“I want to take my grandchildren to a swimming hole this Saturday,” said my neighbor Richard. “Where can we go?”
“How about a swimming hole with a geyser bubbling out of it?” I replied.
As Richard is a geologist, I was not surprised to see his eyes pop. “Actually, there are about 14 geysers at this place and there are both hot and cold swimming holes and pools,” I continued. “I have a feeling you will like it just as much as your grandkids.”
The geysers are at a recreational area called Parque Ecológico Los Hervores, located 42 kilometers north of Guadalajara between the towns of San Cristóbal de la Barranca and Teúl.
I had first learned of this park from its Facebook page, which I immediately checked to make sure the place was still accessible.
To my surprise, I found not a single new post since 2017. Oops, I thought, maybe the road got washed away, as happens now and then in Mexico. I immediately tried telephoning and texting the owner of the place, but to no avail.
“Sorry,” I told Richard. “Looks like we’ll have to swim at the gloriously beautiful Comala Falls instead.”
But then I did a search on YouTube and found a recent video showing people having fun at Los Hervores. The video came from the Municipal Tourism Department of San Cristóbal. So I sent them a message, never expecting to get an answer.
To my great surprise, I got a reply within one minute: “Of course this park is open. Esperemos lo disfrute – we hope you enjoy it.”
The following Saturday, off we went, following Highway 23 through the staggeringly beautiful canyon north of Tesistán. After skirting San Cristóbal, we came to the turn off for the Patitos(Little Ducks) River. While this road is almost all paved, some parts of it are half covered with rockfall while others are more pothole than pavement.
Nevertheless, we quickly and easily reached the park, whose gates were wide open. The owner, Don Roberto Castro, however, was nowhere to be seen.
We parked and started walking toward what used to be the tallest of the geysers. To our surprise, it seemed to be gone, but bubbles surfacing in the river indicated it had not entirely vanished.
Just beyond this point, we found a big, beautiful blue footbridge spanning the river. This had not been there two years ago. Of course we crossed it and found ourselves at the edge of a large swimming hole. As the water was just the perfect temperature for bathing, we all jumped in and were soon congregated at the far end of the pool, where a sort of rocky knob, covered with colorful minerals, protruded from the water. Squirting out of the top of it was a mini geyser. Soon our feet discovered other little springs of hot water underfoot.
The owner of this place appeared after an hour or so. Don Cuco Sandoval told us it took “every centavo I’ve got” to design and build the bridge. He also has a shady area for camping on his property, which you can reach by road without entering Parque Los Hervores.
Upon returning to our cars, we found Don Roberto waiting for us. He told us he had not responded to my calls and texts because he had dropped his cell phone into one of his pools! Fortunately, it was not one of the really hot ones and he hopes the phone may one day dry out.
Meanwhile, Don Cuco’s phone is working. Call him at 331-388-3210. His Facebook page also seems to be working. Look for “Balneario y Terraza Los Geisers.”
To reach these wonderful pools on the Patitos River, ask Google maps to take you to “Campamento Huixtlán.” That isn’t the right name at all, but that will bring you directly to Don Roberto’s Parque Ecológico Los Hervores. Driving time is about one hour and 15 minutes from the Guadalajara Periférico and 2.5 hours from Ajijic.