Have you ever heard of the region called Huasteca Potosina? Most of you probably haven’t … just like we haven’t before planning our trip to Mexico!
The region of Huasteca Potosina is the land of some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Mexico! There are so many of them and they are the No. 1 reason to visit this region.
So today we will break it down for you and tell you everything what you need to know about this quite unknown but beautiful region that is 100% worth visiting!
The best place to base yourself for the waterfall hunt around Huasteca Potosina is the city of Ciudad Valles. It is the second-largest city in the state of San Luis Potosí and it is located kind of “in the middle” of all these waterfalls.
HOW TO GET TO CIUDAD VALLES
There are a few ways to get to Ciudad Valles and it all depends on where you are coming from.
If you decide to go by plane, the closest international airports are:
- Tampico International Airport (123 km)
- Ciudad Victoria International Airport (190km)
- Querétaro Intercontinental Airport (196 km)
- San Luis Potosí International Airport (200 km)
Tampico and San Luis Potosí International airports are the biggest and also the main ones used for getting into Ciudad Valles.
After you arrive to one of these airports, you have to rent a car or take a bus to Ciudad Valles.
We arrived by bus directly from Mexico City which took around 9h. It was an overnight bus so we haven’t wasted our time during the day but if we had been travelling light and wouldn’t have had big suitcases, we would have gone by plane because it was fast and also cheap. However with checked in bags it was more expensive, so we opted for a bus which cost around 50 EUR (the flight with a check-in bag was around 80 EUR).
Check your bus from Mexico City to Ciudad Valles here: https://futura.com.mx If you are planning on arriving from other Mexican cities, check this website for all the bus routes heading to Ciudad Valles: https://busolinea.com
WHERE TO STAY
At first we wanted to find a hotel that is very close to the bus station, as we arrived from Mexico City by bus. After doing our research we realised that the bus station is far from the city centre so it was better to find a hotel in the centre and rather have all the shops and restaurants close to us than the bus station. We recommend you to do the same.
The city itself is not touristy and doesn’t have much of a choice of hotels to stay at, but there sure are some. Unfortunately the hotels are quite old so probably the better option is some newer/renovated apartment on airbnb. We have stayed at one airbnb which wasn’t the best either but it was very cheap (around 15 EUR/night). I will not recommend it because as I said it wasn’t the best and you can hopefully find something better.
WHERE TO EAT
To be honest we struggled a bit and we haven’t found so many good restaurants and definitely didn’t eat the best food comparing to other places in Mexico, but the city has a few restaurants that we can recommend to eat at.
LA LEYENDA – we wanted to try this restaurant because we found it on tripadvisor and it was rated as the 2nd best restaurant in Ciudad Valles. It is a bit outside of the very centre but you can definitely walk there. It is a traditional mexican cuisine restaurant that offers all the specialties from Huasteca region. We liked eating on their beautiful and very quiet terrace.
LA FUNDACION RESTAURANTE – also a very traditional restaurant with Mexican cuisine in the centre of the city. Lot of meet but also salad options. They offer some international dishes too but I would stick to Mexican while eating there. They are open for breakfast too.
EL WACAL – this is a good burger place if you don’t fancy any Mexican food.
There are a few second class public buses that you can use to get to some of these waterfalls, however to get to most of them with the public transportation is a hassle! We highly recommend to rent a car even though we think it was very expensive! Especially for Mexico…
We found only 2 car rentals in Ciudad Valles and we decided to go for “RENTA DE AUTOS NENEK”. We paid 40 EUR/day and we rented it only for 2 days. If there was an easy and cheap option to go around trust me we wouldn’t rent a car but there wasn’t. Overall experience with this car rental was good so we can recommend it, however luckily we didn’t have any issues with the car or any type of accident so we can’t say much about it. There are many many potholes in the roads and you usually can’t see them in advance so drive carefully! We hit so many of them I can’t even count. Anyway in Mexico full insurance is mandatory so that saves many troubles I guess.
We haven’t done any tours ourselves as we rented a car and we always prefer to do things on our own, however we found some interesting ones that we would have loved to do!
The one that interested us the most was the RAFTING tour! They have many rafting experiences to choose from, diverting by different rivers and rapids classes.
You can also book just a simple “waterfall tour” where they take you and show you around different waterfalls (this is a good option if you don’t want to rent a car).
