Visiting Las Pozas and Edward James’ Surrealist Garden
The Shining Gem of Xilitla, Mexico
Despite being a popular destination for Mexicans, none of my Canadian friends knew of this attraction. A friend from Queretaro, Mexico invited us to Xilitla but then needed to cancel so we went alone.
I’m so glad we did.
Although the structures look ancient, they are relatively new. Built between 1949 and 1984, the English poet Edward James created these surrealist structures.
Feel like a page right out of The Jungle Book while exploring the subtropical rainforest, the natural pools and larger than life artwork that is Las Pozas.
When to Go
Arrive early in the morning to have the grounds to yourself. The Pozas open at 9:00 AM and close at 6:00 PM. We arrived at 9:45 and there were a few people at each of the structures but it didn’t get “busy” until around noon. Even at it’s busiest, we were often still alone with the structures.
Our visit was on Friday, June 29, during the wet season of June-October. The weather was sunny for us, but going during this time means a 35% chance of rain for any given day. It was forecast to thunderstorm every day but only rained at night during our stay. I would avoid going during the weekends, if possible, to avoid crowds.
What to See
We went for the surrealist structures but equally enjoyed the rainforest surroundings.
The statue of two hands are on all of the souvenirs but I couldn’t find them, despite walking through most of the structures twice. I asked a park attendant and he helpfully pointed us in the right direction. Turn right through the entrance and go through the cement circle structure. Turn left after the last snake and the hands are there. They were much smaller than I was expecting, considering the size of the other structures.
What to do
You could explore Las Pozas all day. We got lost for a solid half hour walking up and down large stone stairs in the park, with not a structure to be seen.
If you have a schedule to keep, you can see the main structures without rushing in 2–3 hours. Although, half the fun is wondering around and going for a swim in the pools.
There are several swimming options in the namesake park. Beautiful blue water pools are both at the entrance and far end of the park. My personal favourite was at the end of the park where you can swim in a breathtaking waterfall and among some of the Jungle Bookesque structures.
Where to Eat
Outside the entrance is a line of vendors, selling souvenirs and street food. Street food in Mexico is always a delicious option. Go for the one with the longest line. A short walk from the park are many restaurants with great reviews online.
We ate at the cafe inside Las Pozas. The breakfast menu changes to lunch at 1:00 PM. We ate breakfast for lunch around noon. The menu features traditional Mexican options. Evan ordered the chiliquiles and I the molletes. The foods was fresh and tasty, especially the pico de gallo.
Stone walls and arched doorways with a view of the trees and nature of Xilitla added to the full experience of the park.
Inside the restaurant, but with a separate vendor, you can buy a cup fresh mango with tajin (chili powder) and lime juice. I highly recommend trying fruit with tajin at least once during your trip to Mexico.
What to Wear
Comfortable walking shoes and clothing is a must. The weather is hot and humid so you will sweat. You can buy water shoes for $8 each outside the park. I recommend them. There are several bathrooms around the park, but I wore my bathing suit under my clothing so I wouldn’t need to change or carry around more than I needed.
The entrance fee is $5 for the day per person. Our meal in the cafe cost 12$ total for the two of us. We went through a few waters at $2 each, sold by a vendor inside the cafe. The mango with tajin was $2 for a large cup.
This was one of the most extraordinary places I’ve ever seen.
The terrain is physically exertive and not handicap accessible. I wouldn’t recommend the park to anyone who isn’t sure footed or able to walk for long distances. If I had a family, I would wait until the kids were teenagers before a trip. There are few guard fails and many opportunities for falling, although I did see children there.
If you are in central Mexico, you can’t miss Las Pozas. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. If your the adventuring type, Xilitla and Las Pozas would make a great standalone vacation.
For more information on a trip to Xilitla, including how to get there and what else you need to see and eat, click on the post below for links to all of the articles.