The charms of San Luis Potosi are more subtle than those of the other cities in Mexico, but there are charms nonetheless. The lively streets and plazas always ensures there are a ton of things to do in San Luis Potosi, but a good deal of it also happens to take place outside city limits. This fascinating region of Mexico is practically unknown to foreigners, but among the scenic mountain ranges of the Huasteca Potosina region, the countryside delivers some of the best river rafting in Mexico.
Elsewhere, the city has maintained its poise as the prosperous state capital, orderly industrial center, and university seat, and though it sees relatively few visitors, this is a city that plays a large part in the astonishing history of Mexico.
Here are ten fun facts about San Luis Potosi.
1. Fortune favors the bold
The city takes its name from the area’s original designation, Valle de San Luis. The Spaniards added Potosi (which means fortune) to the name when they discovered gold and silver there.
2. Eight neighbors
Located in North-Central Mexico, the state is bordered by 8 others, making it Mexico’s most-bordered state.
3. Historically only seen in passing
Because the railroad from Mexico City to Laredo, Texas, passed through San Luis, it became a pivotal region in the Mexican Revolution, since controlling the city also meant controlling access to the Mexican-American border.
4. High-style vacationing
The city sits on a high plateau more than a mile above sea level.
5. Unparalleled sightseeing
Tamul Waterfall, one of the finest waterfalls in Mexico, is located in the Tampaon river and boasts an impressive height of 344 feet (105 meters).
6. A tribute to the Mexico of yesteryear
The dominant indigenous group today is the Huastecs, also known as the Teenek, which means “those who live in the fields with their language, their blood and share the idea”.
7. What goes up must come down
El Sótano de las Golondrinas is a 1,234 foot (376 meter) deep cave popular among spelunkers and rock climbers. Every morning thousands of swallows fly out in a synchronized spiral, and every afternoon they return.
8. Three times the charm
The city is home to three dance companies: the Ballet Provincial de San Luis Potosi, the Grupo de Danza Folklórica and the Danza Contemporánea.
9. Mexico’s very own artistic hub
In December 1853, General Santa Anna selected an untitled poem by Francisco Gonzalez Bocanegra, a poet from San Luis Potosi, to be the lyrics for the country’s new national anthem. A Spaniard, Jaime Nuno Rocco, provided the musical score.
10. Centro Historico
In the capital city, the Cathedral Potosina and the Palacio de Gobierno rise above the Plaza de Armas, the city’s central square is home to many other beautifully preserved and historically significant colonial buildings. Benito Juárez, who completed five terms as president of Mexico between 1858 and 1872, served two of those terms at the Palacio. The colonial center has since been closed off to traffic to help preserve its architectural treasures.