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Roadtripping La Huasteca Potosina – Mexico’s Unexpected Paradise 1º

So once we cross the border, we’re basically just gonna book it straight to your house, right?

If there was any part of Mexico that I was nervous about driving through, it was the north of the country upon crossing the border.  We all have heard about the instability & violence in border cities due to drug cartel activity, and I was looking to head south to Gio’s house in Mexico City as quickly as possible.

“No bebe!  Siempre he escuchado de un lugar se llama La Huasteca Potosina.  Se dice que es precioso, y me falta conocerlo.  Voy a planear todo, no te preocupes, ¡lo voy a solucionar!”

 

“No baby!  I’ve always heard about this place called La Huasteca Potosina,  They say that it’s precious, and I’ve never been.  I’m going to plan everything, don’t worry, I have it all worked out!”

It was time to trust the Mexican girlfriend.  And besides, I saw on the map that San Luis Potosi wasn’t too far north anyways, so I thought, ¿porque no?

la huasteca potosina

The state of San Luis Potosi. La Huasteca is the eastern region of the state – El estado de San Luis Potosí. La Huasteca se encuentra en el este del estado.

 

 

 

The 5 days we ended up spending in La Huasteca Potosina are still amongst my favorite spent in Mexico to date.  Everywhere we took the car we found more unique geological formations, ground-shaking waterfalls, tantalizing blue rivers, beckoning jungle-covered mountains, & smiling faces.

I’m not one for ranking places & stacking them against each other, but to give you an idea, I believe that this little corner of Mexico has more natural wonder packed into it than any part of Costa Rica that I’ve been to (aside from the beaches).  Add in the fact there are very few tourists and it’s half the price, and you nature lovers out there have something to seriously think about when planning your next vacation.

The downside with La Huasteca Potosina is that it’s lacking majorly in infrastructure, making it difficult to navigate around. To access some of these places & go at your own pace, you’ll need your own form of transport (I suggest renting a car & buying a Guia Roji map).

There is little information available, tours can be hard to find, and the roads are simply awful.  But that’s all part of the adventure, and in a day and age where all the good spots are quickly being swarmed by tourists & clogged with construction, La Huasteca Potosina can be refreshingly primitive.

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Typical road in La Huasteca Potosina – Típica calle en La Huasteca Potosina

 

Below I’ve included some more details & info on how to plan your own trip to visit these unforgettable places in La Huasteca Potosina.

La Media Luna

¿No pretenden ir a La Media Luna?  ¡Pues, tienen que ir!  Es un manantial natural y les queda en el camino hasta La Huasteca.  Llegan ahí antes de Rio Verde, no pueden perderlo, ¡es hermoso!

 

You guys don’t mean to go to La Media Luna?  Well, you have to go!  It’s a natural spring that’s on the way towards La Huasteca.  You’ll arrive there before Rio Verde, y’all can’t miss it, it’s gorgeous!

Our Couchsurfer in San Luis Pososi city imparted this last minute wisdom to Gio & I as we prepared to go off the grid for a few days in La Huasteca.  We had all of our destinations planned out already, but the sincerity in his eyes & our mantra to always “go with the flow,” especially when it’s a trusted local’s advice, convinced us to pencil in Media Luna as our first destination.

What resulted was one of those places that completely shattered my expectations that weren’t there to begin with.

Media Luna is hard to describe – it’s like it can’t figure out whether it wants to be a lake, a river, or a series of canals.  But one thing is for sure, it’s a lovely place to spend the day with friends and family, grill out & maybe even camp.

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Tip:  Did you know it’s possible to scuba dive this natural wonder? Check out Escuela de Buceo Media Luna.  As you can see in the video, there is another world on the bottom of this natural spring, and there have even been remains of wooly mammoths discovered in these crystal clear waters with visibility up to 20-30 meters.

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The Waterworld of Media Luna – El mundo debajo del agua en Media Luna

How to get there:  Located 140km due east of San Luis Potosi city.  Take Highway 70 towards Rio Verde for 126km (78 miles) to Ciudad Fernandez.  You’ll see the scuba dive center on the right, then turn down the dirt road parallel to the canal & follow it about 20 minutes, or roughly 9-10km (5-6 miles).  We got a bit confused because there were no signs & detours, but just keep following the canal and you should be alright!

ESSENTIAL INFO

Entrada (entrance fee): $40 pesos

Camping costs: $70 pesos per tent/day

Buceo (scuba diving) costs: $80 pesos

Scuba equipment rental: $300 pesos

Puente de Dios

Translated literally as the “bridge of God,” it was the opposite of Media Luna in that we had high hopes for this place after hearing quite a bit about it.

Located just outside of a little town called Tamasopo, an uphill drive then a short downhill hike brings you to a little slice of heaven on Earth.  Waterfalls gush from 180 degrees into a royal blue, sparkling pool.

la huasteca potosina - puente de dios

I bet you won’t cut a back flip! – ¡Te apuesto a que no te avientas y das una pirueta en el aire!

If you’re a fan of swimming, good luck keeping your pants on for longer than 30 seconds after laying eyes on this beauty.  Within moments, a pile of still warm clothes left on the rock, and some bubbles slowly floating to the surface were the only signs that I had ever been there.

Maybe the most unique part of Puente de Dios lies in the corner of the pool where the current gushes up against the rock.  Look closely and you’ll see a small opening in the rock just big enough to slide through.  We swam & splashed like ecstatic kids for an hour before noticing it, but when we finally doggy-paddled on over and through the slot, we entered into a whole new world.

With a few blinks to ward off the darkness,our eyes quickly adjusted to reveal that we were in fact swimming through a glimmering blue cavern.  The light comes from the bottom up through the water to illuminate the entire cave.  It’s this unique, natural formation that is the actual Puente de Dios, and yes, it is divine.