Book your Tampaon river rafting tour here: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Rafting-in-Tampaon-River-from-Ciudad-Valles/d50609-8095P1 Or you can find many other rafting tours here: https://www.huaxteca.com/en/
TIP: You can pay only with cash in most (if not all) of these waterfalls and there are no ATM machines anywhere close by, so have enough cash with you for the entire day!
1. MICOS WATERFALLS
This was the first waterfall we visited in Huesteca Potosina and it was one of the closest ones to Ciudad Valles (only 30 min drive away). It is famous for its adventurous activities such as zip-lining, sky-biking, suspension bridge walking, waterfall jumping etc.
Check the website of the adventure park at Micos waterfalls here: https://www.adventureland.mx/micos
Other than that you can enjoy a small boat ride with little colourful wooden boats or get into the water yourself (the lifejacket is mandatory).
The entrance to the waterfalls cost 60 MXN (2 EUR) and the parking is free of charge. The lifejacket is also included in the entrance fee.
If you prefer to visit it with a guided tour check out this one that includes the visits of Micos waterfalls and Minas Viejas waterfalls: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Minas-Viejas-Waterfall-and-Micos-Waterfalls-Tour/d50609-208121P4 Or this one that includes Micos waterfalls, Minas Viejas waterfalls and Mirador El Meco: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Tours-in-the-Huasteca-Potosina/d50609-156720P1
2. MINAS VIEJAS WATERFALLS
After 1h30m driving away from Ciudad Valles towards “El Naranjo” you finally arrive to the waterfalls of “Minas Viejas”. Beautiful natural pools with crystal clear blue water, untouched nature, hanging bridges across the natural pools and finally the beautiful 50 m high waterfalls!
We can highly recommend you this place. Apart from the slightly hard walk down the stairs from the parking lot to the waterfalls, it has a very easy access to the water, plenty of space on the grass to relax, have picnic or sunbathe.
On the way down to the waterfalls there are bathrooms and also some food stands, however when we visited they were closed because of covid. We liked that these facilities were not actually right next to the waterfalls so they were not “invading” them. We prefer serene and untouched nature therefore things like this make a difference for us.
The admission to the waterfalls costs 40 MXN (1,70 EUR) and the parking another 40 MXN (1,70 EUR). The use of the lifejacket is also mandatory and you can rent it for 25 MXN (1 EUR).
If you prefer to visit it with a guided tour check out this one that includes the visits of Minas Viejas waterfalls and Micos waterfalls: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Minas-Viejas-Waterfall-and-Micos-Waterfalls-Tour/d50609-208121P4 Or this one that includes Minas Viejas waterfalls, Micos waterfalls and El Meco waterfalls: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Tours-in-the-Huasteca-Potosina/d50609-156720P1
3. EL MECO WATERFALLS
We actually went only to a lookout point of el Meco (“El Mirador”) where there is a platform on the side of the main road and you can see the top of the waterfalls from there.
There are also stairs going down so you can get a bit lower but if you want to get into the water or see it from the bottom you have to take a tour. There is no easy access for you like in some other waterfalls. Usually there are people offering tours such as boat ride, waterfall jumping etc. directly on the lookout platform and they are quite cheap but if you don’t have much time, just check it out from the viewpoint and rather save the time for other waterfalls 🙂
If you prefer a guided tour that departs directly from Ciudad Valles and includes a visit of El Meco waterfalls and El Salto del Agua, check out this tour: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Cascada-el-Salto-and-Cascada-el-Meco-Tour/d50609-208121P5 Or this one that includes El Meco waterfalls, Minas Viejas waterfalls and Micos waterfalls: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Tours-in-the-Huasteca-Potosina/d50609-156720P1 For a "virtual tour" you can watch this short drone footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqFQRzphYsA
4. EL SALTO DEL AGUA (EL NARANJO)
El Salto was our favourite waterfall of them all. Even though we visited it during dry season and there was not an actual waterfall, it was spectacular! The reason behind it is that during the dry season, the nearby hydro-electric company diverts all the water before the fall to the company. A week after we left, one couple that we follow on instagram visited this place and the water was falling! We don’t feel “unlucky” though because we think it was equally beautiful just like that and also it was completely empty when we visited while when there is an actual waterfall it obviously attracts more people. When we visited it was so quiet and peaceful. There was no-one but us. We were listening to the chirping birds and water flowing from one natural pool to another. So beautiful!
