After a day of (almost) leisure in San Luis Potosi, we woke early, ready for our side trip to Tamosopo & Puente de Dios.
The road near our hostel had been a construction site, so we offered to meet the tour guide at the hotel which also housed the tour company (Potosina), so it was bright and early folk that could spy us patiently waiting in the lobby of Hotel Napoles.
Before long, a minivan pulled up, and 4 of us (2 Mexican tourists were also waiting there) met Carlos, our Mexican Spanish and English speaking guide for the day. A quick detour to pick up one more person, a vacationer from Chile, and we were on our way.
It was about 4 hours later (with a quick stop at Rio Verde offering the chance to grab a bite, or use a bathroom where we also spied some Mennonites selling corn hot off the grill) that we made the descent into the valley that houses the actual township of Tamosopo.
From there it was a short trip, perhaps 10 minutes to our first stop, and the main reason we had sought this tour, Puente de Dios.
We’d been given the tip on this place from our Australian friend Eddie (met in Zacatecas) who’d not actually been, but was given the tip from a local who suggested several locations.
A quick Google search, and this was the winner for us, hands down.
Carlos advised that some people can find the climb down (which includes 157 steps) difficult, but for us it was nothing. Just be sure to take care in some places, as it can get quite slick.
Rio Puente de Dios is the river that feeds the pool to which we were headed, and it was this that we sighted first.
Apparently the river is flowing much lower at this time of year, but we could still hear the power of the falls not too distant.
A little further down the path was a wooden lookout where we could both see one of the falls that fed the pool, as well as glimpse the pool itself, so we stopped for a bit of a look, as well as to take a few snaps.
Carlos our guide was even kind enough to take a couple of these 2 intrepid adventurers!
We could already hear (and see the odd person in the water) a gaggle of voices, and not much further down the path stood another wooden platform, this one providing an incredible view of the pool itself (there are actually 2 pools linked by a water cave).
It was incredibly difficult trying to get to the railing to see, as many people stood there basically refusing to move.
The pool itself was the most incredible blue, with 2 yellow ropes crisscrossed its length and width, we assumed to aid swimmers.
Earlier we’d asked our guide if we’d be swimming here, but he’d said not. At the insistence of our Chilean companion however, he acquiesced, so donning the mandatory life jackets which you are not allowed to enter the pool without, we stripped down ready to take a dip (for me it was quite literal, as I’d earlier left my swim shorts in the van, expecting to need them later, so here I was in underwear).
Earlier we’d been a little perplexed by the seemingly strict (by Mexican standards) safety restrictions, however as soon as we’d entered the water, we could feel why.
The power of the river was intense, so without the life jackets weaker swimmers would flounder, and without the ropes, it would be incredibly difficult, not to mention tiring, to try and swim around.
I’d brought our waterproof camera along (but not my swimming shorts, go figure), in the hope of getting a few shots from within the pool, but it was incredibly hard to remain still in the churning waters (hence most of my attempts were blurry)!
The river felt similar to being in an ocean rip, so keeping steady wasn’t easy, but thankfully our Chilean friend at least managed to snap one of us!
It was incredibly refreshing, but eventually we decided to paddle towards the cave and the second pool.
Ducking under a small overhang got us within and the change was immediate!
Gone was the pull of the river, and we now floated in calmer waters, with the sound (and sight) of Bats in the ceiling overhead.
This place was incredible, and to get the chance to actually cool off in the waters was a pleasure indeed.
Now well and truly sodden but refreshed, we returned our life jackets, collected our belongings, and trudged back up the hill (yes, with me still in my underwear).
Our next destination was again, not far, the Cascadas de Tamasopo.
If we thought that Puente de Dios was busy, this place easily trumped it.
As the name suggests, this place is a series of cascades and pools, not too dissimilar to the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, just not on as grand a scale (and with swimming allowed).
This place was the domain of Mexican families, camping during their summer vacations.
It was also our location for lunch and a couple of hours free time.
Near one of the pools stood the remains of one of possibly the regions oldest sugar mills (this part of the country is Mexico’s best sugar growing terrain), which looked gorgeous, but as expected, was incredibly busy with its popularity for photos.
Carlos had told us of some stairs that could take us to the top of the falls, so after another lunch of Gorditas, it was time for us to make the ascent, and hopefully escape the bulk of the crowd!
It certainly wasn’t a difficult climb, but it did provide us with a great vantage point to see one of the 3 main falls, as well as several people jump (and just as many chicken out) from a diving platform into the pool below.
Climbing even higher, took us into several streams that fed the falls themselves, and whilst there were a few people we’d occasionally encounter, it was certainly much more peaceful, with many beautiful spots the swimmers and sunbathers below were definitely missing out on!
We’d earlier passed a sign stating we were leaving the park, so in the off chance that somebody might try and charge us the 20 peso admission fee, we thought it prudent that we make our return (nobody did try and charge us, not that there was ticket booth or anything).
There remained plenty of time to kill, so we indulged in an ice-cream (we did contemplate a couple of beers as well), considered a swim, however our earlier dip had cooled us enough, and the water here was just as chilly.
Returning to the old sugar mill, with some luck and a little patience, I even managed to get several shots with few or even no people obstructing the view.
It felt as if the return journey from Tamosopo was faster than our outbound trip (perhaps their were fewer coffee or toilet breaks), so at a reasonable time for dinner, we were dropped back outside the hotel.
We must have looked like honest folk (we’d not yet paid for the tour), for Carlos bid us farewell, advising us that the stairs to there office lay at the back of the hotel foyer!
There was plenty of opportunity for us to slink away, however that isn’t our style, so we promptly paid, and strolled pretty much across the road for another delicious dinner of Tacos Potosinos.
* This was one side trip we investigated in the hope of attempting independently, however the distances were too great for us to fully attempt at the time with our limited grasp of Spanish
With some earlier research, it would indeed be possible (or your own transport), or an alternative would be to make it an overnight trip and stay in the town of Tamosopo itself.