Why is San Luis Potosi one of the top states in Mexico?
July 14, 2021
After leaving Guadalajara behind, I invested a little time in researching the best way to get to San Luis Potosi. This is one of the states that lies a little further north and is therefore a little off the popular backpacker routes for many tourists. On the one hand, this has the advantage that there are few foreign tourists, but on the other hand, it has the disadvantage that almost all tours are only offered in Spanish or you have to organise them yourself. Since the latter is of course the cheaper and also much more adventurous option, I opted for self-organised tours. I chose Ciudad Valles as the central starting point for the tours, where my hostel was also located. Which was definitely the right choice!
After arriving sleepy on the night bus from Guadalajara in Ciudad Valles, I searched Google Maps for the best cafe. Unfortunately, Ciudad Valles isn’t very big, but I was able to find a cafe that was rated excellent and was supposed to open at 8am. When I got there shortly after 8 with my huge backpack, I got the shocking news… it looked like it was still closed! Ok, so I went to the hostel and tried to check in a little earlier. After I was allowed to do that successfully, I wanted my coffee! Back to the cafe at 09:15 and… it was still closed! A bit sad, because it was the only cafe with a good rating, I wrote to them directly on Facebook to ask if they would open today. And lo and behold… 5 minutes later it opened haha. Of course, the espresso machine wasn’t preheated yet, so I talked shop with the owner for a while. Chuy, the owner of the cute café, used the next few minutes to inform me extensively about all the sights in La Huasteca (the area around San Luis Potosi) and drew me a plan with day trips I should definitely do. He also put me in Whatsapp contact with one of his friends who offers tours (but unfortunately didn’t have any at the moment because of the few tourists) and one of his friends who rents cars. The cafe is called “Ananda barra de Cafe”… and over the next few days, when I wasn’t on a tour in the area, I was more or less always visiting! I was introduced to a number of new friends who stopped by daily for a coffee. And it was really great! The cappuccino is outstanding by the way!!! To find such an excellent espresso as well as this consistency of milk foam in a town like Ciudad Valles was a bit of a miracle. In the end, I was there for a whole week and besides the great food recommendations Chuy and his friends gave me, I was really on the road every day and fell into bed exhausted in the evening if I didn’t have a cappuccino after 8pm…
After this short intro, let’s get to what’s really great! First of all, I have to say that San Luis Potosi is one of the most beautiful states in Mexico. This nature with its waterfalls, crystal clear water and jungle is simply amazing! My first self-organised day trip took me to the gardens of Edward James. A man who inherited a lot of money from his father in the 20th century and, as a multi-millionaire, thought to have a small paradise of abstract artworks built here in the middle of the jungle on the edge of a dreamlike waterfall. Edward James loved to travel and sent postcards from his travels to his workers here in Mexico to have the artworks built in his absence. He himself lived here in an interesting structure when he wasn’t travelling, had crocodiles, other exciting animals and plants from every country on his property and this stark private waterfall on his property and just had everything built around it with exciting abstract artwork. Well, you have to be a multimillionaire to be able to afford something like that. Since 1991, the whole area is open to the public and you can visit it. I was lucky and got a private tour in English, which was really exciting. Really not to be missed! Really great thing in the jungle!
Then we got the Tamul waterfall. By chance, I met a nice girl from Colombia in the hostel who really wanted to visit the waterfall. However, the transport was not easy and so I was glad to have a really native speaker with me! After more than two hours of travelling (with three changes), we eventually reached the waterfall. From there, for 200pesos, you take a rowing boat together with others to row to the waterfall. We happened to be able to join a tour group from Mexico City. We had the honour to sit in the back of the boat and were usually addressed as el Aleman and la Colombiana in order to give clear and strict instructions (mostly in German) from time to time, so that the rowing here would be uniform and efficient. In between, oncoming rowing boats were always sprayed with water as much as possible. The whole tour lasted about 2-3 hours and was great fun! The highlight was arriving at the Tamul waterfall with a perfect photo. Really great tour, absolutely recommendable! And as luck would have it, the tour group took their bus to Ciudad Valles afterwards, so they offered to take us back for free! Perfect ending, really funny round and just good for my Spanish hahaha.
One day later, I did the tour to Puente de Dios and the Tamasopo waterfall. Puente De Dios can be reached on foot in about 45 minutes from the waterfall and is also the nicer and quieter place. It is best to get there as early as possible, as there are few other people around then. You can swim under a cave and see the bats hanging on the walls above you. It’s a great experience, but you have to dodge every now and then when a bat has the urge to go to the toilet. The Tamasapo Waterfall is a small amusement park with lots of people. The waterfall is super beautiful but it is also just incredibly well attended by families. It’s a bit like a small outdoor adventure swimming pool. Nice thing but probably not my highlight. Nevertheless, there are good opportunities to find something to eat and drink there. Because there is enough choice!
After I had taken a rest day to watch the German game against Hungary (result 2:2), I borrowed a car the next day to visit the great waterfalls in the north. And what can I say… these waterfalls were really impressive! But without a car or a booked tour, it’s really hard to get there by public transport. First we went to the Minas Viejas waterfall, then to the El Meco waterfall and finally to the El Salto waterfall. All were really impressive and this crystal clear water and the nature around the waterfalls is just so beautiful. El Salto is unfortunately dry at the moment and usually only has water in winter after more rainfall. Still, the pools are just beautiful and give you a bit of an idea of how impressive it must look when water is running down the waterfall.
Finally, I unfortunately did not manage to visit Sotano de las Golondrinas, Mantetzulel and Sotano de las Huahuas from Quismon. But everything I saw was really incredibly impressive and therefore I can only recommend everyone to visit this great state of San Luis Potosi and to use Ciudad Valles as a starting point for their travels. For me, it’s now on to Monterrey before I slowly arrive in Baja California Sur.