It takes around 2 hours to get there by car and the last part is on a dirt road with many bumps so I wouldn’t suggest to go there with a car that has a very low chassis. The last part is also a bit tricky on the maps because it doesn’t show properly. It directs you to the “Central Hidroelectrica” (the same hydro-electric company that uses the waterfall water during dry season). The road ends there but you have to turn left a few meters before. You will see the only dirt road on the left. Right after you turn left and find yourself on the dirt road, the road splits and you have to keep right and follow the path until you come to a small parking of this paradise 🙂 .
We suggest you to bring water and also some food if you are planning on staying for a while because it is completely undeveloped. There are no facilities (not even bathrooms) but that’s the main reason why we loved it! It is so serene, natural and untouched and that’s what a paradise looks like in our eyes 🙂 .
Another good thing is that there is no entrance fee 🙂 .
If you prefer to go with a guided tour check out this one: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Cascada-el-Salto-and-Cascada-el-Meco-Tour/d50609-208121P5
5. TAMUL WATERFALL
Probably the most famous and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Mexico is Tamul waterfall. Unfortunately for us we didn’t have the pleasure to visit it ourselves, as it’s a bit more difficult to visit it and it takes a full day out of your itinerary. There are 2 ways how you can visit this waterfall. You can either take a guided boat tour and visit it from the bottom or you can visit the top of the waterfall, however this way is a bit more complicated. There are not many informations about how to get to the top of the waterfall nor visiting it without the guided tour but our friends Drew and Alex did it and wrote a short guide on their blog which they allowed us to use on our blog to explain it to you!
Visiting the top of the Tamul waterfall (by Drex and Alex – @itsdrewandalex)
The address to the waterfall: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tamul+Waterfallfirstname.lastname@example.org,-99.1798473,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x6a5748beea4a256a!8m2!3d21.801133!4d-99.1798473
– Follow the address above until you hit the dirt road that comes up on the right. This dirt road is directly in front of a tour company who will try to sell you a tour of Cascada de Tamul. They will tell you a tour is the only way to visit this waterfall in La Huasteca Potosina, but they are completely WRONG. Be polite and tell them “no gracias” then start your drive down the dirt road.
– Keep in mind that this road is extremely bumpy and rocky. However, you can most definitely drive on it. We doubted our small Sedan at first, but saw that there was a similar sized car in front of us and continued the journey. About 30 minutes later you will reach a gate where a local man lives. You will have to pay him 20 Pesos (1 USD) to enter. This man might tell you that you cannot enter and if this is the case, then just communicate with him that you do not want a tour and he will eventually let you in. Once you pass the gate, continue your drive for about 15 more minutes until you reach a “parking lot”. There are typically some cars parked down there, you will not miss it.
– Once you park your car, there will be an entrance fee of 50 Pesos or 2 USD. Once you pay, there is a clear path to get to the top of the waterfall. This walk takes around 15 minutes and will lead you to where the countless pools are. If you want to see a view of the waterfall from below, find the set of ladders and climb down.
You can also check out their YouTube video from Tamul waterfall here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDgTf0R8SZQ and their blog post here: https://powerforthesoul.com/the-best-waterfalls-in-la-huasteca-potosina/
Visiting Tamul waterfall from the bottom with a guided tour
Guided tours of Tamul waterfalls start from Ciudad Valles and take around 8-10 hours. You get picked up from your hotel, leave with the private transportation and arrive to the river where you pick up a wooden canoe and starting paddling towards the waterfall (around 4,5km upstream) which takes around 2h. After reaching the waterfall and admiring its beauty, you get some time to swim, relax, have lunch and then you come back to your hotel in Ciudad Valles.
Book your tour here: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Tamul-waterfall-and-water-cave-on-a-wooden-canoe/d50609-8095P5 Or here: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Waterfall-Tour-of-Tamul-and-Water-Cave/d50609-208121P3
6. TAMASOPO WATERFALL
This is the waterfall that is the easiest to get to by the public transportation from Ciudad Valles. It is located in a small town called Tamasopo around 55 km away from Ciudad Valles and there is a direct bus that runs almost every hour all day long, takes 1h40m and cost 80 MXN (3,40 EUR). It leaves you in the central bus station and from there it’s about 20 min walk to get to the Tamasopo waterfall.
Check the bus schedule here: https://www.reservamos.mx/?_ga=2.268644405.591166078.1617443009-28234930.1617443008
As it’s so easy to get there and it’s even in the middle of the town, it is much more crowded. Mainly by locals and especially during weekends. If you want to visit this waterfall we suggest you to come as soon as they open which is 10 am and enjoy until crowds arrive.
