San Luis Potosi

san luis potosi coat of arms
San Luis Potosi coat of arms

Located in north central Mexico, the state of San Luis Potosi is a landlocked state that borders the other states of Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, and Queretaro.  The capital of the state, also called San Luis Potosi, is the state’s largest city.  Admitted as a state in 1823, San Luis Potosi was named in part for Louis IX of France.

Important Facts

San Luis Potosi has an area of 23,546 square miles and a population of 2,613,759.  Aside from the capital, other large cities in the state include Ciudad Valles, Rioverde, and Matehuala.  The Greater San Luis Potosi Metropolitan Area is the tenth-largest in the country.  The capital is one of Mexico’s major industrial centers and the state is well known for mining; the state is famed for its large silver mines.

Geography and Landscape

A great portion of the state lies on the Mexican Plateau.  The eastern area of the state is situated on the Gulf Coastal Plain.  The state’s historic mining industry was once based on rich mines like the old site of Real de Catorce, a present-day ghost town.  The state’s diverse topography has resulted in the diversity of its flora and fauna.  The northern state is home to flora such as prickly pear and wild lettuce while other regions give rise to fruit trees and ferns.  This wooded and hot region of the state is known as Huasteca and borders the state of Veracruz to the east.  The state is well known for wildlife like bobcats, deer, and wild boar.  The climate of the state is essentially dry or partially dry while the territory closest to the Gulf of Mexico is known for its high humidity.  San Luis Potosi boasts a few major rivers that flow through its jurisdiction such as El Salto, Moctezuma, Verde, and San Isidro as well as waterfalls and caves.

San Luis Potosi on Map
San Luis Potosi on Map


Archeologists believe that indigenous people settled in the region of San Luis Potosi as far back as 10,000 B.C.  They believe the earliest groups were the Chichimecas, Huastecos, and Guachichile.  The Huastecos founded cities in the region—some of which have only recently been discovered.  By the time the Spanish arrived in the area, the Chichimecas had dominion over the area.  Although Cortes conquered the Chichimecas soon after his arrival in 1522, the native people repeatedly rebelled throughout the sixteenth century.  These uprisings continually affected the Spanish mining operations in the region and also resulted in a considerable loss of lives on both sides.  This series of war was halted with the appointment of the Seventh Viceroy of Mexico who negotiated peace with the Native Americans in 1585.  Less than ten years later, additional gold stores were found in the state prompting ever more mining operations to come to San Luis Potosi throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  During the War for Independence, the territory remained under loyalist control until Mexico won the war.  During the Mexican Revolution, the state was a major focal point since its railroad connected Mexico to the U.S. border region.  Today, the state owes much of its prosperity to both its industry and agriculture.

The Capital

San Luis Potosi, the capital, is one of northern Mexico’s major centers of industry.  Many foreign companies have opened outlets in the city.  Of course, the capital also draws many visitors, especially it’s historic city center that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Roughly one million people live in the city that has also been deemed one of the best cities to live in the country.  The capital brims with historic and classically designed buildings as well as cultural venues and attractions.  It is also revered for its beautiful gardens and parks.

Catedral de San Luis Potosi
Catedral de San Luis Potosi


The state’s cuisine draws considerable influence from both indigenous and Spanish foods.  Because the region’s two main staples are corn and meat, tacos and tamales are two of its most popular meals.  San Luis Potosi’s tacos tend to include lots of vegetables along with beef and cheese.  Gorditas and enchiladas are also popular regional dishes.  The capital boasts many fine restaurants that are famous for their traditional cuisine so popular with tourists.  Sangria, wine, and tamarindo juice are popular beverages while typical San Potosi desserts are often puddings or milk-based candies.


The state of San Luis Potosi has much to offer tourists in the form of culture as well as natural attractions.  From museums to beautiful lagoons and extraordinary caves, the region also features ghost towns and colonial architecture.  Located about three hundred miles north of Mexico City, San Luis is a popular Mexican destination filled with a wide array of activities for visitors to the city.  San Luis Potosi also contains an archeological site that is popular with tourists.

Waterfall Mexico Minas Viejas
Waterfall Mexico Minas Viejas

Things to See and Do in San Luis Potosi

Salto del Meco:  This enchanting waterfall of the Huasteca region is a popular tourist destination.  Serene inns and boutique hotels can be found near this natural attraction.

National Museum of Masks: This eclectic museum is famous as the nation’s most diverse collections of masks.  It’s located in the state’s capital.

Media Luna Lagoon: Less than a hundred miles from the capital, this breathtaking lagoon a popular destination for water sport, camping, and exploring the beautiful scenery.

Real de Catorce: This ghost town draws a plethora of visitors each year.  Aside from the attractions of the town, it’s famous for its pristine vistas of the central high plain.

San Luis Potosi Cathedral: The capital’s cathedral dates to the sixteenth century.  Known for its Baroque and Neoclassic styles, the cathedral also contains extraordinary paintings and stained glass.

Mercado Hidalgo: This large market area in the capital prohibits car traffic, making it the perfect place in the city to shop and stroll.

El Tamuin: This archeological site showcases Huastec culture which was related to the Mayans culture.  A ceremonial plaza and platforms form some of the architectural attractions of the area.

Sótano de Los Golondrinas:  One of the state’s most famous caves, it has an 1100-foot vertical descent to the cave’s floor which is popular with cavers.

Matehuala: This city is located in the northern section of the state.  The city was founded in 1550 and contains colonial architecture that is popular tourist attractions.