A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


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Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

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Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

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The Huasteca region of Mexico is south of Texas, down the gulf coast a ways. Before we went there  in 2004, I found this quote (from a webpage no longer in existence) in  a review of a book called Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in the Mexican National Space. Here’s a brief quote from this article.

The region has been marginalized from the national project and its history and culture are seen to differ from Mexico as a whole. Thus the region is defined in Mexican ideology as a frontier, a remote and lawless place that “has not yet been immortalized in textbook or mural” (p. 51).

But the region is believed to have its hidden sources of wealth. Central Mexicans are convinced that Indian peoples of the Huasteca can predict weather or cure diseases that modern medicine cannot. The Huasteca is widely believed to be the location of hidden treasure or untold mineral wealth (it does in fact contain major oil resources).

The region is a kind of untapped periphery that remains unexplored and unexploited. Yet paradoxically this reserve of physical and cultural wealth “is seen as quintessentially Mexican because it represents the great, dormant, untapped Mexico” (p. 51). The Huasteca serves national elites as a metaphor of untamed possibilities, both the strength and the potential of an unrealized Mexico.

We lived the area a lot, as it turned out. Hot, though!

4 Responses to “The Huasteca Region of Mexico”

  • SteveGinIL says:

    I visited Huasteca Potosina in April 2005 to see the many waterfalls, including the one at Edward James’ place. We used Ciudad Valles as a base.

    I found out recently that the Huastecas appear to have been a real thorn in the side of the Aztecs. They holed up in the mountains of Huasteca and gave the Aztecs a run for their money. The Aztecs never did subjugate them, from what I read. This was in a recounting of the Natchez Indians by their chief in the 1700s. He talked about where they came from, and it matches really closely with Huasteca. He said they came from the the direction of the sunset, near the Gulf and in the mountains. They got tired of having the hassle of fighting off the Aztecs, which he said were based around Teotihacan. The Teotihuacans were long since gone, so I am interpreting it to mean the Aztecs, based on how long previous all this took place. The Natchez ended up spread out from around east Texas to the Florida panhandle and north to near Arkansas. But they did not apparently build any of the Indian mounds such as Poverty Point, which are quite a bit B.C.

    We went to Sotana de las Golondrinas, up above Aquismon, where the swifts come out by the hundreds of thousands every morning like bats, but flying in big circles in order to clear the top of the big sink hole they nest in. Hawks hang around trying to pick them off. There is also some sort of parrot that nests there, too. We had to arrive before dawn, and after we watched the exodus we could see the Gulf of Mexico off in the distance, about 100 miles to the east.

    The waterfalls were absolutely excellent. We went to Cascada Xilitla and Los Pozos (Edward James’ place), in that vicinity, then Puente de Díos, Cascada El Meco, Cascada Minas Viejas and a few other spots I don’t have notes on.

    The waterfall we did NOT go to was Cascada Tamul. Tamul is REALLY something I do need to visit. It is probably the biggest waterfall in Mexico, and it is still pristine. Tamul takes a canoe trip and our trip just did not allow time for that. I was very disappointed, but the ones I did see were fabulous. Some were 3 times as high as Niagara. We swam beneath all but El Meco. The water temp for all was about 10C – 50F. If you’ve ever swum in 50 degree water, you know it is COLD! The water evidently had come out of springs or underground rivers and the temp of the water was like the temp in a cave. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

    Puente de Díos is so unbelievably beautiful, with about 6 or so waterfalls all emptying into the same vine covered pool. It is one of the most idyllic places in the world, I think. I was also very taken by the grotto you have to go through to get to the pool. There is a rope strung out to help negotiate your way in and out. Puente de Díos.

    We also splashed around in the falls and rapids of El Micos, NW of Ciudad Valles. That was a popular spot with more Mexican tourists than any other, but it still was a very enjoyable time.

    One more place we visited was called El Salto, with a series of small limestone pools below the main falls, reminiscent of the ones in Hawaii, each cascading into each other. Unfortunately, they had diverted the river water above and the flow was very meager. But it was an excellent place to swim. I believe they could enhance the local economy more with tourism than whatever the water was used for, but perhaps tourism is not such a good thing, either. I am just glad I got a chance to see all these waterfalls.

    The trip was a bus trip out of Guadalajara by an ecological travel agency. I was the only gringo on the bus, but my English girlfriend who lived in GDL was with me and translated for me. My Spanish still isn’t very good. (I live in the Chicago area and haven’t yet managed to move to Mexico – but it is coming!) The other people on the trip ranged from retirees and their wives to paired up teenaged girls, with several families on board, too. I have to say that trip was one of the memories of Mexico I will never forget. The Mexican folks were very kind to me, and we all helped each other out in various ways. The people were just so lovely.

    I have to mention one more thing: The route we took from GDL went by San Juan de los Lagos, north of Leon then we bypassed San Luis Potosí somehow (it was nan overnight drive, so I can’t recall) and headed east toward Hwy 70 to get to Ciudad Valles. On the return trip we stopped at a rest stop (I think it was SW of San Luis Potosí) and the dish I had was a tomato-based lamb soup. The girl piled in more and more lamb until I could hardly believe it. And when I tasted it, I am afraid I made a pig of myself, it was that delicious. At a rest stop! Ohmygod! If they don’t have that soup in heaven, I am not sure it is really heaven.

    All in all, it was terrific five days.

  • Rosana says:

    What a lovely post. Thanks for writing! Some of the best food turns up in the most unexpected places. Andy you got to several places I knew about from guidebooks but didn’t get to!

  • Ali Avila says:

    WOW! I’m glad to read really good things about my country and specially about Huasteca Region.

    Im from huasteca region born and raised, and when you talk about Valles, Aquismon, Xilitla came to me so many memories :-)

  • Rosana Hart says:

    We had wonderful times in the Huasteca region! Luckily, we were there when it wasn’t extremely hot, as it can be!

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