If you’ve seen my waterfall photos, you’re probably wondering how to plan a trip to Huasteca Potosina, Mexico! This is a lesser known hidden gem that’s typically only visited by Mexican citizens!
There’s a lot of different names for this region, so I hope this post clarifies exactly where you need to go! I worked with one of the best tour companies in the area, called Huaxteca, which also runs the only wildlife rescue and sanctuary in the area. If you can, I would recommend booking through them because a portion of their proceeds goes to caring for the animals!
If you’re going specially for the waterfalls, be sure to check out my post on the Best Waterfalls in Huasteca!
Alright, here’s everything you need to know about how to plan a trip to Huasteca, Mexico!
Where is Huasteca Potosina, Mexico?
Officially called Huasteca Potosina, Mexico, this lush jungle area is located about 5 hours (driving) above Mexico City. Right in the middle of Mexico!
Most visitors tend to only go to the coastal areas of Mexico, but this region is much different! It’s very quiet, with a lot of untouched subtropical jungle, and wild animals!
Why Are There So Many Different Names?
When first researching how to plan a trip to Huasteca Potosina, even I was confused. So many different names are mentioned, and it’s hard to tell what’s a state, town, city, and region! So below are a few explanations!
- Huasteca Potosina: The region above Ciudad Valles with most of the waterfalls
- San Luis Potosi: The name of one of the States that Huasteca stretches across
- Tampico: A city 1.5 hours east of Huasteca you can fly into
- Ciudad Valles: The city just below Huasteca
- Tamasopo: The city with the waterfall park
- Tamul: The biggest waterfall in the region
- Xilitla: The town where the surrealist garden is
Where to Fly Into to Get to Huasteca
Learn from my mistake and don’t fly into San Luis Potosi! If you do, it’s a 3-4 hour drive to Huasteca. Instead, try to fly into Tampico, which is only a 1.5 hour drive away.
If you really don’t want to drive at all, you can try to fly into the small Tamul airport. When I was there in May 2021, it was not open due to lack of tourists, but feel free to check on it when you go!
How to Get from The Airport to Huasteca
This is a very important part of how to plan a trip to Huasteca Potosina, Mexico. Whether you fly into San Luis Potosi or Tampico, you are still going to need to then get ground transportation to Huasteca. The tour company we went with quoted us $600 USD for a rountrip transfer from SLP, which we deemed absolutely ridicuous, so we rented a car instead.
Renting a car is really easy, and relatively safe in Mexico. But forewarning, as a tourist, there is a good chance that any car rental company will force you to pay a “Mexican Insurance” which is an about $25 days.
It sucks because we all get so excited with those $6-15 a day rental prices! But yeah, there’s likely no way around that bogus extra insurance unless you try to go somewhere not at the airport. That being said, DO NOT pay for any additional insurance online!
Cheap fare finder sites like Travelocity, TripAdvisor, Orbitz, Kayak, etc., will all give you the option to pay for insurance through them, but it DOES NOT MATTER! You will STILL have to pay the Mexican Insurance at the counter!
What is Huasteca Potosina, Mexico Most Known For?
For us, we were most interested in seeing the massive, glorious waterfalls in Huasteca! And even though we unknowingly went in dry season, we were still very satisfied with what we saw!
Aside from just seeing waterfalls the waterfalls in Huasteca Potosina, there are also tons of adventure activities to do! You can find a full list of them below!
There’s also another thing near Huasteca, but technically not in it that’s very popular, especially with UK tourists. It’s an “abandoned surrealist mansion” in a town called Xilitla, comissioned by a rich English man named *** in the 1940’s. Read more about it below!
Is It Safe to Go to Huasteca?
At first, I was a bit nervous to go to this area of Mexico. Solely because my mother basically fear mongered me into thinking that the middle of Mexico is a “bad area” where you get carjacked and kidnapped.
Not the case. At all.
This area was actually very tranquil, and the people were all very nice, friendly, and helpful. We had no problems at all with driving ourselves (sometimes the police like to target foreigners in other parts of Mexico), or on any of the tours!
