The area is about 350 miles south of the border with Texas in the interior of the country. We drove, taking us 40 hours to get there and 34 hours to get back; when in Mexico take highway 101 not 85! We kayaked, we caved, we climbed rocks; the later 2 by fortunate opportunity only not by way of planning.
We were whisked away through the night on the muddy back streets of Ciudad Valles in a taxi driven by a wanna be Indy Car driver being escorted to a grass roofed, open air 'restaurant' by our new-found dinner guide, Juan (Thanks Juan!). We walked the streets on New Years Eve hoping for mariachi bands, fireworks and parties only to find that Valles is a bit too small of a town for those sorts of shenanigans. We paddled the water falls of Cascada de Micos on the Rio Valles, and shot the rapids and dropped the falls of the Salto to Maco section also on the Rio Valles. We paddled under flashing flocks of green parrots and through mountain gorges inhabited by shy monkeys and portaged over Puente de Dios (The Bridge of God) on the lower Rio Santa Maria (aka the Tampaon). We trekked upstream to the storm like environment under the 300 ft high Cascada de Tamul on the middle Rio Santa Maria. We met some great people, had some really good food, and experienced some new food (the lady on top of the hill at Micos makes the worlds BEST gorditas!), learned some Spanish and, at least I, came back with a different perspective of where I live.
Even though I know hardly any of them will ever read this I still want to thank all the helpful people we came across along the way: all the unsolicited, and solicited, translators (Iria, and so many others at restuarants, road sides, etc), all the people who realized we were going the wrong direction and stopping their car in the middle of the street to tell us which way we needed to go before we even realized we missed a turn, Mario for showing us Micos, and Anna and Mitch from Turismo Alternativo HuaXteca for picking up a few gringos in their rafting trucks! It was a great experience, one that I would recommend to any adventurer.
See Pictures from this trip