I Went on This Kick-Ass Adventure and Posted Photos to Make You Jealous

Huaxteca.com

In two days I rafted through a canyon, jumped off six waterfalls, rappelled down a cliff, and intentionally swam right up to a place where several tons of water a second was cascading down. I did all this in a place you’ve probably never heard of, San Luis Potosi.

If you’ve spent any time on Buzzfeed or Upworthy, you will recognize the style of the headline above. It’s called “clickbait” by those of us who publish content and actually care about whether we have a real audience or just eyeballs. But I put that up because I wanted to talk about travel, sharing, adventure, and FOMO. (For those of you, like me, raised before there was texting, that’s “fear of missing out.”)

I run a whole plethora of travel websites and go to a lot of industry conferences to do business and report on travel trends. There’s been a major shift since the advent of the smartphone and wireless data uploading where people are constantly sharing—okay broadcasting—their adventures. There are a lot of unsavory aspects to that, like one-upsmanship, narcicissm, and “I’m here, you’re not” posts just meant to inspire envy. In the luxury world, this sharing has become another on the list of bragging rights. It’s not just enough to stay in the best suite in the fanciest hotel. You also have to show you’re having some special experience nobody else is having.

Rafting Mexico

I’m looking at the silver lining of that though and thinking this can only be a good thing for undiscovered gems like the Huasteca region of San Luis Potosi in Mexico. This inland state that’s one up from where I live in Guanajuato recently hosted a pre-trip for some attendees of the Adventure Travel Mexico conference. I’ve had my eye on this area for ages, thinking it would be a blast, but I was incredibly impressed by how much fun it was it and how authentic it felt in this spot where very few foreigners arrive. And it wasn’t just me. There were a few adventure travel agents on the trip and other writer friends potentially as jaded as me, like Juno Kim, Karen Loftus, and Cathy Brown. “Wow, this totally exceeded my expectations” was the common summary.

The whitewater rafting trip that kicked off Day 1 was one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever been on, and at this point I’ve been rafting at least 20 times. It wasn’t as bone-pounding and death-defying as the one I went on in Nepal one time that was like a two-day roller coaster ride. It was just fun, exciting, and enhanced by gorgeous scenery. The equipment and guides from Huaxteca.com Adventures were both top-notch.

The next day we went waterfall jumping. That’s a real thing. Waterfall jumping.

Huaxteca waterfall

It sounds crazier than it really is. Sure, you put on a helmet and a life jacket and you need to wear water shoes or at least some old sneakers with some tread. That’s because you have to walk over rocks that can be a little slippery before you make the great leap into the air. The landing part is mellower than you would expect though: the water is churning below so it’s a pretty soft landing. Still, you have to hold hands sometimes to walk in a line to get to the edge and that first jump takes a bit of courage…

waterfall jumping San Luis Potosi

Later we got some lessons in how to rappel down a cliff and…we just did it. I can’t say I’m in any hurry to do it again, but I made it. Again, the Huaxteca guides were really professional and patient.

Then we visited a hotel next to this waterfall below. We had a nice meal and hung out a bit, but just looking at it roaring nearby was not enough. If you’re at this Huasteca Secreta Hotel, you are next to a giant eddy between two waterfalls. So you can jump in the water with a life jacket and you drift toward the waterfall. Just before you get to the point where it would pummel you, there are some places to climb out of the water onto a ledge. After catching your breath and trying not to freak out, you swim across the current quickly and then drift down away from the waterfall back to where you started. Crazy sh*t but loads of fun.

Huasteca Secreta adventure

Did I mention that we went scuba diving in a clear lake the next day? Or that I have zero experience in how to scuba dive?

This is just one adventure area of Mexico nobody you know has heard of. If you get away from the coast there are dozens of others in multiple states. If you’re looking for bragging rights and photos that nobody else you know has posted, you don’t have to go very far. Head south and find some real adventure.

Comments
  1. Frank

    Hi Tim. Nice post, looks like a great adventure – I’ve come to love Mexico and have gone several times to the same area because my Mom retired in San Miguel. I’m not a huge fan of San Miguel itself but I found Guanajuato a beauty of a place. It actually made me think I’m somewhere in Italy or Spain.

    Most of my blog audience is American and I find strange the generally negative attitude towards Mexico. Maybe they associate it with the border towns or Acapulco. But the real beauty lies in the geography and beautiful towns of Central Mexico. The people are friendly, the food great, the climate fantastic – and it’s cheap. And like you say, you can still find undiscovered gems in Mexico. If I had it next door I’d want to spend more time there. I’d definitely do the above – had a great time rappelling in the Dominican Republic a few years ago. I’ll look it up when I go to Mexico next year.

    Yes, ‘clickbaiting’. Didn’t know there was a word for it but I’ve seen quite a bit. I guess if I works for TMZ it’ll work in the blogging world. A post I read recently which went something like “why Bangkok isn’t good for anything except drinking and sex’ comes to mind…had tons of comments though. I then I thought ‘wait, the trolls and the bloggers have traded places’. Maybe we all have to dummy down?

    Nice post,
    Frank (bbqboy)

  2. Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

    Thanks Tim –

    I don’t actually have a problem with people sharing their experiences. The reality is too many people make excuses for not achieving their goals or being able to experience things that are very affordable but still rarely enjoyed by the majority of Americans.

    As an Black American, I have been to countries the majority of Blacks have never been too or even thought of. I am not sticking that in their face, I tell them all the time they can afford it if they stopped certain activities.

    Considering my severe budget constraints, most people can afford to go to the places I’ve been.

    Your site is very helpful and I point people too it as much as possible.

  3. Julia

    You’re right, that’s nuts! It looks much wetter than I expected Mexico to be though. I’ve only been to Los Cabos and Mazatlan and they were both very dry it seemed to me. This place looks like great fun.

  4. Ena Buenfil

    Thanks for sharing Tim, it is awesome to know how much you enjoyed the trip!

  5. H

    Guys you should take a look a Valle de Bravo, it is two hours away from Mexico City and it is full of extreme adventures like Paragliding, Kayaking, Horseback Riding and quads. A definite wonder.

  6. Adam

    I am really scared about all that but love your pics you really enjoy every moment.

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