Shortly before sunrise, roosters crowed in the cobbled streets.
In front of the public bath in Mexico, regular visitors were waiting for the opening.
Ixtapan de la Sal
It takes two hours from the Terminal Poniente (Observatorio) in Mexico City to Ixtapan de la Sal, through an intercity bus (Flecha Roja).
Ixtapan de la Sa is listed in the Pueblos Mágicos, which is an initiative led by Mexico's Secretariat of Tourism, to promote a series of towns around the country that offer visitors a "magical" experience.
The word Ixtapan comes from Nahuatl; iztal means salt, and pan means over or in.
The phrase de la Sal is Spanish for of salt.
The name of the city itself means the mineral springs that contain rich in salt.
Public bath in downtown
Out of several spa facilities, Balneario Municipal (Municipal Bathhouse) is the one located nearest to Centro.
The place is usually crowded during the daytime hours, without relaxation in tranquility.
Today I tried entering as soon as the doors open (pictures outside were taken later).
At 6am, I went into inside, with eight visitors waiting.
The entrance fee was 80 pesos, which allows the use of a locker room.
There were no tourists and families.
As regular visitors, they changed clothes and dipped in the water in a short minute.
A staff in the bathroom assigned my locker room to use, which was one of the small rooms located along the four walls.
A locker room could be locked from inside, but not from outside.
After changing to the swimsuit, I confirmed the position of the room in order to keep out thieves.
The bathroom was darkish, with only a searchlight in a corner.
During the time without sunshine, it had a quaint feel.
Hot tubs were divided into five, being coated with mineral deposits.
Fresh hot springs water was provided into the two circular tubs, and the center pool received the overflowed water.
Water in the pool was lukewarm, and the depth was for swimming.
The two semicircular tubs were as tepid as the center pool, but shallow enough to soak.
From the second floor, I could see the difference in colors per tub, due to the different degree of oxidation.
The amount of hot springs water provided could be recognized by seeing the overflowed water from the circular tub to the center pool.
Considering the small size of the tub, the water seemed to maintain freshness to some extent.
The water in the circular tub was around 100 degrees F, not so hot.
However, due to the contained materials rich in salt, my body became warm from the inside.
It was no doubt great nature of the spring.
At 7am, more and more people came in.
Like other spa facilities in Mexico, it is true that the place becomes just another warm swimming pool during the daytime hours.
On the other hand, hot springs geeks will satisfy the quality of the water and relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom, when they choose the appropriate time.
Try it in the early morning!
Balneario Municipal "El Bañito", Ixtapan de la Sal, México, Mexico
Rule: Clothing required
Chlorination: Not detected
Water temp: Up to 100 degrees F