packed up and bid farewell to the warm stream waters. A fantastic day drew to a close as we departed for our bumpy return drive to the highway and home to Los Ayala.
Fantastic, we made it!
Watch for the sign to El Molote.
Head north on Highway 200 towards Tepic. Stopping in Las Varas at Angelita’s Restaurant for breakfast is always enjoyable. Continue driving, watching for a green road sign listing three towns – “El Molote 6, El Salitre 7, Palos Maria 10.” The distance from the turnoff to El Molote hot springs is 8.29 km.
Turn left off Highway 200 following the gravel road to a junction. At 2.5 km, take the right branch which appears less travelled. Continue bumping past ranches and fields traversing through a wider stream bed with a low rock dam to your right. This is a favourite swimming spot for Mexican families to spend the day. Continue on, passing through the small town of El Molote. Drive through the town and take a right turn as you exit. An open field should be on your left and a basketball court on the right. Soon after, when crossing a creek, watch for a turn to the left. The turn is approximately 7.5 km from the highway. Going to the right or straight ahead will take you to Mesillas. The left turn road is rough gravel constituting a slow drive. A car with reasonable clearance should have little difficulty, although a 4×4 is best.
Very quickly, you’ll pass cultivated fields growing huge cabbages and other garden crops. Continue on following the road crisscrossing the flowing stream. When traversing the stream select a rocky route avoiding soft sandy areas. Watch for a shallow pool area on your right. Later, return to this spot for your soak. Coming to a barren open area look for the hot spring’s faint mists on the left and a stream on the right. Well done, you’ve arrived! Driving time from the highway will be 45-60 minutes. Use extreme caution if attempting to place food in the hot spring waters. Once you have explored this area return the short distance to the warm soaking pool to enjoy a relaxing immersion.
Fun to cook food in the boiling water, with caution!
by John and Doreen Berg
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