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 San Luis Potosi State Guide and Directory

San Luis Potosi, Northern Central Mexico
San Luis Potos�, North Central Mexico
San Luis Potosi is located in the north-central portion of Mexico and occupies 24,266 square miles. San Luis Potosi is surrounded by the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Zacatecas. Most of the state is quite mountainous. Precipitation is slight with dry conditions prevailing. The one exception to this climate are the lowland valleys in the eastern portion of the state that is adjacent to the Gulf coast.

The state has built its fortune on mining. The silver mines located in the northern region are some of Mexico's richest. Gold, copper, lead and zinc are found here as well and contribute to the state's overall wealth. Additionally, agriculture and ranching play prominent roles as does industry which is mainly centered in the state's capital.

City of San Luis Potosi
City of San Luis Potos�
The capital of the state, also named San Luis Potosi, got its start when significant amounts of silver deposits where found here. The original name of the town was San Luis in honor of the 13th century French monarch King Louis IX, who later was ordained a saint (Saint Louis). Initially, the town was established as a Franciscan mission in 1583. However, it wasn't long before the Spanish discovered veins of gold and silver in the region and mining activities soon took center stage. Inspired by the immensely wealthy Bolivian Potosi mines, the town added the word "Potosi" (Quechua Indian word for richness) to its name.

Today, San Luis Potosi has evolved into a major industrial city with many factories. However, the central portion of the city has retained its historic charm and there are lovely colonial buildings to see. Walking is a great way to explore this part of town as many of the streets are closed to traffic. Nicknamed "The City of Gardens" for its lush plazas filled to the brim with greenery and fragrant flowers, you'll be delighted by the town's ambiance as you stroll down cobble-stone streets lined with magnolia trees.

While still in this region of the state, there are two locations worth visiting. Situated approximately 35 miles south of San Luis Potosi, is the small town of Santa Maria del Rio which is located right off the highway to Mexico City . The town is widely known for its beautiful handmade shawls called rebozos. Just outside the city is where you'll find Lourdes Spa. The alkaline waters here reputedly benefit those with intestinal ailments. In the same general vicinity is another area with curative waters. Just outside El Gogorron National Park on the way to the small village of Villa de Reyes is Gogorron Spa. There are many thermal pools and springs here whose waters reportedly help those with rheumatism and other circulatory issues.

Real de Catorce
Real de Catorce
Real de Catorce is a historic mining town located 9,000 feet above sea level in the Sierra de Catorce Mountains. It is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Matehuala. Founded in 1772 when silver was discovered, this town once boasted a population of 40,000 inhabitants. In the early 1900's the town was all but abandoned, with only a few souls remaining. It is generally believed this exodus was due to the price of silver dropping precipitously.

However, for the Huichol Indians this area has never lost its importance. This is the land of Wirikuta, where the Gods of peyote and maize live. Each year the Huichol make a pilgrimage here to collect the sacred peyote cactus plant and to hold their sacred ceremonies.

Huichol Pilgrims, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Hichol Pilgrims
This area is also home to another form of pilgrimage, one which honors St. Francis of Assisi. Each year up to 200,000 people flock to Real de Catorce during the first week of October to pay homage to this beloved saint.

Today Real de Catorce is enjoying a renaissance with artists taking up residence and travelers looking for a unique experience. If you suspend belief for just a moment, you feel as though you have just walked through a time-door when entering the town. Cobblestone streets wind their way along old adobe buildings with cracking paint and wooden doors. There are no ATMs or 7-11s and a wonderful silence fills the air. Indeed, the unique atmosphere this town provides has attracted Hollywood. Many movies have been filmed here including, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart and The Mexican with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts.

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