Nestled just an hour away from Ciudad Valles in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Cascadas de Tamasopo was my very first stop in La Huasteca Potosina. My first taste of the beauty La Huasteca Potosina had to offer, I was enthralled. Cascadas de Tamasopo is composed of three stunning cascades and pools for swimming. There’s recreational area and a hiking trail to overlook the waterfalls as well. Not only is Cascadas de Tamasopo a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, it’s also one of the more easily accessible destinations in San Luis Potosi.
Little known to us, a group of friends we’d notice at Cascadas de Tamasopo we’d later encounter at Jardin Surrealista Edward James in Xilitla. They ended up becoming some of best people we met in La Huasteca Potosina, but that’s story for another post.
Not only is Cascadas de Tamasopo a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, it’s also one of the easier attractions to reach in San Luis Potosi.
HOW TO GET TO CASCADAS DE TAMASOPO
The most flexible way to reach Cascadas de Tamasopo is by renting a car in San Luis Potosi and driving yourself. Rentals cars are readily available at Ponciano Arriaga International Airport (SLP) and can easily be reserved online by clicking here. Be warned that the airport in San Luis Potosi is very small (it only has two gates) and as a result, you may have to call a number at the rental car desk for an employee to come. I recommend building in extra time just in case there is a delay in obtaining your rental car.
We flew into San Luis Potosi a bit nervous that the roads were going to be awful, but as much of the road between SLP and Ciudad Valles is toll and operated by a private company, they were actually some of the nicest roads we encountered in all of Mexico. The drive to Ciudad Valles is far from boring, and filled with dense groves of Joshua Trees as far as the eye can see, and sweeping mountain views. We went to Cascadas de Tamasopo on our way into Ciudad Valles, as it’s naturally along the route. You will have to pay a toll exiting the main road to get down into the village of Tamasopo, the waterfalls are located a few kilometers past the main village. Directions on Google Maps will get you there fine, but there are clearly marked signs throughout the main roads of the village to direct you there as well. If you’re using Google Maps, make sure you download offline maps for the whole of San Luis Potosi. You’ll thank me later. The road to reach the waterfalls is dirt, but it is decently maintained compared to other dirt roads in La Huasteca Potosina.
My recommendation while driving through La Huasteca Potosina is always to rent a high clearance vehicle if possible for destinations such as Cascada de Tamul and Cascada El Salto, but you’ll be just fine in a small rental car driving down the roads to Cascadas de Tamasopo. I would recommend leaving the waterfalls before sunset. The road to descend into Tamasopo is not awful, but it is cliffside and requires a few tight turns. We stayed until 5pm or so just as the sun was starting to fall, and were totally okay navigating.
When you exit Tamasopo to get back onto the road to Ciudad Valles, the toll attendant will give you a ticket to avoid paying the toll again when you reach Ciudad Valles. Tolls in San Luis Potosi are rather minimal but they do stack up quickly. Make sure you always have small bills and change with you to pay them.
There are a few tours you can book online to go to Cascadas de Tamasopo. These tours will pick you up from Ciudad Valles, and take you to Tamasopo, where you’ll be able to visit Cascadas de Tamasopo and Puente de Dios (also in Tamasopo, unfortunately I didn’t have time for this one). These tours can be a bit pricey when booked online, if you’re staying in Ciudad Valles, I recommend contacting your hotel in advance and asking if they know of a tour operator in the area who can bring you. As tourism isn’t as heavily built up in La Huasteca Potosina as it is in the rest of Mexico, many tour operators are completely local and rely on word of mouth and proximity rather than online sales. Local guides are rather inexpensive and I found when visiting that they were really passionate and about the places they show off.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t recommend booking a tour to visit Cascadas de Tamasopo. Getting there is rather straightforward, and the waterfalls have been built up with plenty of staff, life jacket rentals, bathrooms, a snack bar, a restaurant, paved trails, waterfall jumping platforms, and ropes courses. Save the money, and put it towards guides for other attractions such as the secret waterfall hike and jumping at Cascada El Meco.
WHEN TO VISIT CASCADAS DE TAMASOPO
The best time to visit Cascadas de Tamasopo is anytime you can get away to go. I visited in January, so it was much colder than it would be in the summer, but it was still in the high 70s, beautiful weather, and warm enough for us to want to swim and enjoy the water.
The property is open 8am to 6pm. I visited in the late afternoon and had the luxury of very few other people at the waterfalls. I have heard that this particular attraction can get very busy, as it is well developed and has waters safe and shallow enough for children with lifeguards at times. For that reason, I’d recommend going on a weekday if you’d like to visit in the afternoon, or going early in the morning if you’re planning to visit on a weekend. When you visit, you may notice that many signs are written in three languages: Spanish, English, and an indigenous language. Over half of the indigenous people in Tamasopo speak an indigenous language native to the Huasteca Potosina, those languages mainly being Nahuatl and Pame. Nahuatl is an Uto-Aztecan language, while Pame is Oto-Manguean.
CASCADAS DE TAMASOPO ADMISSION
Admission at Cascadas de Tamasopo is 40 pesos per person (a steal at $2 USD), and 30 pesos to park ($1.50 USD). Life jacket rental is an additional 30 pesos, and it is required if you want to jump from the platform at one of the waterfalls. Note that the life jacket fee isn’t always enforced, and there have been reports of people also paying 100 pesos per person ($5 USD) and 50 pesos to park ($2.50 USD).