Of course, you should always be vigilant, and practice safety measures wherever you travel. Don’t leave valuables unattended. Don’t get wasted. And maybe read my blog post about Safety in Mexico first.
Do People Speak English in Huasteca?
While I normally hate when people assume no one in other countries speak English, I have to put this disclaimer out there that it’s not as common in the Huasteca area. There are a couple guides that speak English, as well as some people who work at the lodges/restaurants. But it’s not like how it is in the coastal cities where everyone speaks English as a second language.
Not to worry though, just be sure to make all of your travel plans in advance online! That way you can notify the tour company or accommodation if you want an English speaking guide.
If you book your trip through Huaxteca, they offer packaged that include multi-day tours, plus the accommodation, and half board. They are the ones that I know have a couple English speaking guides as well.
Or! You can be a good respectful traveler, and memoize some basic Spanish phrases and words like the ones below!
- Hi, how are you?: Hola, como estas?
- I am ready: Lista/listo (female/male)
- Thank you: Gracias
- Please: Por favor
- Can I order: Puedo pedir
- Where is the bathroom: Donde esta el bano?
- I need help: Necesito ayunda
- I had fun: Me diverti
- I am scared: Estoy asustada/o (I am scared)
- See you later: Hasta luego
- Zipline: Tirolenas
When is the Best Time to Go
Fun fact, when it’s dry season, there’s less water in waterfalls. Shocking, I know. But actually I didn’t even think about that before I went, and didn’t realize it was dry season! Luckily there was still water in the falls, but there could have been more!
So if you want to see the waterfalls at their best, go during the good season!
- Dry Season: March to June
- Wet/Cold Season: July to October
- “Good” Season: November to February
Where to Stay in Huasteca Potosina
There are a very limited amount of options for places to stay in Huasteca, Mexico. Huasteca is very much the jungle area, so there’s only about three or four lodging options. If you want to opt to stay in town in Ciudad Valles, there are more options. But I prefered to stay in the jungle!
Originally I was supposed to stay at Selva Teenek Ecopark as part of my collaboration with Huaxteca, since that’s what’s included in their multi-day packages. But at the last minute I found out that they weren’t pet friendly (since there’s jaguars and pumas next to the cabins), and had to find somewhere else.
To book here as part of a tour package you can visit Huaxteca.com !
I found a do-able little cabin about five minutes away called Oasis Huasteca (pictured above) that was pet friendly and really friendly in general. They were a bit hard to find since they aren’t listed on any booking sites, but I stalked them through Facebook, then found their Whatsapp number, and coordinated everything that way.
The positive side was that my cabin had great AC, was pretty roomy, the door locked, and somehow, it had really fast Wifi! The downside was that the sheets were pretty old, and the bathroom/shower was shared, and outside. So it was basically like glamping, for $35/night.
To book here, use Google translate, and send a whatsapp message to: +52 81 1980 2483
Top Things to See and Do in Huasteca
Some people go to Huasteca to see the surrealist garden, others go for the waterfalls (like me). And of course, most go for both!
Here’s a list of all of the things I did and saw in the Huasteca area! Plus a few that are recommended but I didn’t do because it was dry season!
Be sure to check out my full blog post on the Best Waterfalls in Huasteca for more information on each of the ones listed below!
Tamasopo Waterfall Park:
I personally loved this waterfall park for a chill day of easy water activities, with stunning views! It only costs 100 pesos ($5) and you can stay for as long as you’d like! Most people go here for a full day.
You can rent lockers and even little cabanas here, and there’s a couple of food and drink kiosks as well. You’ll also need to rent a life jacket if you want to do some of the activities, like the high jumps into the water, and the zipline.
To get here you can either take a tour, or rent a car and drive on your own!
Waterfall Jumping at Micos Waterfalls (Salto de Cascadas)
The waterfall jumping tour at Micos waterfalls is a MUST! Well, all of these are a must, but this is definitely a must. The Micos waterfalls circuit consists of eight waterfalls that you jump off of, but don’t worry, most of them are small!
