Being a foreigner in México might be one of the best experiences you could have. I love to see new places with foreigner eyes and a country like México has all the attractions you need, both cultural and natural. México is within the top 10 countries in the world with the most animal and plant species, considered a megadiverse nation. This country has a lot of ecosystems, jungles, forests, deserts, reefs, and many other amazing places.
I just noticed I have many international readers and I wanted to give you guys an english version. I have a fair English but its not my native language, so I apologise in advance for any grammar mistakes or inconsistencies you might find. You can read the spanish article here, it has different information.
I grew up in the north of México, in a city called Torreón, part of the state of Coahuila. This state is very interesting. I just recently learned that not all of it is a desert like my city and it’s surroundings. I was very astonished when I found myself, just a few hours away from my hometown, and standing in what I believed was a film set for Game of Thrones or The Lord of The Rings.
In the north of the state of Coahuila, there is a small town, called Múzquiz. This place is not what I was used to see back home. This is a nice town with big houses, crazy mansions and loads of big trees. The lifestyle is way more relaxed, no hurries, no noise, in other words, without the stress of the city.
I was a foreigner here, everything in this place seemed foreign to me, even when it was still México, I was used to a very different version of my country. And don’t get me wrong, it is not all because of the way the town looks, but because of how it feels.
I think that it’s very easy to get absorbed into technology and turn your back on nature when you have no nature around you, when all the green in your life comes from an expensive “LED Display”.
Múzquiz lives of mining and livestock. The town itself has no expensive stores or big brand super markets but its surely not a poor town. Very rich people live in this place, owner of large ranches, mansions and haciendas.
This place flourished without outside influence. Families have lived here for generations, big names have been preserved, mansions have been inherited and like in any other small town where everybody knows each other, there are a lot of stories to tell.
This town reminds me of a book written by the famous Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho: The Devil and Miss Prym, it talks about a town in Spain lost in time.
There was something in particular about this place that called my attention, their respect for nature. I lived for five years in Playa del Carmen, which is a small fishermen’s town (now a world-class tourist destination) in the Mayan Riviera. The respect for nature in small towns, such as these, is that roads and buildings are built around trees instead of cutting them down.
There is a big tree in Múzquiz called “El Sabino Gordo”. It is a big tree just in the middle of the road. Noticing this little details makes me understand how the traditions and culture of a small town can respect something that has been there generations before them.
The beauty of this place is that you won’t find anything you are used to, no Starbucks, no McDonalds or even Wal-mart. Everything is as it used to be, and if you ask me, as it should be. Small convenience stores owned by townsfolk.
Feeling disconnected in a world where you are constantly connected wirelessly can be very therapeutic.
This town has a natural park called “La Cascada” or the waterfall in English. And it is actually a waterfall in the middle of the park, it used to be a natural recreational place inside town, just recently the government invested and turned it into an actual park with benches, a small outdoor auditorium and a small paleontology museum.
The water runs down in between trees and rocks into a small pond turned into a pool and then into another pond with a couple of trees in the middle and river rocks in the bottom. This water then flows into a private neighborhood called “La Quinta”.
This neighborhood, La Quinta, is the nicest place in town, with 5 big mansions built next to the river, European Style. For now this is a private area, but soon one of the houses will turn into a museum and this marvelous place will be open for public. This mansion belonged to the late worlwide-famous artist Julio Galán. (New York Times Article)
This place is also home of the native american tribe, the Kikapú (Kickapoo in english), who also reside in the south of the United States.
Múzquiz is, in other words, a magical place. People evolved, just as the rest of the world, but somehow this place preserved its essence, a classic country town close to the mountain range and a majestic river.
I love this word in English very much. A river is proof that our planet is alive.
I’ve seen rivers before, there is one near my city, it only has water during rainy season, but not very clear water kinda brownish. So that was all my experience with natural rivers. I saw a lot of underground rivers in Xcaret, a theme park in the Mayan Riviera, it was a gorgeous semi natural river, but it was inside a park, always full of people.
When I was taken to the river in Late November little did I know that I was going to face with the true experience of autumn. I’ve seen it before, in movies and photos but never really experienced it.
The river is about a 10-15 minute drive from town, we took the highway and then a small detour with a big sign that said “Parque Río Sabinas”. It was around noon so the so the sun was high up in the sky, the road was not paved and trees were all around us.
We were driving my Jeep Liberty, so I felt like in an excursion or a TV ad, bumping up and down. I loved my truck, I always took it to the beach back in Playa.
We took a small road into the woods and parked in a clear, I thought we were in the middle of nowhere, except for a couple of rustic grills between the trees. There were big brown leaves in the ground with the shape of the one in the Canadian flag.
