When I mentioned I was going to Mexico, many people asked, “Are you going to Cabo or Cancun?”
“I’m going to San Luis Potosi,” I replied.
“San Luis who?” they would say.
Overall, people don’t have a true sense of what’s really in Mexico. That aside, everyone I talk to is also filled with Mexican fear. Even my savvy travel friends told me to be careful, as if I were vacationing with the cartel.
Rafting down the Tampaon River (Photo: Huaxteca)
I was headed to Mexico, because the Adventure Travel Trade Association was putting on its annual Adventure Travel México (ATMEX) conference in the state of Chiapas. Our job prior to the conference, as members of ATTA’s adventure tribe, was to flex our adventure muscle and explore a lesser known region of Mexico.
Mexico has 31 states, and San Luis Potosi is one of them. Mexicans frequented it, but it’s relatively off the radar for foreigners. We were headed to the Huasteca region of the state, where the uniquely female-owned and -operated tour company Huaxteca was set to show us an adventure in Mexico’s hidden Eden.
We started off with an easy adventure, breezing through class III rapids on the turquoise-colored Tampaon River. Steep lush green hills and impressive skyscraping stone walls flanked us on either side.
An hour and a half into rafting, with the rapids behind us, our guide, Enrique, said we could get into the water. It was a fun, fast float for a half-hour down the river, stopping at a cold spring along the way. Once we reached our destination, we climbed over wet mossy rocks, through the bush, and cliff-jumped our way back into the water. Nothing was normal with these people. Every adventure had a twist.
Trekking through the falls (Photo: Huaxteca)
Our extraordinary adventure continued in an epic way by diving with the Descubre El Buceo company in Media Luna. It came complete with a tree for climbing while underwater.
The next day, we walked to the Micos River for a series of highly anticipated waterfall jumps. With our adventure egos and macho bravado firmly intact, I finally addressed the white elephant in the room by admitting my apprehension to our guide. I had never waterfall jumped, nor had anyone else. The falls were large and thunderous, and you couldn’t quit halfway in. One jump meant you committed to the remaining six.
Karen faced her fears by waterfall jumping in San Luis Potosi. (Photo: Huaxteca)
A fellow adventurer knew that I used to teach comedy in prison and nervously quipped to me, “We need prison names.” So I quickly doled out names to our newly formed adventure gang while the Huaxteca crew passed out life preservers. Both were equally necessary to survive the day. We embraced our new name and persona and immediately felt an extra edge for the next leg of our adventure. Baby D, JD, Cat Woman, and Blackie (me) jumped off seven falls ranging from 3 feet to 26 feet. We landed in pillowy pools of water, were pulled into rapids and eddies, climbed into caves, roped across currents, and scrambled our way up slippery hills.
The gang’s epic adventures continued as we rappelled 150 feet down a cliff, alongside Minas Viejas waterfall. Hearing the gang yell, “Blackie!” while I rappelled or swung into a cave, not a wall, was the tough love I needed to complete the rappel.
Ready to rappel by Minas Viejas waterfall (Photo: Huaxteca)
I had a serious adrenaline drip coursing through my veins for four days straight. The mix of fear, fun, nervous giggles, gang camaraderie, the adventure edge, and the unrivaled natural beauty made the experience unique. It made San Luis Potosi unlike any place I have ever been.
Gang formed, fears faced, adventures accomplished. Next!
WATCH: Take a Look Inside Huasteca: