Monday, August 17, 2009

Huasca de Ocampo

I'm always ready to hop in the car on the weekends and see what's outside Mexico City, but Nick usually wants to chill in DF. You see, there's a mountain of difference between being the passenger (me) and being the driver in Mexico (always Nick because I'm too chicken). As a passenger, I can gaze lovingly at the mountains or gawk at what everyone's selling on the side of the road. Nick, on the other hand, focuses his attention on avoiding an accident while trying to feign interest in my "Ooh, we should stop and buy some of those mangoes they're selling" or "You don't want to stop and grab something to eat here?" comments. So, on the rare occasion that Nick suggests we go somewhere, I know it's a much needed vacation.

On my mental list of places to visit I put Huasca de Ocampo in Hidalgo state as a lovely day trip destination. I read about it once in some obscure publication, and the pictures of waterfalls enchanted me. AND, per my obsession with Pueblo Mágicos, I was very excited to visit Huasca, Mexico's first designated Pueblo Mágico and also close to Real del Monte, another Pueblo Mágico. Since Huasca is a one-with-nature kind of place, we booked a cabin, packed our bug spray and were off.

Amazingly, Huasca is still so undeveloped that we had to take an unpaved road for approximately 5 kilometers before reaching our cabin. Upon rolling into our cozy weekend home, El Huariche, we got giddy about having the chance to fish, sit on green grass, see the stars, and not hear a single unnatural sound.

The road to Huasca de Ocampo

The first thing we did was fish, but after two hours, we lost our patience. Nick did catch some things but nothing edible. Just a plastic cup and two branches. :) My brother -- the most prolific fisherman I know -- would have been embarrassed by my technique and our use of Serrano ham as bait. For the rest of the day, we picnicked on a patch of green grass and relaxed with our books. Grass is one thing I miss A LOT living in a land of concrete.

Our 'lil cabaña Mariposa

We're renting this tree house next time. 'Cuz how many times in your life do you get the chance?

Fishing made me realize I have the patience of a 10-year-old.

If it's there, why not light it?

The next day, we went to the Primas de Basálticos to see the famed waterfalls and unique rock formations. It was one of the most amazing geological phenomena I have ever seen! Cut down into a canyon are columns of polygon-shaped basalt flows that look like they were chiseled by hand and then placed side-by-side. Thanks to Wiki, I learned that this is a very rare geological phenomenon called Columnar Jointed Basalt.

I looked down and almost didn't make it across.

Photography tip #1: Slowing your camera's shutter speed can make you look like a pro. :)

And, on the way out, we swung by Real del Monte to preview our next road trip. Remnants of old mining equipment still dot the town, and the colorful town square reminded me of what Guanajuato might have looked like before the tourist/expat invasion. Pastes were everywhere, so we stuffed ourselves with these butter bombs, and happily made our way back to our crazy city lives.

Our next road trip -- Real del Monte, Hidalgo


  1. Ahh this has been on my list for a while for a weekend road trip! Glad to hear rocks were as cool in person as they look on the website... Keep us posted if you want company for the next Hidalgo run... :)

  2. They were VERY cool. We are planning to coordinate a camping/cabin-ing trip for the fall so will let you know when we go. The only thing that bothered me about Huasca were these stinging insects that punctured little, bloody holes all over my body :)

  3. Alice,

    Don't you know you can only catch Mexican fish using day old tortillas? (LOL) Seriously, all the people I've encountered in Chapala, only fish with tortillas and it has to be stale tortillas.

  4. When we went snorkeling in Cabo, they, too, swear by old tortillas to attract the fish. Unfortunately, serrano ham was all we had.