Large trees were all around me, I had never seen such trees. They are called Sabinos, a town nearby receives the name from them. This large trees were going through autum, so they still had a few leaves on them going yellow.
I walked a bit just looking around, there was nobody there, not a soul. The peace and quiet of this place was such that I actually felt that we were lost in the woods. Somehow I heard a noise, a familiar noise for a former beach resident: water.
I walked (kinda ran) towards the noise, a few seconds later I found myself with a gorgeous river with crystal clear water. I could see the bottom filled with rounded river rocks, there were a couple of fishes swimming nearby.
The river was surrounded by large trees, their roots were exposed as if the ground around them had been removed by the flow of water during the summer. The long curved roots looked like tentacles craving for water.
I walked a bit towards a tree that had very interesting roots. Their shape was as it this place was the podium for the king of the forest, facing towards the other side of the river, I imagined I was in a rustic version of Rivendell from The Lord of the Rings. I stood in there, the root was up to my waist, like a guardrail. I looked to the other side and almost thought a couple of elves will appear out of nowhere.
I was absorbed by this spot, but I was told I hadn’t seen anything yet. We walked along the river, and the more I walked the more I discovered favorite spots, one tree on the other side had very amazing roots, going into the water.
The river was deeper in some places, but I could still see the bottom, even if the water could easily cover me.
As we walked, I heard the sound of a waterfall. It was very hard for me to imagine how a waterfall would look like in a stunning scenario like this, I thought it would be too much to absorb in one day. An then, I saw it.
A big long rock in the middle of the river was standing just by a small cliff where the water fell, the sound of the waterfall was so beautiful and powerful. It was the most powerful sound around us.
I instantly climbed into the rock, it was filled with mosses and ferns, green, red and yellow, with little white flowers, worthy of a Disney movie scene. I got closer to the small cliff and saw the waterfall from above. Standing in the middle of the river, I had the best view, just there as it had been for so many years before.
I had to blink several times because it really felt like I was in one of my favorite movie sets, standing in a rock filled with plants waiting for some knight or wizard to come out of the woods and maybe tell me I was admitted to Hogwarts.
I stood there for a long time, sometimes talking, sometimes thinking. I thought it would be long before I could get the chance to go to Europe and witness something like this, and there I was. My feelings? Lucky, very lucky, and thankful.
The waterfall had me mesmerized but the river went on and on, so I decided to keep walking, the day was still young. I was so keen to stay as close to the shore as possible, we had to maneuver our way through branches and rocks. I was selecting my favorite spots for my next visits. They are still printed in my mind.
At some point we got into a clear with very still water, this part was very deep, the bottom could barely be seen, mostly because this place was surrounded by a lot of trees that blocked all the sunlight. I stood in the shore looking at the water, seriously considering a swim, when a mild breeze filled the area with the sound of trees and leaves touching each other. Then it happened, a large leave fell from a tree making small waves in the air towards the river, I was thinking that was going to be worth watching, and it did.
The leave fell quietly into the glass-like surface of the water, making very smooth circled waves and moving on with the water flow. Everything was so natural and normal, but at the same time so beautiful and peaceful that once again I felt thankful. I never saw that happen again. (I tried to mimic it by throwing leaves from the ground into the water and trying to record it with my phone, with no success)
I thought that moment was going to be the top of the day, but I still wanted to keep going, I knew I was going to find more, and I did. Nature is so giving.
A few meters ahead I heard the sound of water again, like a waterfall but smaller, the water was calm so I didn’t find the origin of the sound. I looked around and on the other side of the river, between the roots of a large tree, there were two very small waterfalls coming out of the ground, falling into the shore.
It was so beautiful and visual, as if it was planned by mankind, as if this was on purpose.
Apparently the river had little underground canals that came from upstream and ended up in here, just perfect.
I don’t know how long I stood there, lost in my thoughts, I just knew I had to come back, to see more, and experience more. So I did, for over a month I kept coming back, each day I saw new things, each day I went further in, crossed the river, threw stones, watched turtles, saw birds fly above the water and even saw cows and bulls from ranches nearby. I took my dogs for a walk and took as much pictures as I could, but none of them ever captured the beauty of being there.
The river is just one of the many beauties this town can offer, there’s the mountain range, the mines, caves, underground rivers, horses and a lot of sport activities than can be done here such as kayaking, hiking, swimming, diving, mountain climbing, cave exploring, mountain biking, etc.
I’ll keep writing about this magical place and its wonders in several other articles, please feel free to contact me if you would like to visit this place and take a glimpse of Mexican Country life.