If you’re into adventure tourism in one of the most stunning settings in Mexico, then La Huasteca Potosina is the place for you. Located in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, La Huasteca Potosina features a myriad of waterfalls, rivers, and aquifers that provide a perfect adventure for everyone to experience.
La Huasteca Potosina Natural Reserve and Water Park is where you want to go to get that adrenaline fix while taking in one of the most idyllic natural wonders in all of Mexico. Let’s just say, if you’re into photography, then you’ll surely find that one incredible Instagram-worthy spot that will make your portfolio.
La Huasteca is a region that encompasses parts of several states:
However, this guide focuses on La Huasteca Potosina, which is located in San Luis Potosí. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know before you decide to book the tour, including how much it will cost, how to get there, and what you can do there.
La Huasteca Potosina Natural Reserve and Water Park gets its name from the Huastec people who inhabited this region. The Huastec people are one of the oldest indigenous civilizations that still live in Mexico today. Archaeological evidence dates the origins of the Huastec people at 1,000 B.C.E.—yet roughly 66,000 people still speak the Huastec language today. Over 60% of those native speakers currently live in the state of San Luis Potosí.
Above all, the Huastec people are recognized for being master artisans and craftsmen. At the height of their civilization—between the fall of the Teotihuacanos and the rise of the Mexica Empire—the Huastec people constructed elaborate step-pyramids, massive standing sculptures, and in particular intricately-painted pottery. In particular, the Huastec people were known for being exceptional musicians.
The Huastec people were defeated by the Aztecs during the rise of their empire around 1450 C.E., though this subjugation hardly disrupted their rule. They were required to pay an annual tribute to the Aztec people, but they were largely granted autonomy and self-rule.
The demise of the Huastec people didn’t occur until 70 – 80 years later when the Spanish Conquered the region. Many Huastecs were sold into slavery in the Caribbean sugar trade, which decimated their population and led to the eventual decline of their influence in the region.
The landscape at La Huasteca Potosina Natural Reserve is incredibly diverse. It features a cacophony of geographical features made from calcified sand and basalt created from ancient lava flows. However, the majority of the terrain is comprised of sedimentary rock that has been shaped by millions of years of water and wind erosion.
This dynamic geographic activity has created a myriad of geological features to explore. La Huasteca Potosina Natural Reserve boasts a wide array of natural phenomena, including:
In this Guide to La Huasteca Potosina, we will cover all the major attractions and the various ways to experience them.
There are several stunning attractions at La Huasteca Potosina. Let’s cover some of the main sights:
Puente de Dios is a rock formation known for its cascading waterfalls on all sides. At the base is a deep pool of water. To get there, you have to walk down 400 steps until you reach the pool. (Don’t forget that you have to hike back up as well.) Just keep going straight. If you turn toward the left, you only follow a scenic trek that takes you along the river.
The current in the pool is strong. It will swirl you around, and ropes are kept in place just so that you have something to hold onto—especially if you’re trying to swim against the current. You should know, the water is rather cold unless you’re going there during the hottest period between March and June.
The area has lockers where you can store your possessions while you’re swimming. You hand a person your stuff and he will take down your name and give you a number. Overall, the trip is very inexpensive. It only costs $30 MXN to visit the park, though the locker and life jacket carry an additional cost.
You may want to take extra measures to lower the secure a ride back because if there is no ride available, it’s a 3.5-kilometer walk to the nearest town.
To explore the Tamul Waterfalls in La Huasteca Potosina, then you need to first get to La Morena. This is about 3 kilometers from the spot, and here you can hire a guide.
The way there, you have to paddle against the current, so it can be a bit of an arms workout, but it’s far easier and faster on the way back because you’re going with the current. There’s also a really cool cenote that you can explore on the return if you have time.
If you don’t have aquatic footwear, they sell them at La Morena. They are inexpensive and fairly necessary while walking over the wet rocks because you have to disembark the boat and walk a short distance when you get there. They’re only $150 MXN, and you get to keep them, so it’s a great deal.
Sometimes called “El Municipio”, El Naranjo is a series of waterfalls located along the river. The first is called El Salto.
To get here, you have to take a taxi from Ciudad Valles, which is about two hours away. We don’t recommend taking the buses because you have to take several buses to get there, where a taxi will take you directly there.
You can expect to pay a hefty sum (about $1,000 MXN for the taxi), but you rent the driver for the day, so you ensure that you have a ride home when you’re ready. It’s best to leave early in the morning, so book your taxi the day before.
El Salto is one of the most beautiful natural pools in all of Mexico. The crystal clear, aquamarine water is ideal for wading, but you have to visit El Salto in the rainy season (which is June to September). This is because the local hydroelectric plant uses the water, which means the water level is very low most of the year.
