(Guide to for responsible tourists)
Both, the waterfall El Meco and El Salto are two of the more hidden gems of the Huasteca Potosina in Mexico. They are located around 2 hours away from Ciudad Valles, the biggest city in the region. For us, they are worth the long drive mainly because of their beauty. El Meco has the most beautiful celestial blue watercolor leading up to a 35m waterfall, which couldn’t be any more beautiful. El Salto in the meanwhile has a beautiful crystal clear blue water pool below a mostly petrified waterfall of 90m. Now that we gave you an idea of why the visit is worth it for us we will give you all the tips you need to come and see the waterfalls for yourself. As always in the Huasteca Potosina, there is the option to visit with a guided tour, but especially for these waterfalls, we recommend visiting by yourself if you have a car.
Where are they located?
Both waterfalls are located in the municipality of El Naranjo (if you recall, driving past the waterfalls of Micos, the waterfall of Minas Viejas) and passing the town of El Naranjo. When passing El Naranjo you will first get to the entrance of El Meco and then you can get to, about 10 min drive away, El Salto.
Located on the road Miguel Hidalgo leaving the town of El Naranjo towards the Highway El Salto- El Meco there is an exit with the sign Eco-Expediciones Sundial on the left side, this is the best entrance to El Meco. You get to a parking lot with changing rooms and access to the river. Here they charge you around 50 Pesos.
A tiny bit up the road you will pass the ‘El Mirador’ a beautiful viewpoint that allows you to see the waterfall from close up.
Following the same highway, driving away from El Naranjo you will get to a Y Crossing called ‘La Ceiba’, here you take a slight left and you will get directly to a hydroelectric power plant where you can take the dirt road on the left to get close up to the waterfall by car, or you can leave your car here and walk around 15min to get close up.
How to visit El Salto
When visiting this region we always recommend first to visit El Salto, because it is the furthest away and then el Meco. El Salto has very different seasons when visiting it. If you travel during the rainy season (from July to August) you will most likely find a very strong waterfall or a tiny water stream flowing down. This depends a lot on the season but also on the hydroelectric plant releasing water, so coming here to see only this waterfall is mostly a disappointment.
Many times you can ask local guides on the same day and they may know if there is a waterfall to see or not. Otherwise, we recommend visiting during the dry season, not to see this impressive waterfall but to be able to visit the beautiful, calm water pools forming below it.
Also be aware that the waterfalls are both on the same river, meaning, if the waterfall EL Salto has a lot of water you will most likely not be able to swim up to the waterfall El Meco – you will only be able to visit the viewpoint.
Visiting during the dry season you should definitely come early and take some amazing pictures of you walking on the walls of the pools. If you are a good swimmer, you can easily visit this place without a love vest, if you feel unsafe you can always ask local guides to give you a life vest. Here you can also do waterfall jumping with the local guides, which is a lot of fun. For this activity, it will be obligatory to use security gear.
How to visit El Meco
The waterfall of El Meco is one of the most beautiful spots for us in the Huasteca Potosina. Even in high season, this place does not get too packed and the watercolor is always stunning. You can enter the river (always with a life vest because there is a lot of current here you may not see) by yourself swimming or with one of the Canoes and a local guide taking you up to the waterfall. As we are good swimmers we prefer to explore the place by ourselves and take the 30min swim towards the waterfall on ourselves. You can take some amazing pictures of two very small islands in front of the waterfall. The easiest way to get up close to the waterfall when swimming is approaching the right side of the waterfall, it has less current and hanging onto the stone walls. You can get up onto a stone platform, take some pictures and then let the current take you right to the other side of the waterfall. There you can see a big rock (like in the lion king) where you can climb up, take some pictures and jump down the 5m.
At this point now you have seen all there is to see in El Meco, but there is more to this place: Enjoy it and relax. This is the perfect place to forget life for a few hours and just float.
Recommendations by tour guides
Before coming to visit the Huasteca Potosina you should think about whether you travel by car or with tour operators. If you depend on tour operators for transportation Ciudad Valles is always the best spot to stay. If you drive yourself, you can pick your accommodation also further away. Here our recommendation is to stay in Huasteca Secreta El Meco – Which is an Ecovillage with river access to El Meco and a beautiful restaurant viewing the waterfall.
If you are traveling in the rainy season you need to check in with local guides to make sure the waterfalls will be accessible. With an excess of rain, this river is used to do waterfall jumping (in El Meco and El Salto) and rafting from El Meco downward. Wanting to do these activities you need to contact a tour operator in Ciudad Valles before.
Swimming gear (clothes to get wet)
Waterproof camera/ waterproof phone case
Water shoes with a good sole
Waterproof bag with car keys, money, phone, etc.
A personal first aid kit at least in your car
These are all the recommendations and tips you need to plan your own trip to El Meco and El Salto in the Huasteca Potosina. In case you want us to plan your perfectly personalized trip to the Huasteca write us an email or DM us on social media. We will be happy to give you an incredible experience of the Huasteca Potosina and these waterfalls.