A S I PASSED THROUGH “PURGATORY,” a zigzag gate located in the surreal- ist garden of British poet, artist and
billionaire Edward James in Xilitla, Mexico, I felt
spiritually refreshed, as if all of my previous sins
had washed away.
To dispense with my past, I had
to pass from the “negative” side
to the “positive” — never the reverse. (At least,
that’s what my guide told me.)
A pioneer in cultural and adventure tourism in the Huasteca Potosina region of San Luis
Potosi, local tour operator Huaxteca engages
travelers with this type of natural excursion.
;e operator’s experienced guides work to
connect guests to San Luis Potosi’s landscape
and the area’s rich history. Following are four
heart-pumping adventures that clients are sure
James’ symbolic gate in the surrealist
garden — also known as “Las Pozas” or ;e
Pools — became a good omen for the rest of my
time in San Luis Potosi. A;er a beautiful drive
through the jungle, our group
arrived here, a cement wonder-
land built with inspiration from
James’ creative and surrealist background.
In the 1960s and 1970s, James worked with
locals to construct his dream home, which
includes fantastical cement orchids, an airplane-shaped building and Salvador Dali-esque
mustaches functioning as buttresses. Turquoise
waterfalls and natural pools also surround the
property and are accessible to locals.
As we wandered through the plaza, past a
pair of two statues shaped like hands and into
what resembled animal cages, our guide shared
James’ life story with us, which we found to
be as fascinating as the dreamlike garden
Working with dozens of local workers on
any given day, James constructed his home
until his death in 1984. Now, according to our
guide, up to 800 visitors travel to Las Pozas
each day to stroll through the jungle paths and
climb his “Staircase to Heaven.”
The Cave of Swallows
A;er leaving Las Pozas, our group drove about
90 minutes to another exotic destination: the
Cave of Swallows.
Every day, colonies of white-collared swi;s
;y in tight circles here, getting higher with
each turn until emerging from the 1,000-foot-
deep cave in search of food.
Visit the gardens
designed by artist and
poet Edward James.
Make time for these four
excursions from local
by JOSEPHINE PARR