Las Pozas Xilitla is quite unique, not sure how many places are like this in the world. Just outside of the town of Xilitla, in the dense Mexican jungle is this surreal unfinished concrete art creation in the sweaty tropical jungle scattered across 80 acres. The place feels like somebody had too many ideas coming up in the same time and there are everywhere concrete structures started up but not sure how many of them were finished, or even are they supposed to be finished. Edward James had a lot of inherited money on hand and he liked surrealism. He poured his fortune and love for art in concrete employing and overpaying quite a chunk of the towns population, pissing off the banana plantations as they were losing their workforce to the Garden of Eden. It is quite a place to take photos, with a little drawback, the light is pretty flat in the jungle and the gray concrete is not helping a lot to pop from the green background. Tripods are not allowed so it’s pretty much handheld shooting with sweaty palms and raised ISO’s. I’m pretty sure that tripod usage can be resolved with the right amount of pesos changing hands, but not running on other than own pocket budget I didn’t even consider the bribe. So no tripod, but the good news is that if you are overly sweaty in the tropical heat dipping into one of the pools is totally all-right. I had a bit of problem visiting the site one more time the next day as I was told by a manager that they watched me on cctv the previous day, I took too many photos with flash and my camera is considered too professional. Blah. They wanted me to sign a declaration that the photos will not be used in commercial purposes, but after three attempts of write-up they were still not happy how the text sounded and wanted photocopies of my passport and driver license. That’s when I communicated that I’m not interested anymore to visit the site, asked back my entry fee and expressed my opinion about their stance on tourism. With all that no regrets that I visited this site and it’s a totally recommended extraordinary experience.
In the summer of 2007, the Fundación Pedro y Elena Hernández, the company Cemex, and the government of San Luis Potosi paid about $2.2 million for Las Pozas and created Fondo Xilitla, a foundation that will oversee the preservation and restoration of the site. The gardens struggled with tourism for years and not much changed nowadays as the site is off the beaten tourist path and being finicky with tourists taking photos inside the garden is not helping generating higher traffic. Yes, tourists from developed countries will arrive with big cameras and expensive lenses; and they want to depart with quality photos.