Cash is an absolute necessity in all of La Huasteca Potosina, but especially at Cascadas de Tamasopo. You’ll need cash for parking, admission, life jacket rental, and concessions or souvenirs if you so choose. I personally don’t recall seeing an ATM at Cascadas de Tamasopo, so I would recommend getting cash at the SLP airport when you land, and using the ATMs at the Chedraui in Ciudad Valles if you need to withdraw during your trip to the Huasteca Potosina. Chedraui is usually a safe bet for cash withdrawal anywhere in Mexico, as there’s security and they’re less likely to fall victim to ATM scams than standalone machines. Always withdraw at the airport, a bank, or a Chedraui when withdrawing cash in Mexico, and be sure to check the card slot for any extra devices that shouldn’t be on the ATM.
Cascadas de Tamasopo is most fun if you’re in or over the water, so be sure to pack your swimsuit. Unlike some Huasteca Potosina attractions, you may be able to find a small vendor in Tamasopo selling water essentials such as swimsuits and towels, or you may be able to find them at the Cascadas de Tamasopo gift shop should you forget, but I wouldn’t rely on it.
A towel might seem obvious if you’re swimming, but I’ve forgotten to bring one on more than one occasion while in La Huasteca Potosina. Keep one in the car, so you’re never driving for hours wet.
Water shoes are really a must at Cascadas de Tamasopo. The pools underneath the waterfalls are rocky and dirty, making them difficult, uncomfortable and a little bit slippery to walk on (trust me, I have more than enough footage of me writhing in pain trying to walk on them). The small vendors in Tamasopo likely have water shoes, but if you don’t want to chance it, order ahead and bring them with! Water shoes are rather inexpensive online, and a great investment for adventure travelers.
Water is more readily available at Cascadas de Tamasopo than many attractions thanks to the restaurants and snack bar on the property. I still prefer to bring my own wherever I go, so I know I’ll have it! In Mexico, it’s important to make sure the water you’re drinking is bottled, whether it’s yours or you’re at a restaurant. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of bottled water on the environment, I recommend purchasing large jugs of water and pouring into a reusable bottle, or purchasing a personal water filter for your reusable bottle. Just note that what makes water harmful in Mexico is microscopic bacteria rather than dirt particles or otherwise, so your personal filter needs to be able to have the capability to purify bacteria. Personally, I wouldn’t risk it with a water filter rather than bottled water.
The property being entirely outdoors, you’re going to have sun exposure. I recommend using a biodegradable sunscreen so as to be mindful of the natural environment and aquatic life.
Being nestled in the rainforest with pools of water, Cascadas de Tamasopo is buggy. The hiking trail to to the overlook over the waterfalls leads you up into the thick of the trees, and you’ll definitely want bug spray if you decide to head up there (I recommend it, as it’s a short, easy walk uphill). I usually bring bug spray along with me on any adventure travel trips, but if you happen to forget it or prefer to buy it in Mexico, you’re likely to find it at a Chedraui.
If you look closely, you’ll see bugs from the moment you park at Cascadas de Tamasopo. We ran into tons of fire ants carrying leaves in organized lines all over the parking lot. As someone a bit squeamish when it comes to bugs, it was equally fascinating and terrifying.
Due to its easy accessibility, athletic shoes aren’t really a must at Cascadas de Tamasopo, and you should be okay in sandals. Slipping wet feet into tennis shoes is never ideal, and sandals are the most convenient option as you’ll need to walk on land to get between waterfalls and pools. I didn’t have sandals readily available so I ended up trying to walk around the property barefoot, but the rocks and dirt made it far less than comfortable. Outdoor/hiking sandals are probably your best bet here (admittedly, not my usual style) due to the mud and rocks, save the fashion sandals for dinner. Think footwear brands such as Teva and Birkenstock. Easily cleanable is best.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR CASCADAS DE TAMASOPO
CIUDAD VALLES HOTELS
While visiting La Huasteca, both camping and hotels are popular accommodation options. If you prefer the comfort of a hotel, you can choose to stay at hotels near the attraction you’re visiting and keep moving between hotels, or you can book a hotel in Ciudad Valles for the duration of your visit. Personally, I recommend booking a hotel in Ciudad Valles for the duration of your trip as it’s central to attractions in the region and you’ll avoid the stress of having to pack up and check in and out every day. Attractions in the Huasteca Potosina tend to be a few hours of driving from each other, so it was convenient to be central as not to drive more than 3 hours between attractions.
While staying in Ciudad Valles, I stayed at Hotel Casa Ortiz, an environmentally concious, charming boutique hotel, and loved it. Click here to read more about Hotel Casa Ortiz, or for more Ciudad Valles hotel options, click here.
Alternatively, there are several hotels in Tamasopo and nearby Agua Buena. Some of these hotels are unavailable or difficult to book online, but many do have phone numbers you can try calling for availability. To discover some of the hotels in Tamasopo, click here.
CAMPING AT CASCADAS DE TAMASOPO
If you prefer to camp or are living the van life, there are several campsites in Tamasopo for you. Unfortunately, Cascadas de Tamasopo does not have a campground on the property. Campamento Puente de Dios is located at nearby Puente de Dios, or Tamasopo Inn Cabañas y Campamento is located slightly closer to Cascadas de Tamasopo.
MORE TO DO IN LA HUASTECA POTOSINA, SAN LUIS POTOSI, MEXICO
Looking for more fun things to do in La Huasteca Potosina? See the list below for more, or click here.
- Cascada de Tamul
- Cascada el Salto / Salto del Agua
- Cascada el Meco
- Jardin Surrealist Edward James / Edward James Surrealist Garden
- Cascadas de Micos
THE BOTTOM LINE
Cascadas de Tamasopo may not be the most dramatic waterfalls you’ll see in La Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi, but that doesn’t take away from their beauty. This waterpark is definitely more beautiful than any I’ve been to in the States, and with low cost of admission, spending an afternoon here relaxing seems like a no brainer.
CASCADAS DE TAMASOPO ESSENTIALS
RECENTLY IN MY CLOSET
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