San Luis Potosi (state)

San Luis Potosi is a state in the Bajío.


San Luis Potosí has three distinct regions with different climate, culture and history. They are

Central Plateau

The Altiplano is a high desert with high mountain ranges and a moderate climate although it can have snowstorms in the winter. It boasts some of the most diverse varieties of cacti found anywhere. The advent of the railroad extended advancement from the capital of the state to the other parts of the Altiplano.

The native Guachichiles occupied the largest territory of the Chichimecas (a generic term for less civilized tribes of the north) but have been greatly impacted by development of the region. The Huichol are thought to be originally from San Luis Potosí and engage in an annual migration to Real de Catorce.

Although plateau or altiplano might indicate that this region is flat, it is far from it. High mountain ranges are found throughout the Altiplano and many of the towns are located adjacent to them.

Capital City

Unlike the rest of the Altiplano, the residents in the Capital City region mainly live in cities.

The mines spurred the early development of the city of San Luis Potosí. It played an important part in the war for Mexican independence along with other mining centers. In the War of Reform, the city was for a short time the capital of the country. The Mexican Revolution began with the escape of Francisco Madero from prison in San Luis Potosí.

The capital is one of the best in Mexico for colonial architecture. It is known for its strong artistic tradition. The Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Instituto de Cultura de San Luis Potosí have sponsored the Premio Nacional de Cuento (National Story Prize) over the last 20 years to encourage good writers. An active music community has led to the recent founding of the Orquesta Sinfónica de San Luis Potosí.

Huasteca Potosina

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 twenty 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 in more recent years, kayakers have discovered the rivers and waterfalls.

Río Verde Valley

The Sierra Madre Oriental separates the Río Verde Valley and the Huasteca Potosina. Several mountain ranges to the west separate the Río Verde Valley from the Altiplano or Central Plateau. The region has extensive valleys between these mountain ranges that boast very fertile soil.

The vegetation includes oak, pine, popular and walnut trees. Some areas are volcanic along with the limestone of the Huasteca Potosina.

The main native group in this region is the Pames who still maintain their culture and language.


Other destinations

Archaeological Sites

Both of the archeological parks are located near the town of Tamuín, just east of Ciudad Valles.

Protected Natural Areas

Central Plateau

Capital City

Huasteca Potosina

Get in

By plane

Aeropuerto Internacional Pociano A. is the only airport in the city of San Luis Potosí. It is a really small airport for a medium city. Having only 2 gates and only two international inbound/outbound destinations (Dallas and Houston) and only one daily national destination (Mexico City). It is served by Aeromar, Aeromexico, Aerolitoral, American Airlines and United. The closest large airport to the eastern part of the state is Tampico. Both have car rentals. There is a smaller airport in Tamuin just east of Ciudad Valles. Commercial flights started in Tamuin just a few years ago with flights to the border and San Luis Potosí.

By car

The major highways are the Old Pan American Highway (85) that runs along the coastal plain and through Ciudad Valles. Another is the Olympic Highway from Laredo to Mexico City which travels the central plateau and passes through San Luis Potosí. There is a new highway running from San Luis Potosí to Rioverde and the remaining part to Ciudad Valles is currently under construction.

By train

A major railroad runs north-south through San Luis Potosí. Another railroad connects Ciudad Valles to Tampico and to San Luis Potosí in the other direction. These are freight railroads, but a lot of migrants from central america hitch rides on the train on their journey north to the U.S. If you're adventurous you could always join the campesinos.

By bus

There is extensive bus service running both major north-south highways as well as local buses and taxis. You can use Greyhound in the USA to get to San Luis Potosi cheaply, especially if coming from the regions that border Mexico. Bus companies:

Get around

Within the state, bus, automobile, and taxis are the primary source of travel. Buses are listed above. Rental Cars are available only in the city of San Luis Potosí. Taxis are available throughout the state.




Central Plateau

Capital City

Huasteca Potosina

Río Verde Valley

Pame festivals

Protected Historical Areas

The center of the city of San Luis Potosí has been declared a "centro de monumentos históricos." Some of the buildings that have been preserved are the Museo Federico Silva (modern sculpture), the Museo Nacional de la Máscara (National Museum of the Mask), the old Penitenciaría and the Teatro de la Paz (Peace Theatre).


Central Plateau

Capital City

Huasteca Potosina

There are many springs. Taninul is a warm springs that has been developed into a swimming pool with a resort hotel. There is also a small cave with some climbing routes. Often, the springs are called nacimientos or ojos.

Río Verde Valley

Laguna de la Media Luna (Lake of the Half Moon) is a clear spring-fed lake. Scuba diving and camping are available. Other springs are


Huasteca Potosina

Sótano de los Golondrinas (Pit Cave of the Swallows) is the most well-known cave. The swallows spiral up out of the cave every morning and retun every evening. For cavers it is a 1100 foot vertical descent to the floor of the cave. There are many caves in this area including

Río Verde Valley

Grutas de Catedral is the most well-known cave and does not require special equipment. Other caves


Huasteca Potosina

Cascada de Tamul is a 345 foot waterfall where the Río Gallinas pours over the canyon wall into the Río Santa Maria, forming the Río Tampoan. Travertine forms many waterfalls in this region, including

Río Verde Valley


Capital City

Valle de los Fantasmas (Valley of the Ghosts) is a rock formation that has a ghostly look under a full moon. It is located near the highway from San Luis Potosí to Rioverde.

Huasteca Potosina

Puente de Dios, El Trampolín and Balneario Cascadas de Tamasopo is an area of springs, grottos and waterfalls.

Puente de Dios (Río Tampoan) is a travertine bridge located a short distance upstream of the mouth of the Río Tampoan. A short paddle (or swim) on flatwater or raft trip through the canyon allows access to the travertine bridge and the pools that form on top for about half the year.


Many activities are possible at attractions listed under See, such as hiking, caving, rappelling, kayaking, swimming, tubing, etc.


the enchiladas potosinas and the meat"Cesina".and also "Pipian".


The Capital of San Luis Potosi is Awesome for night life. There are great clubs such as Mantra, Play, Roush.

Go next

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