You’ll get geared up with a life vest and helmet, then walk down about 100 stairs to the top of the river. Be sure to swim over to Cascada del Toro and climb behind it for an epic view before you start jumping.
The highest jump is 8 meters (24 feet), but if you don’t want to jump it, you can opt for a 3 meter (9 foot) jump there as well!
Ziplining and SkyBike Over Micos Waterfalls
Another absolute MUST in my opinion! Actually the SkyBike was one of my top priorities for this trip after seeing mind-blowing photos of it on social! And trust me, it’s way safer and easier than it looks!
You can choose from doing the entire circuit, which consists of 3 ziplines, 1 rope bridge, and the SkyBike, or just zipline if you don’t want to do the bike. Fair warning, the most terrifying of all of these was the rope bridge!
You can book all of these tours through Huaxteca.com as well!
Rappelling at Minas VIejas
You can jump off waterfalls, zip above them, and then you can also rappel down a sheer cliff in front of them! Again, totally safe and way less scary than it sounds!
Minas Viejas translates to “Old Mines”, because that’s what this area was several years ago. They would mine for the minerals in the earth that are also what make the water so blue! Now the mineral-rich rock cliffs are used for rappelling down, and it’s a whole lot of fun!
No experience is necessary, your guide will explain everything! Be sure to ask for an English speaking guide if you don’t speak Spanish!
Rafting Down Tampaon
I’m not going to lie, I was signed up for rafting, but in all of my rafting experiences, I never liked it very much. And also, I had to choose between rafting and doing the ziplines and SkyBike, so that was an easy answer for me!
But if you are into rafting, Huasteca is one of the best places in Mexico to do it! It’s not only exhilirating, but very scenic as well!
It pains me to even write about Tamul, since I didn’t get to see it, and it’s one of the main highlights of Huasteca. This is because I didn’t do proper research, and therefore didn’t know that Tamul basically only exists during the wet or “good” season. Sad face.
Tamul is the biggest, and most popular waterfall in the Huasteca region, and if you want to see it, you should probably aim for November-February
Edward James Surrealist Garden in Xilitla
If you’re wondering how to plan a trip to Huasteca because you want to see the surrealist garden, I definitely have some great tips for you!
For starters, you can ONLY go see it with a tour guide. So either book one in advance, or hire someone when you get there. Perks of booking one in advance of couse are that it includes transportation! Xilitla is about 2 hours south of Huasteca, so unless you want to drive, just book the tour.
You should also know that the most popular photo of it, with a person standing on a staircase, is no longer open. Likely too many people like me, trying to get that epic shot, and resulting in either something dangerous happening, or just the general fragile state of the structure being threatened.
The tour is still very cool, and it really does feel like you’re wandering through the Secret Garden or the Garden of Eden! It’s set on 80 acres of lush tropical rainforest with tons of waterfalls and natural pools, and sprinkled with abstract, surrealist structures!
Selva Teenek EcoPark
If you love animals, you definitely need to check out Selva Teenek EcoPark! It’s the only wildlife rescue and sanctuary in Huasteca! Not even the local government provides wildlife rescue! They mostly defer the animals to them, and give no funding.
Selva Teenek is self-funded, making most of the money to feed and care for the animals through profits made from the lodging and restaurant they provide there, and donations. In fact, if you choose to do any of the tours above through Huaxteca, you can pair it as a package and also do your accommodation and meals through Selva Teekek, and help the animals!
All of the animals at Selva Teenek have been brought there either injured, abandoned, or confiscated from people who tried to have them as pets when they were babies. If you’ve ever seen people trying to get you to buy photos holding a baby jaguar, tiger, or other big cat…this is likely where they will end up, if they’re lucky…
If you’d like to support these animals, please stay at Selva Teneek! If you can’t, you can also donate to their GoFundMe that I helped to set up!
As always, if you found this FREE travel guide helpful, please help me out by sharing it on social media, and leaving me a comment below! Thank you!