Located in the small town of Xilitla, in the Huasteca region of southern San Luis Potosi state is the creation of Las Pozas - a sculpture garden created by English poet Edward James from the Surrealist Movement.
The origins of the sculpture garden date back to 1947 when James, living in semi-exile in Mexico at the time, acquired the coffee plantation near Xilitla.
James lived a life of sheltered luxury in the English upper class, attending Eton and Oxford University, and later becoming a great supporter and collector of Surrealist art, sponsoring both Salvador Dali and Magritte in the 1930s.
With the construction being overseen by James' friend, co-designer of Las Pozas and Mexican guide Plutarco Gastelum, James used Las Pozas as a home for orchids and exotic animals.
Construction on Las Pozas began in 1962 and carried on for the next 20 plus years until James’ death in 1984.
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Las Pozas means “the pools” in Spanish, named for the nine pools on the property created from waters that flow naturally through it.
After an unprecedented frost in 1962 destroyed many of his plants, James started building the extraordinary sculpture garden that sits on the site today - which takes shape in the form of James' orchids and the vegetation of the Huastecan Jungle surrounding the sculpture.
The gardens feature more than 30 structures, ranging from plant sculptures to winding staircases to nowhere, and cathedral inspired screens — some ornately finished, others seemingly incomplete.
Most of the construction was done by Gastelum, who was described in Smithsonian magazine as “part Yaqui indian, part Spanish aristocrat and a swashbuckling former rancher, boxer, telegrapher and amateur architect.”
To reach Las Pozas, you can fly into Tampico via Mexico City or Monterrey. There are several flights into Tampico daily.
You can also fly into Queretaro or Leon and rent a car or car and driver in San Miguel de Allende, and drive up to Xilitla.