Many of the pools are fed from underground aquifers and lateral streams that filter the water ensuring excellent quality and visibility when you’re there.
Officially called “El Salto de Meco”, El Meco is another group of waterfalls that can be viewed from a terrace called El Mirador. If you wish, you can take a boat tour that leads you from one pool to another, getting you as close to the waterfall as possible.
El Meco carries a marginal cost of $300 MXN for the guide and $200 MXN for the boat ride.
There’s also a restaurant that is open in the afternoons and early nights next to El Mirador for those of you who want to grab a bite to eat. And if you want, you can stay at their hotel called Huasteca Secreta to have a comfortable hotel room—if a bit short on amenities.
There is a lovely little waterfall called Micos that you can include at the end of your tour of El Naranjo. It only takes 30 minutes, but you have to time it just right because they close down around 4 pm to 4:30 pm.
The entrance is only $30 MXN to explore the park and gain entrance to the shops and restaurants there. However, if you want to take a boat tour inside the park, then that will cost you an additional $200 MXN for a 30-minute boat ride.
You can also hire a guide for roughly $350 pesos which covers the trip and renting a life jacket. This cost will cover 3 or 4 people, so you can split the cost among some friends.
The Caves of Mantezulel are another must-see experience. Not many tourists visit these caves because they are managed by the locals who don’t seem to put too much effort into marketing the site.
It takes about 45 minutes to hike up to the entrance (all up manmade steps). Once you’re there, the site consists of 3 main caves—one of them is the real attraction, being quite long and large compared to the other 2.
The Caves of Mantezulel features a path set through a stunning network of stalactites and stalagmites. The cost is only $150 MXN for the entire group, so it’s very inexpensive, and this is one of the most remarkable experiences in La Huasteca Potosina.
This natural monument is a deep cavern that descends 1,680 feet with a diameter of about 200 feet. Located in the village of Aquismón, this area is more known as a bird sanctuary—most of these birds being swallows, hence the name.
Don’t think that this is only for ornithologists. You can have quite the adventure rappelling along the grotto and diving off ledges into the river.
As with any natural reserve, La Huasteca Potosina has periods when it’s best to visit. This is mostly due to the natural conditions of the park, but there are also other considerations.
One of the best times to visit is in late February or early March. This is because the natural climate in Central Mexico begins to shift quite rapidly from the coldest months of winter to the warmest months all year. This warms up the temperature of the river to make swimming brisk but comfortable.
When you visit the park during the rainy season, which is June to the start of September, the water is murky and you miss out on the crystal clear waters that have put La Huasteca on the map. Also, the currents are stronger during the rainy season, which makes the trip more treacherous.
Also, during the rainy season, many tourists visit the park, which only increases the demand for the resources available—thus driving up the price.
If you visit at some point between mid-September and November, then you can also catch some warmer weather, clear water, and fewer tourists.
Here are some suggestions for what to pack when you’re planning on visiting La Huasteca Potosina Natural Reserve and Water Park:
– By Car
La Huasteca Potosina is roughly 6 hours from Mexico City. The best way to get there is by car. Renting a car will get you directly to the locations that you want to explore. Plus, the views on the drive are stunning!
– By Bus
There are several options by bus though if renting a car isn't an option. You can take a commercial bus to La Huasteca Potosina from any of the following locations:
León offers services on Primera Plus for $323 MXN
Querétaro offers services on Chihuahuenses, ETN, Primera Plus, Futura, Omnibus, and Transportes del Norte. All prices range from $274 MXN to $355 MXN
Mexico City Northern Bus Station (Estación del Norte) offers services on Chihuahuenses, ETN, Primera Plus, Futura, and Transportes del Norte. All prices range from $555 MXN to $700 MXN.
Aguascalientes offers services on Chihuahuenses for $259 MXN and Futura for $281.
Monterrey offers services on ETN, Futura, Omnibus, and Transportes del Norte. All prices range from $662 MXN to $870 MXN.
*In most cases, the lowest price is the average price of bus fare. The high estimate is ETN which offers a luxury experience. If you have the money, we recommend traveling on ETN.
If you love nature then you're not going to want to miss La Huasteca Potosina. The sheer stunning beauty of Mexico is best seen in the natural wonders found in this region. It's a life-changing experience for any travelers interested in adventure tourism destinations around the world.
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For several years, Rafael has been crafting articles to help expats and nomads in their journey abroad. He takes great pride in meticulously researching the ins-and-outs of bureaucratic processes in different countries around the world. A digital nomad for almost a decade, Rafael also enjoys exploring cultural phenomena in his articles to better help expats and nomads assimilate. If you have any questions or issues with the content of an article, he’s the one to contact for further information.