Huasteca Potosina is in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The Huasteca Potosina is part of the region called "la Huasteca" which includes parts of neighboring states. La Huasteca is the region historically occupied by the Huastec people, though today, the Huastec population is far smaller than it was at its peak. The Huasteca Potosina is a region known for its remote location and rugged terrain. It is an area that remains lightly populated with an enduring indigenous identity.
- 1 Aquismón – One of several towns in the heart of the Huastec, Aquismon is also the stepping off point to Sotano de las Golodrinas and the southern access to Cascada Tamul.
- 2 Ciudad Valles – Largest city of the region and commercial and cultural center. It lies on the Old Pan-American Highway, the first paved road to traverse Mexico from north to south. Ciudad Valles is found in the wide valley between the first two ridges of the Sierra Madre.
- 3 Tamazunchale – The largest town in the Nahua region is on the Rio Moctezuma at the foot of the Sierra Madre.
- 4 Tamuín - Small town east of Ciudad Valles, site of two Huastec archaeological sites
- 5 Xilitla – Sir Edward James created the surrealistic Las Pozas here, but it required the ingenuity and work of local residents to carry out. The artistic tradition continues to grow as other artists are attracted to this village.
Two archeological parks focusing on ancient Huastec cities are located near the town of Tamuín, just east of Ciudad Valles.
- 1 Tamohi (also known as El Consuelo) – An older site where several sculptures and a colorful altar were found.
- 2 Tamtoc – It was discovered at the end of the 19th century. Its excavation beginning in 2001 has resulted in a reevaluation of the Huastec culture and a surprising dominance of women at this site. A calendar and ball park are part of the discoveries.
Protected natural areas
- Reserva de Tancojol
- Reserva Forestal Nacional Porción Boscosa del Estado de San Luis Potosí
- Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra El Abra Tanchipa
The coastal plain and eastern Sierra Madre is called the Huasteca Potosina which is still inhabited by the Huastec (Tének) and Nahua. The climate is hot with strong rains in the summer monsoon season. The vegetation is tropical with parrots and parakeets. The geology is limestone karst with numerous underground rivers feeding springs, sinks, world-renowned caves, gorgeous waterfalls and turquoise-hued rivers. The prevalence of tropical diseases led to slow development of the region until modern times which allowed the native culture to be preserved. The Huastec split off from the Maya before the flowering of that culture and are one of the oldest still-existing cultures in Mexico. The most well-known tribe of Nahuatl speakers is the Culhua-Mexica of the Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco City-States,who are often just labeled as Aztecs,in other words the people or inhabitants of Aztlan,the original and legendary homeland for all Nahuatl speakers.
The heart of the Huastec region is south of Ciudad Valles in the rugged mountains jutting from the coastal plains in a place where there are many nacimientos (springs) that supplied water. Their Tének language has helped trace their origin to the Maya before their ascendency, passing in their migration through the Olmec, the mother culture of the pre-hispanic Mexican civilization, and then through the Totonac to settle in the Panuco basin. There are about 90,000 Huastec and in one municipality (county) 90% speak Tenek.
Nahuatl is spoken by about 130,000 people in San Luis Potosí. They are concentrated around Tamazunchale and to the south in the state of Hildago where 23% are monolingual Nahuatl speakers.
While 90% of the Huastec are located in only 11 of the 20 municipalities that form the Huasteca Potosina, their influence is felt throughout the region which takes great pride in their culture.
The Huasteca Potosina is a fairly popular tourist area for Mexicans but remains unknown to foreign tourists that primarily head to Mexican beaches. Cavers have long been drawn to this area, and kayakers have discovered the rivers and waterfalls.
There is no airport in the Huasteca Potosina region. The nearest airports with commercial flights are San Luis Potosi SLP IATA or Tampico TAM IATA. International visitors can fly to Mexico City MEX IATA and make a connecting flight, or can take a bus to Ciudad Valles (the largest city in the Huasteca Potosina) or Xilitla.
The two best gateway cities for the Huasteca Potosina would be Ciudad Valles or Xilitla. Ciudad Valles is served by first-class long-distance bus lines, and Xilitla is primarily served by second-class buses. Both cities have hotels and restaurants to serve traveler needs though Ciudad Valles is the larger of the two cities and has a better choice of traveler services. From these cities, you can arrange day trips to the region's parks, biosphere reserves, small towns, and archaeological sites.
- Ciudad Valles - about 4 hours by first-class bus from San Luis Potosi (M$600). Autonaves buses (Grupo Vencedor) depart hourly from San Luis Potosi. Futura Select and Omnibus de Mexico each have 2 buses per day and Estrella Blanca has 3 buses per day. Tampico is about 3 hours by first-class bus from Ciudad Valles, Autonaves buses operate hourly between the two cities (M$300).
- Xilitla - about 4 hours by second-class bus from Tampico on Grupo Vencedor (M$400), buses depart 4 times per day. About 7 hours from San Luis Potosi by Grupo Vencedor second-class bus (M$500), 3 buses per day.
The Careterra Nacional (MEX 85) is the major north-south highway through the region. The highway can be used to drive from Mexico City or from the U.S. border.
There is a dish named Sacahuil that is a chili made with chicken or beef, formed as a big "Tamal", made with corn and steamed in a banana leaf wrapping.