Hidden Paradise close to San Luis Potosi: Amparo Waterfall
If you enjoy hidden and secret places without any tourism or people around, then this little waterfall in the desertic region close to the city of San Luis Potosi is ideal for you.
How to get to Santa Maria Del Rio
From San Luis Potosi you first have to get to the village Santa Maria del Rio which is about 46 km away. The road that takes you there is Highway 57 Mexico-Laredo with direction to Mexico City. You can either go by car or take a bus which leaves approximately every half an hour from the Central Station in San Luis Potosi. The bus will stop in many little towns and takes more or less an hour to get to Santa Maria del Rio.
Leaving the city of San Luis Potosi which is very plane, soon you will see and feel that the road and the surrounding rocks become mountainous and will have different reliefs. That is why in some areas you will find hidden valleys and little waterfalls where you do not expect them.
Santa Maria Del Rio
Santa Maria del Rio is a small village and known for its handmade colourful scarves named “rebozos”. This tradition with oriental origins started in the 16th century when indigenous women had to cover their hair in order to be able to enter the sacred temples. The first scarves were made out of cotton and later they used silk and wool. You can find many different designs and colours in town.
In the centre of this small town you will find numerous shops selling those traditional scarves and also many food stands with typical food from the region. Right in the centre there is also a Franciscan Monastery with a Sundial which tells the hour of the day by the position of the sun in the sky.
Because of those traditions that have been preserved over many years, the village Santa Maria del Río is now postulating to become a “Pueblo Mágico”. In Mexico there are about 80 “magic villages” that are promoted by Mexico´s Secretariat of Tourism and which are distinctive in either natural beauty, culture or historically.
Once you get to Santa Maria del Rio, you need to find the street “Manuel Jose Othon” which leads you directly to the Amparo Church. Just ask people on the street if you do not find the street. Everyone in this town is very friendly and will help you with directions and explanations. This street starts and the centre of the village and leads you out of town where the street begins to become a dirt road, but still okay for a car to drive on. If you do not have a car, you can either take a taxi or walk more or less 3 kilometres from the centre.
You will know that you are there when you see the Amparo church and a dam. Until now it is still impossible to see the waterfall. First you need to go down to the church. Standing in front of the church you will see a little track going up the rocks. Follow this path which leads you first to the top of the rock formation. From up there you will see a little valley with cacti and some trees and if you listen carefully you will already hear the waterfall. Again you will see a little track going down the rocks. Follow this track which will lead you to the left side of the valley. From here you will be able to see the waterfall and now you only need to climb some stones to reach the Amparo waterfall.
This waterfall is approximately 25 meters high and creates a little pool on the foot of the rock. The water is crystal clear and has the perfect temperature that invites you to just refresh yourself after this trip on the desertic roads of San Luis Potosi. In the water you will see little fishes of different kinds and colours. On the left hand side of the waterfall there is a cave you can enter and from where you also have a beautiful sight of the waterfall and the pool. If you are adventurous, you can climb up the rocks and jump into the water.
This place is very hidden and not many people know about it, even people from the village close by. That is why the chance of being all by yourself is very high.
The peace and quietness of the place are ideal for making a picnic, meditation, doing yoga or simply relaxing in the nature with the sound of the water and cicadas singing close by.
At night time if it is not cloudy, you will be able to see the most beautiful starry sky, because remember: even though you can see and hear water, you are still in the desert!
And what could be more beautiful than finding yourself in a hidden Oasis in the desert, water splashing down the rocks and admiring the stars that look like little diamonds in the sky.
Once you decide to make your way back, you can take advantage of taking some pictures of the Amparo Church which is one of very few churches you will find in the desert.
Returning to the village, you can try some of the typical meals of the regions such as: nopales en escabeche (cactus leafs marinated and cooked in vinegar with onions), Carnitas (pork meat cooked in a big pot for hours and normally served with coriander, salsas, onions and tortillas), barbacoa (Mexican barbecue), el asado de boda (pork meat spiced with a special salsa), camote con piloncillo (Mexican sweet potatoe desert with brown sugar) and coloche (licour made of the cactus fruit “Tuna”) and buy some souvenirs like Dulce de leche (typical sweet made out of milk), Queso de Tuna (sweet made out of the cactus fruit Tuna) or Membrillo (quince cheese).
So on this short trip you can combine nature and Mexican culture in a place that is still not very well known between tourists and therefore very pure and authentic.