If ever there was an actual enchanted forest, a fairy tale come-to-life, or a wonderland in which fantasy and reality merge, it would be La Huasteca. La Huasteca Potosina is a lush forested region that spans the eastern half of the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. It is filled with rivers, lagoons, springs, waterfalls, and giant canyons. Not only is this a region of lush green forest and cool, refreshing waters, but the color of the water in all of its forms is the brightest turquoise I have ever seen in nature. The best part about all of this is that there is very little tourism in this region, so all of these natural wonders are often capable of being explored completely on your own. Additionally, a lot of my favorite waterfalls are on land owned by local families that have cleared areas and built sanitary facilities for camping so you can sleep under the stars and wake up to the sounds of magnificent waterfalls flowing into rushing turquoise waters. Here are some of my favorite places to visit in La Huasteca Potosina.
There are dozens of waterfalls in la Huasteca and they are spread out over hundreds of kilometers so I would recommend renting a car to be able to visit as many as you can. You can either rent a hotel in Ciudad Valles and make day trips or bring a tent to pitch as most of the waterfalls offer camping for a low price. If you cannot rent a car, there are buses and micro-buses that can take you to the most famous waterfalls, however, if you want to go to lesser-known waterfalls you will likely have to walk fairly long distances.
Every waterfall is different and many of them have guided tours that are well worth buying. One of them is Micos. Las cascadas de Micos (cascada means waterfall) are a series of tiered waterfalls that flow into large pools. You do not have to have a guide, but for safety sake, I highly recommend one if you would like to go waterfall hopping. Guides will lead you to the very top of the mountain from which Micos begins and you quite literally jump through each waterfall from pool to pool, all the way down the mountain. Some of the jumps are really long and guides require you to wear a life jacket and helmet for your safety giving a bit of cushion for your fall, a safeguard against hidden boulders, and the peace of mind to have the time of your life.
Cascada Tamul is an enormous waterfall that can only be witnessed at a distance, and unless you bring your own raft, you must purchase a guided raft trip along a turquoise blue river to come upon this massive waterfall in all of its glory. The tours for this waterfall are wonderful as you will stop along the way to swim in giant caves and drink fresh spring water trickling down the sides of massive canyons surrounding the river.
Perhaps the most popular waterfalls in the region are Puente de Dios and Tamasopo. These waterfalls are located within a large national park with hiking trails and picnicking spots. Puente de Dios which means “bridge of the gods” is a massive waterfall that flows over 360 degrees of boulders into a turbulent cauldron-like pool. There are wooden bridges that pass among the boulders so you can witness the waterfall from different angles and then follow the flow of water downriver where you can boulder hop over the river’s rapids. Las cascadas de Tamasopo are three different waterfalls that flow into different deep pools. These are excellent for swimming and there have been diving platforms and rope swings built for more extreme outdoor activities. There are plenty of shady grassy knolls and picnic tables to spend a fun-filled and relaxing day at Tamasopo.
Las cascadas de Minas Viejas are my favorite waterfalls because they are remote, and located on private land nestled into la huasteca’s beautiful hill country. There are swarms of red and blue butterflies in the path that leads up through the hills towards these waterfalls, giving them a mythical aura. The falls themselves are magnificent with a giant turquoise pool that flows into a wide river with rapids that you can body surf. The entrance fee is minimal and they allow camping.
In the middle of the region’s second largest town Rio Verde lies a giant lagoon called Manantial la Media Luna. This is a giant swimming hole surrounded by trees and is a local favorite. The entrance fee is very reasonable, as all fees in the region are due to a lack of outside travelers. I highly recommend spending a day at la Media Luna before venturing deeper into la Huasteca.
El Sotano de las Golondrinas is a very deep open-pit inhabited by a population of swallows that descend into the pit’s abyss in collective free-falling dives at around 100 kilometers per hour. This can be witnessed around sunset and is an awe-inspiring sight. There are also professional climbers and daredevils who repel into the depths of the well as an extreme sport, however, it is highly dangerous and requires proper permission and licensing.
La Huasteca is a natural wonderland full of magical places to explore often times unencumbered by massive crowds of tourists you might find in more popular coastal regions. For the best climate and most vibrant turquoise colored waters, I recommend visiting la Huasteca from October to December, or from January to March.
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