A few of you have actually been to Cascada Texolo (and to Coátepc and Xico for that matter). You went via the main road to Xico. On Sunday, we took another road. You all will want to come back to see it from this angle!
Going into Teocelo one day, we had noticed a little sign pointing to the falls. Now Teocelo is on the other side of the river gorge the falls tumble into. Also on the other side of the mountain from Col. Ursulo Galván (hence the extremely witty title of this post.) Here is a GoogleEarth map showing I hope clearly enough how everything is laid out. Remember, you can click on the thumbnail to get a bigger version.
On this tiny map, you can see the longish white blob towards the center left which is Xico, the mountain we see from our house just to the right of it, our little Colonia Ursulo Galván just to the right of the peak,and Coátepec behind us and Xalapa behind Coátepec. I don't know if you can pick out the umbers in front of and slightly to the left of the peak, but if you can, that is the longitude and latitude of Santa Rosa, the tiny town where the path up to the Mirador (view point) of the falls starts. Its altitude is about 5300 feet.
Here is a link to the map formatted into a Word file. It may be better for seeing.Download googleearthmap.doc
Now the road to the falls on the Xico side is definitely not hidden away (at least not by Veracruz state standards). As you get closer to the falls, you come upon souvenir boothes and little restaurants. There's a pretty big parking lot, several buildings for miscellaneous, usually tourist-related stuff. And you have to pay. Not a lot, but something. Anyway, the falls are spectacular from that side, too, and touristy or not, it's really fun to make the trip and cross the bridge over the falls and look down the canyon and if you are feeling up to it, go down the steps to the bottom of the falls. I haven't done that.
But going through Teocelo is better, and not just because it's free.
We started late in the afternoon -- getting towards five or so. We took the sharp turn at the sign in the road at the near end of Teocelo. The road forked and it seemed clear we should take the paved branch. But after awhile, it just disappeared into nothing. Time to ask how to get where we wanted to go. We should have, it turns out, taken the dirt road at the fork. Didn't look promising. We were told we had to go through a little town we'd never heard of called Santa Rosa. We passed a small, grim collection of shanty-type housing clinging to the steep side of a hill and then entered a dense forest of coffee and banana. A young woman dressed as if for work in a shop surprisingly came walking in a business-like way towards us as if she were walking down the sidewalk, not through the woods. Could there be a town up ahead? I'll save you the nail-biting suspense. Soon enough, we came to Santa Rosa. It isn't exactly a a pretty town, but it is a nice, compact, real town. I suspect it was better off at one point. It has an air of being from a diffeent time. But itis busy with people: kids playing, men talking, stores open and bustly, and it still produced coffee.
We drove through town and pulled up at the far end near the little church to ask how to get to the falls. The men thought we were lost -- what with Jim the Güero and our Texas plates, this happens often. They wanted to direct us back through Teocelo, back down and up the gorge to the main Coátepec-Xico road so we could go the tourist way. "But can't get we get tothe falls this way," I insisted. "Yes, one man said, but the road is in terrible condition from all the rain and it would take at least an hour and a half. Why not go back? It's really easier." But I pressed, "Isn't there a mirador?" Ah! Enlightenment. He was clearly skeptical this old lady could hike up to it, but he showed us the way.
Santa Rosa hopes to develop its side of the falls as a bit of a tourist attraction, too, though the hike part is unlikely to draw the out-of-shape. (In spite of his glance and comment, I am in better shape than I've been in for years, at least for hiking.) We followed a narrow, zig-zag concrete path up through the coffee and bananas. This picture shows its start.
It turns out you can walk down the side of the escarpment and meet up with the path that leaves from the other side. This is a spectacular hike, but unfortunately it was getting too dark for many pictures. However, here is one taken about half-way down.