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Entering the cave – Entrando en la cueva

You can swim through and come out on the other side farther down river, but be prepared for strong currents coming back!  Make sure & use the ropes that are put in place for stability and you’ll be fine.

Tip:  For me, there’s no greater swimming buzzkill than to be forced to wear a life jacket, especially when they’re those old, moldy & lumpy orange life jackets that look like they haven’t evolved since the days of the Titanic.  All the signs here say that swimming with a lifejacket is mandatory, but you should just ignore them like we did.  No one ever said anything, and we had an awesome, unrestricted splash about for the ages.

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The rules of Puente de Dios – Las reglas del Puente de Dios

How to get there:  Take highway 70 from Rio Verde east for 72km (45m) or so, before taking the exit for Tamasopo (you’ll see a giant, Hollywood-style, hill-top Tamasopo sign on your left).  After paying the caseta (toll), follow the road all the way down the mountain and into town, then take a left on Miguel Hidalgo before turning right on Francisco Villa.  Keep going up the mountain & practicing your Spanish directional skills with a few “¿Dónde está el Puente de Dios? or ¿Como llego a Puente de Dios?” and you’ll arrive there in about 5 minutes.  You know you’re getting close when you pass the giant Viagra sign lol.

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Viagra: Natural sugar for diabetics!!!??

 

ESSENTIAL INFO

Entrance fee: $40 pesos

Parking fee (if you bring your own car):  $20 pesos

Camping fee:  $0 if you camp in the field on the left after you reach the little community at the top of the hill near the entrance to Puente de Dios.  If you can’t find this field specifically, I’m willing to bet that any of these easy-going folks would let you set up camp on their farm land.  Try out some Spanish phrases like:

Somos mochileros y no tenemos mucho presupuesto, entonces ¿nos preguntamos si podrían dejarnos acampar aquí por la noche por favor?  No haremos fogata, ni tirar basura.  Somos buena onda, y ¡se lo agradeceríamos mucho!

 

We are backpackers and don’t have much of a budget, so we were wondering if you all could let us camp here for the night please?  We won’t build a fire, nor litter.  We’re good people, and we would really appreciate it!

Cascadas de Tamasopo

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If y’all couldn’t already tell, I’m a big fan of waterfalls.  Since I was a kid, my family would always go on hikes in the woods and “collect waterfalls” (as my mom put it).  I even grew up with a 186 footer (57m) about a mile from my house in Georgia!

I find it rare that any sort of significant waterfall is located within a populated area (town, city, etc.), but Las Cascadas de Tamasopo break the mold in that they are located smack dab in the middle of town!

There are 4-6 gorgeous cascades ranging from about 40-60 feet (15-20m) in height that spill down into alluring blue swimming pools with rope swings and everything!  These swimming areas don’t have the strong currents that Puente de Dios does, so I’d say it’s much more family friendly here.  There are also various restaurants, bars, and picnic areas to accommodate the whole gang.

Tip:  Being located right in town, it’s an obvious choice for the people of Tamasopo & surrounding communities to come spend their Saturdays & Sundays with the family here. Do yourself a favor & visit on a weekday like we did.  We were pretty much the only people there, but with all the empty restaurants & commons areas, it was apparent that the place gets pretty crowded.

la huasteca potosina - cascadas de tamasopo

A hanging bridge at the waterfalls – Puente colgante en las cascadas

How to get there:  Head back down the mountain from Puente de Dios, through Tamasopo & head out of town towards Agua Buena.  You’ll see the turn off for the Cascadas de Tamasopo after a few hundred meters on the left.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Entrada: $40 pesos

Parking fee:  I don’t know – when they tried to charge us, we parked on the side of the street in front of the school fo’ free.

Go: On a weekday! (as mentioned above)

La Huasteca Potosina – ¡Vívelo Para Creerlo!

We spent 5 days roadtripping all over La Huasteca Potosina, but just barely scratched the surface of this extraordinary & still largely undiscovered corner of Mexico!

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Detailed map of La Huasteca Potosina (click to enlarge) – Mapa detallado de La Huasteca Potosina (haz clic para expandir)

We only saw a few of these many points of interest.  But even so, we ended up with so much footage that we had to break it up into 2 posts/articles.

Stay tuned for Part 2 which will feature another handful of magical areas in La Huasteca Potosina, including an surrealistic labyrinth in the middle of the jungle, a 1,000ft deep open air pit-cave, and perhaps the most spectacular waterfall of them all.

For lovers of nature and/or “getting off the beaten path,” I couldn’t recommend La Huasteca Potosina more!  With a little bit of knowledge & a map, renting or driving your own car is without a doubt the best way to explore it, but if you’d like more information on how to book tours – check out the Huaxteca website for pricier options.

Have you ever been to La Huasteca Potosina?  Would you like to go?  Let me know if you have any more questions about how to explore this amazing place.  

 

3 thoughts on “Roadtripping La Huasteca Potosina – Mexico’s Unexpected Paradise 1º

  1. Ben Madison

    Che, muchísimas gracias por tu ayuda en describir lo magnífico que es la region. Busqué demasiado en Google para información sobre los costos, las detalles, todo.
    Voy con mi novia mexicana para hacer lo mismo….ojalá que sea una experiencia como la tuya.
    Donde está la parte 2?

    1. fordquarterman Post author

      Me alegro escuchar que te haya ayudado. Es una zona maravillosa. La parte 2 nunca salió porque mi novia y yo cortamos jaja, así que no me daba las ganas de publicarlo! Pero váyanse a La Cascada Tamul! Vale la pena conocerla de arriba de caminata y abajo en lancha. Y a sótano de los golondrinas!

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