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The Huasteca Potosina in the state of San Luis Potosí has some of the most varied and wondrous scenery in Mexico. Within the state of San Luis Potosí, bounded by the towns of Rio Verde to the west, Cd. Valles to the east and Tamazunchale to the south, this area has waterfalls, birding and villages where native languages like Nahuatl, Otomi and Teenek are still spoken daily. There is excellent birding in general as well as the Sotano de las Golondrinas where thousands of swallows fly out of a cavern.
Hotel Taninul, just east of Cd. Valles has its own sulfur hot spring and cave. The spring bubbles from the ground directly into an enormous elongated circular pool. There are clumps of organic matter floating in the waters. They are supposed to be there - that's what gives this hot spring its unique culture. This "mud" is used for therapy and you can buy it dried and powdered to take home. In my case, I made friends with a bellman and he "borrowed" some for me. I overpaid intentionally. It was a joy to watch his eyes light up. The polvo was good for my psoriasis when I returned home. US Customs, however, did not take kindly to it and I was given the second and part of the third degree when I crossed.
Water is moderately warm, around 100-102 Fahrenheit 37-39 Celsius). But it is pleasant and you can actually swim.
Trailer Park El Bañito (just south of Cd. Valles also has its own, much smaller hot spring.
The rivers run clear or turquoise and are relatively unspoiled and unpolluted. The rivers are perfect for stand up paddle boarding or SUP, rafting (both gentle and whitewater), swimming or just observing the waterfalls' thundering majesty from the shore.
The attractions in the Huasteca Potosina are relatively unspoiled and certainly not overrun by hordes of gringos, like in Quintana Roo and Yucatan. The gringos (like you and me) who go there are few in number and respectful of the culture. To me, this area is on par with Chiapas for natural beauty. There are :
You would guess none of those things by your first glance. This is an area where much is hidden, much is to be learned. It's only a day's drive to the Huasteca from McAllen. But it is at least two worlds away in terms of beauty and wonder.
Waterfalls at Tamasopo
If you are into Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP), or river rafting, the Huasteca Potosina is a great place to do it. There are all levels of rivers and falls - from mild to whitewater.
One group that does SUP tours and is knowledgeable is Stand Up Paddle Mexico. They are based in Jalcomulco, Veracruz and do stand up paddleboarding trips and rafting trips to other parts of Mexico as well. See an engaging video of theirs here.
The folks at Huaxteca adventure tourism have a most amazing website, with aerial views of the waterfall and rapids around Cd. Valles and the Huasteca region in general. These folks are locally-based in Cd. Valles. They are licensed guides and accredited by SECTUR in emergency medical procedures.
Kayak Huasteca is another paddle board expedition company based in Cd. Valles. The also do rafting and group tours down the rivers.