It is developed as a waterpark and it has all the facilities like bathrooms, restaurants and also some activities like rope swings etc. If you are looking for something very natural, serene and untouched this is not the one but it definitely is beautiful.
The entrance cost 80 MXN (3,40 EUR) and the use of the lifejacket is mandatory. If you decide to come with a car, there is also a parking fee which is 50 MXN (2 EUR).
If you prefer to go with a guided tour, check out this one that includes Tamasopo waterfall and Puente de Dios: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Bridge-of-God-and-Tamasopo-Waterfalls-Tour/d50609-208121P2
7. EL PUENTE DE DIOS
Another beautiful waterfall that is located near the town of Tamasopo, so you can also visit it by bus from Ciudad Valles just like Tamasopo waterfall. Puente de Dios takes however 35 min walking from the bus station, but you can always take a taxi from the bus station which isn’t expensive. It is also very popular between locals as it isn’t so far from the centre, so come early in the morning or be prepared for some crowds.
The waterfall is kind of “hidden” in the middle of the jungle and the water is beautifully turquoise. The stream is pretty strong therefore the lifejacket is mandatory and there are several ropes in the water that you can grab when the stream is taking you away. You can also enjoy jumping from the cliffs or swimming in a cave.
It is also a quite developed place with stands selling food and drinks, bathrooms, gift shops etc but it isn’t directly next to the waterfall. The entrance cost 60 MXN (2,60 EUR) and if you come with a car its another 30 MXN (1,30 EUR) for parking.
If you prefer to go with a guided tour, check out this one that includes El Puente de Dios and Tamasopo waterfall: https://www.viator.com/tours/Ciudad-Valles/Bridge-of-God-and-Tamasopo-Waterfalls-Tour/d50609-208121P2
DAY 1 – Micos waterfalls & Minas Viejas waterfalls
DAY 2 – El Meco waterfalls & El Salto del Agua
DAY 3 – Tamul waterfall
DAY 4 – Tamasopo waterfall & El Puente de Dios
TIP: If you don’t have enough days you can combine DAY 1 and DAY 2 into 1 day if you start your day very early.
Even though you probably gonna visit Huasteca Potosina for its waterfalls, there are other impressive places that deserve to be mentioned in this guide.
Unfortunately we haven’t had time to visit places other than waterfalls but here are our suggestions that we collected from many locals that we have met, tour guides and the internet!
EDWARD JAMES SURREALIST GARDEN (LAS POZAS)
A little “back story”: I have seen this place on Pinterest maybe 2 years ago and saved it in the folder “the places I want to visit”. We hadn’t even planned our Mexico trip yet but I already knew I wanted to go there. We have spent 2,5 months in Mexico and have been to Ciudad Valles which is 1h45m away AND I CAN’T BELIEVE I DIDN’T GET TO SEE IT! I regret it so much but hopefully we will return to Mexico one day and I can fulfil my “Pinterest dream” 🙂 .
I can’t obviously speak from my own experience but from the pictures I have seen this place looks gorgeous! It is a jungle sculpture garden created by Edward James, the English poet and patron of surrealist art.
This garden is located in the town called Xilitla and it’s about 1h45m drive away from Ciudad Valles.
SOTANO DE LAS GOLONDRIAS
Sotano de las Golandrias or in English “Cave of Swallows” is an open air pit cave. The elliptical mouth, on a slope of karst, is 49 by 62 m wide and is undercut around all of its perimeter, widening to a room approximately 303 by 135 meters wide. The floor of the cave is a 333-meter free fall drop from the lowest side of the opening, with a 370-meter drop from the highest side, making it the largest known cave shaft in the world, the second deepest pit in Mexico and perhaps the 11th deepest in the world. (wikipedia.com)
SOTANO DEL BARRO
Another pit cave which is even deeper (457m) than Sotano de las Golondrinas but is less popular between tourists because you need to hire a private guide and hike for about 2 hours to get there. I am sure though that once you get there, you won’t regret it. Must be so impressive!
Check out also our “20+1 useful tips for your Mexico trip” guide:http://borntotraveldiaries.com/201-useful-tips-for-your-mexico-trip/
And our blog posts from other Mexican destinations here:http://borntotraveldiaries.com/category/mexico/
We hope this blog post was helpful to you and you are gonna have a great time while visiting the region of Huasteca Potosina. For more pictures and videos check out our IG story highlight (La Huasteca) and also our reels and feed posts. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment bellow or contact us via email or even better via Instagram @borntotraveldiaries. Thank you for your time and stay tuned for our next diary page 🙂.
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