The hot mineral water is discharged through a number of springs that divert the flow through man-made aqueducts into rock and concrete pools. The hot springs were used by indigenous people for many years before European and other settlers arrived.
Winter, spring, and fall are the best times of year to go. Winter is particularly nice as the mildly cool temperature will make the hot springs feel all the better. In spring, expect lots of flowers and full flowing waterfalls. Summer is the worst time of year to go as Laguna Salada can get up to 50°C (120°F) making for less than enjoyable hot spring weather.
Getting to Canyon de Guadalupe is not an easy task (which is one of the reasons it is so much fun). Four-wheel-drive and high clearance is recommended, it is difficult to get to the oasis without it. You will need to enter Mexico from either Tijuana, Tecate, or Mexicali.
After entering the Laguna Salada section of the freeway there will be a very large clearly marked freeway sign indicating the dirt road that leads to Canyon de Guadalupe. It is a 50-km (30-mile) journey on a decent dirt road to get to the canyon. The last 8 km (5 miles) heading up into the canyon are the most difficult. Drive straight until you come to the enormous olive plantation, immediately at the end of the olive plantation is a small sign indicating a gentle right hand turn. Follow this road straight to the canyon.
Once at the canyon, you can park your car in the palm tree grove and hike throughout the canyon.
- Indian petroglyphs
- Relax in your own private geothermal hot springs tubs
- Hike up the canyon
- Swim in the deep pools and enjoy the 7 different waterfalls
- Rock climb
- Enjoy a natural mud bath
- Fish in 1 of the 2 ponds
- Mountain bike the trails to your heart's content
- The canyon has a small store where you can purchase limited supplies and special skin nourishing, sulfur filled mud that is packaged straight from the nutrient rich land.
You'll want to bring your own supply of food and water. There are barbecue grills, picnic tables, and palapas (shade coverings) provided at each campsite for a comfortable cooking experience.
Bring plenty of water, particularly if you are traveling in the summer months as you'll be crossing the wide open desert.
- Guadalupe Canyon Oasis (Formally, Campo El Palmar), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. They have a cheaper "eco-camping" option (shared tub instead of private) for US$15/night. Weekend rates are more expensive than weekdays. They prefer advance reservations through their website. Each campsite comes with a private hot tub, a barbecue grill, palapas for shade, trash cans, picnic tables and room to pitch your tents and park your vehicles. The campsites are all unique, and can accommodate various group sizes. From US$35.
You can either drive out the way you came in, or attempt the route south to San Felipe. The latter is a difficult road that is not clearly marked leading through dessert ghost towns. If you go this route, have one of the campground attendants draw you a very detailed map and bring a GPS.