WELL ITZ SUPER FUN IM REALLY YOUNG AND MY GRANDMAS HOUSE IS 30 MIN ITZ IN A SMALL TOWN CALLED AHUACATLAN DE JESUS SO EVRYTIME WE VISIT HER WE GO TO XILITLA AND SUROUNDING AREAS I LIKE THE CITY BUT I PREFER SMALL TOWNS! SO YEA LAS POSAS IS AN AWSOME PLACE!! WITH WATERFALLS AND EVRYTHING!
Xilitla is a wonderful place in itself; walking and walking around (especially way up on top of the mountains) is grand. However, the reason to go to Xilitla is Las Pozas, the enchanted garden built in the jungle by Edward James. I know I am going to call him Henry somewhere in here, but there is a slight difference between the two. One is incredibly uplifting. Edward!
The garden is basically 80 acres of jungle with a big waterfall. James made concrete structures ranging from huge orchids to three-story palaces with stairways spiraling up into the heavens. You should really go by yourself, if possible; I kept thinking 1) Oh my God, and 2) I am so glad not to be on someone else's schedule. If you have some thinking to do, get to the jungle. You can Google for more actual history. If you are reading this, I assume you are looking for my personal views, which are as follows: someone wrote that this place was not constructed according to logic (sorry, I don't have the link). That person is so wrong. There is plenty of logic; you are never stranded here. It is just not adult responsible logic. For example, if a bridge ends at nothing, look down. There may be a path across a huge concrete orchid (you may have to cross half a foot of open air) or the side of the building wall next to you may be stepped down to the ground. This place would give my mother a heart attack, but the whole thing is climbable; it just begs you to consider the whole as an integrated thing, not as Walls, Floors, and Stairs. And trying to look at it this way reinforces the Escher influence, and will help unstick your mind if you happen to be wrestling with anything that is driving you nuts.
Enter Las Pozas and go to the left, through the gate and not through the ring. A few meters up the restaurant will be on your right. It's like a very comfy cave. Good service, cheap, good food; especially good after an afternoon of swimming in the waterfalls.
Favorite Dish: I had some nice queso fundido, and the tortillas were crisped with butter, which was a delicious if unhealthy touch. I also had a filet Don Tino, which was some delicious white fish in a picante sauce with sauteed onions, served with rice. Excellent. The chocomilk licuado was good, too.
Queretaro bus terminal, sala C. Currently buses run at 5 and 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.; cost is around U.S. $16 one-way. Bus passes through Jalpan. Buses back to Queretaro are more frequent.
Okay, if you are a wuss, then do not go to Xilitla. Especially from Queretaro. The bus trip takes about 7 hours (on a good day), at least four of which are through the Sierra Gorda. This is incredibly beautiful; you go from mountainous desert to mountainous jungle. This is also incredibly dangerous. Mexican drivers are notorious for inducing terror in passengers. Usually, on a bus, this is not such a bad thing. If you get in an accident, the bus is not the vehicle which will be smashed. HOWEVER. Four hours of hairpin switchbacks at 50 mph. Four hours of not hearing the brakes go off. Yikes. Beautiful trip, but if you are afraid of heights, never mind Las Pozas; you won't make it through the bus ride there.
This is not specific to Xilitla, and will probably affect you more on your WAY to Xilitla, but please, if you are female and traveling alone, remember your traveling jewelry. Something vaguely resembling a wedding ring, and also a cross, will be very useful. These items will fend off vampires more reliably than they will fend off overly friendly travelers/bus personnel, but at least the ring helps put some weight behind your "No, gracias."
Please be aware that Xilitla is a mountain village, and Las Pozas was built as a private garden there. While there are, generally speaking, defined and marked paths through the garden, the rock is uneven. You ARE along the side of a mountain. The roads leading to the garden are Mexican. If you do not have sturdy ankles and knees, and if you do not like feeling like a little mountain goat, and clambering around getting all sweaty is not your idea of a good time, I am afraid you will not be pleased here. Wear good shoes. Be prepared to work. You will receive great rewards, but you will clamber, climb, crawl and crabwalk (down the stairs that you were too scared to climb all the way up).
Favorite thing: After walking and walking... take a good sleep while driving several hours back to your hotel or home.