Tamazunchale in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí is one of the most undiscovered jewels in Mexico. Like most jewels, you have to look to find it. Tamazunchale's charms, however, are hidden from view. At first glance, there is little to recommend Tamazunchale to the average tourist, or even the above average tourist. Like many of Mexico's hidden jewels, you have to look deeper to appreciate Tamazunchale.
Tamazunchale used to be an important stop for tourists driving from the US border to Mexico City. It's on the old Pan American Highway (MEX-85), south of Cd. Valles and the turnoff to Xilitla. Tamazunchale is in the mountains, about 3 hours south of Cd. Valles and 3 hours north of Pachuca in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. Because of the winding two-lane road (which should never be driven at night) and the early morning fogs that blanket this Husateca region, drivers often stopped here before heading south to Pachuca and Mexico City. The nicest hotel in town is the Sierra Huasteca Inn, just north of the bridge going into town. It has good Internet, ample rooms and secure parking. You'll see a sign for them just as you round the bend before town starts. You turn right just beyond.
Tamazunchale is a birder's heaven. There are hundreds of species of birds that live here. Many unique species are year-round residents and hundreds of others come for the winter. Rudy can show you where they are. Wild orchids fill the surrounding forests. The people are the nicest you'd ever want to meet. There are many indigenous people here, (Huasteca, Nahuat and Otomi), who still wear traditional clothing (though modern jeans and shirts are becoming the norm). The markets in Tamazunchale are remarkable for the native handicrafts that you won't find anywhere else in Mexico.
If you happen to be here on the Day of the Dead, you will see competitions between the villages in the mountains. They come down to the big city to compete.
My good friend Rodolfo Jonguitud Reyes (Rudy) can guide you to the orchid forests, Indian villages where he is permitted to bring guests, camp out on top of the world and show you this jewel of the Sierras that few people know.
He can take you on trips by Jeep high into the mountains. You will see natural beauty as you never expected. You can visit small villages where Nahuatl Indians still live a simple, rural life.
Rudy has been honored for his humanitarian work with the Nahuat Indians in the area. He was given an award by a new university in the area when he presented a conference on native health.
Hillary Clinton heard of the stove project of Rudy's, and while Rudy did not get any credit, Ms. Clinton and other dignitaries dedicated a humble stove factory in nearby Cd. Valles. Rudy uses most of the money he makes from touring to help his people. One of his projects is to make a stove that enables people to cook inside and not have to breathe the wood fumes that cause pulmonary disorders.
Tamazunchale now even has its own web site