(Tips for forming responsible and experienced tourists)
Located in the municipality of 'El Naranjo' in the middle of the Huasteca Potosina in Mexico you can find the waterfall called Minas Viejas. In this jewel of a place, there are so many different activities to do. For all the earth and air lovers, you can the extreme sport of Rappelling to get a real feel for this place. For the people that love water, as we do, there is plenty of space to swim and enjoy this element. For the fire lovers we have good news too, you can stay here and camp even with a little bonfire if you like. So you see, a real jewel to experience all the elements. And as a saying goes: If the four elements are in balance you found a true oasis.
Where do I find the waterfalls of Minas Viejas?
Just an hour and forty minutes from Ciudad Valles by car the waterfall of Minas Viejas can be found. It is located in the municipality of El Naranjo, San Luis Potosí, México in the middle of nowhere to be honest.
Exit Ciudad Valles by highway 70 towards 'Rio Verde'. At kilometer 7 you will find a sign that says 'El Naranjo' pointing to the right. Now the longest part of the road begins. Drive straight, you will pass the Ejido 'La Hincada' and 'La Hincada Grande' which is where the sugar cane production plant 'Plan of San Luis' is located. It is quite interesting to drive by here and see how the sugarcane production works right from your car seat. A few kilometers later you will find the deviation to the left to reach the waterfall of Minas Viejas. Right where the entrance to the waterfall is you can park your car in one of the three parking spots that locals operate here.
What are the Minas Viejas waterfalls?
A paradisiacal green place to camp with a couple of gigantic waterfalls, with a spectacular drop of approximately 45 to 50 meters of water forming a pair of white veils. The now petrified waterfall on the right is, where you can now do a 50m rappel, ending directly in the water below. In case you want to do rappel you will need to book a tour from Ciudad Valles, so you get here with guides and equipment, during high season (Semana Santa, Summer) you may find local guides there that can do a rappel with you - but not guaranteed! It has a pair of main pools with an emerald green watercolor that will bring out the best photographer in you. Also, you can wander a bit from the big waterfalls downstream to get to know some smaller waterfalls and the almost empty river downstream, which is equally beautiful.
Some surfaces, especially below the waterfalls and close to the water are slippery
It has toilets close to the parking spots, and at the viewpoint before getting to the pools (Charge 5 pesos)
Parking in case you come with your own car is charged by the locals around 20 Pesos
Camping area, you will need to bring your own camping gear though
There are places where you can jump, let a guide or local security instruct you
Do not get directly under the rappelling area, to prevent getting hit by falling stones
Sometimes with heavy rain, the terrain can turn slippery during your rappel, be careful
The steps leading down to the waterfalls are long and will get you heated up. Be careful when jumping into the cold water
On the steps, you can find a variety of snacks and drinks to buy
You can wear shorts, leggings, a bikini or a wetsuit in case you visit in winter
Wear comfortable water shoes with a good sole.
Don't forget to secure your glasses with a lace in case you occupy them in the water if you can leave them much better. If you wear contact lenses, be aware that sometimes they move when jumping into the water. (tell your guide)
Protip: Come prepared and bring a dry box or bag for your money, phone, and camera.
You can buy a waterproof case for your phone, just be aware that they are cheap and therefore not always 100% waterproof.
You can use a waterproof camera with a floating device.
Take care of your cell phone or camera when jumping into the water.
A good postcard photo is the waterfalls, on the swing, and jumping the waterfalls downstream.
Security on my trip?
It is very important to follow the indications of guides or local helpers as they are the people who know the area best.
Avoid activities if you are in a drunken state.
Minas Viejas as a place can be visited without a guide following regulations at all times. For the rappelling activity, it is necessary to book a tour operator as it requires equipment and professional staff to do this activity.
Wear your life jacket provided by your local guide or tour operator at all times.
Important to bring is a personal kit in the car designated for first aid during the trip.
If you panic during water activities or height and don't feel safe, avoid the activity that makes you uncomfortable. There will be another time and another way to enjoy the place 😊
There is a wide variety of animals and plants, please do not disturb them and do not leave the marked paths, always follow the signs.
Decisiveness is needed when jumping to avoid landing wrong. Jump whenever you want to and feel safe. If you don't jump don't worry, it will be on the next adventure.
Where can I eat?
On the way to the waterfalls, you will find all kinds of small snacks and drinks.
During our work in Minas Viejas, we go to know a place called 'Mama Olis' just upstairs the waterfalls next to the parking lots. She has great, cheap daily meals with variety. All home cooked by her and perfect if you want to try some local delicacies. It is your best choice for a full meal after a whole day of adventure.
Which transportation and lodgings are suitable for this expedition?
The closest lodgings to Minas Viejas are the eco-camp of Bel-Ha, just 10 min away by car with basic tent-like accommodation and food. Also, the Hotel by Huasteca Secreta in 'El Salto del Meco' is just 30 min away and one of our all-time favorites when visiting this region. If you want to visit different places in the Huasteca maybe Ciudad Valles is also still a good option for you.
Public transport is very difficult here, we recommend you to take your car if you go on your own or hire a tour operator that will take you from the comfort of your accommodation.
On the way to Minas Viejas,, the road is very bumpy and not in good condition due to all the sugar cane trucks passing through here. Take your precautions and also make sure you check your car before driving as there is no gasstation or repair service close by.