Galeana, a village in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon that truly works on its future. Because it has a lot to offer, but it is not very known to tourism yet, they are willing to go the extra mile to make your stay comfortable.
On google maps we looked up where the Civil Protection unit was housed and we set course to that.
You have to know that the Civil Protection is a unit payed by the local government. These people are the real heroes in town. Smaller towns don´t have a fire station or ambulance service. The people who work for the Civil Protection are locals from the village who fill in those gaps.
Proteccion Civil Galeana
They are the local fire fighters, who arrive first when there is a fire or a car crash. Only when they need more material, fire fighters from nearby bigger towns come to help them.
They run the ambulances. Giving first aid to those who need it and bring them to the closest hospital.
They do mountain rescue. Risking their lives to help others in need.
But more important…..
They are a humble and proud team. They love their village and love to serve the people who live there and visit it.
I have a lot of respect for those guys and we discovered that they are very willing to help us when you come into a village, not knowing where to overnight yet.
Rolling in Galeana, it was very clear that the village is working hard to make a good first impression. The entrance road was wide and clean, with a nice stretch of grass and palm trees in the middle of the road to separate incoming and outgoing traffic.
We parked at the side of the road close to the civil protection unit so we could walk to them.
Explaining we were traveling from Spain, the girl on duty, directly made a call to the manager of the team. He rushed to the office and made a call to the lady mayor of Galeana, who gave him the OK to help us out in any way he could.
How is that for hospitality!
They offered us a place to park on their premises, but the street was small and I didn´t feel like backing up all the way.
A few phone calls and the manager found us a place to park in a garden of a friend. A huge lawn and an easy access made it a perfect place to park and overnight.
From that moment on, a whole series of great things started to happen…..
(A funny story, but a good sum up of the hospitality we encounter everywhere in Mexico: the male of the couple who owned the land we were parked on, gave permission to do so, but forgot to inform his wife. When she came home after work, she found our rig parked in her garden. Remember that we haven’t met her husband yet, we didn´t even know his name yet. So when she came home all surprised, the only explanation we could give that someone called her husband and that he said it was okay.
Her reaction to that, was how we discovered to be most Mexicans…..
“Will you join us for dinner tonight?”
Before we met her husband, before we knew their names the first thing she did was open the doors to their home and invite us for dinner! Pure Mexican hospitality)
We indicated that we wanted to explore the village and asked for directions to the head of the Civil Protection. 5 minutes later a Civil Protection pickup truck pulled up and invited us for a short tour around the village. Complete with red and blue flash lights (police and civil protection seem to drive around with their flash lights on always), with us in the bed of the truck they treated us on a tour through the village.
Some kids were laughing at us when we passed by. We can only guess what they were thinking, but it must have looked funny.
Galeana is a nice little village with a typical square in the center where locals gather and relax. Food stands and ice cream carts are everywhere.
In the streets around the square, you will find shops of any kind. Sometimes they look like shops, sometimes like a garage and many people simply sell from their homes.
I noticed there were 2 good looking hotels on the square aswell. At that point I didn´t know what Galeana had to offer that would be interesting enough for tourists.
We would soon discover…..
Laguna De Los Labradores
Later that day, another pickup pulled up. In it was the owner of the local outdoor activities business ANDARIEGOS, Isaias Orr. He invited us to join him to the Laguna De Los Labradores (Yes, the Labrador Lagoon). A lagoon fed by a well, so no river ends up in it. He brought an inflatable kayak aswell.
Laguna De Los Labradores, Galeana
Even though it was not the most beautiful place you will ever see, it has nice views and it was very cool kayaking on the lake at sunset.
I can imagine sitting by this lake when its sunny and hot, cooling down is this lukewarm clear water.
When we returned to the RV, Isaias invited us on a Jeep Safari the next day.
Our first stop that day with the Jeep was at the Pozo Gavilán. I’ve seen these things on pictures, but never in my life did I see one for real. And nothing could have prepared me for it.
A pozo is translated as Water well. But this was a water well on steroids!
At the altitude of over 1700 meters, a huge round hole in the earth with a diameter of about 80 meters is created. It’s not clear what made the hole, but one of the possibilities is a meteorite.
The hole is over 80 meters deep and at the bottom a lagoon is found of cold clear blue water that goes down another 30 meters.
Standing at the ridge is scary and impressive at the same time.
People enter the lagoon with ropes (Abseiling) bringing scuba gear and kayaks to explore the water and caves. You need to be an experienced climber to do this. Because going down on a rope is one…..but climbing back up is a whole other story.
We stayed on top, but I’m very grateful that I was able to see such a beautiful creation of nature.
Alabaster is a soft white mineral or rock, that looks a bit like marble. Because of its softness, its often used by sculptors.
Our next stop was an old Alabaster mine. Alabaster is mined on the service. The old owner of the mine, also was a sculptor. He actually lived in a house carved out of the Alabaster. The walls were sculptures and the house and around it was full of sculptures aswell.
Unfortunately, after his dead, his family started to argue about the mine. The house is mainly gone and so are most sculptures. The majority is sold or plundered. But some sculptures beautifully remain carved out in the large white stones.
After the mine, we hiked our way through a desert like scenery with big cactuses towards the lagoon of the Labradors we had visited yesterday aswell. Isaias came to pick us up there. After some refreshments we continued our jeep safari.
Puente De Dios
Puente De Dios is translated to Bridge of God. Many sites in Mexico are called like that. Normally they are a bridge like rock or mountain formation. Early settlers and Indians saw them as the work of god, hence the name.
To see the complete beauty of it, a long staircase is to be walked down to a viewing point.
A huge mountain seems to be pierced by something horizontally, leaving a big hole where you can look through the mountain. A river is running through it with small waterfalls.
A truly gorgeous view! Nature at its best.
“Would you guys like to “abseil” (going down with ropes) the Puente De Dios tomorrow“, Isaias asked us. “There is a nice 75 meter waterfall on the other side of the Puente De Dios that hardly anyone knows. We can abseil down there“.
The next day, we (my son Jochem and daughter Merel and I) returned to the Puente De Dios. Isaias and his brother Raul of ANDARIEGOS brought a truck load of climbing gear. We all got a climbing harness on and a helmet.
A short hike brought us to a high point of a small stream. About 3 meters from where we stood, the stream disappeared in a 75 meter waterfall down.
Looking over the edge was impressive. While Isaias and Raul prepared our trip down, securing the ropes, we were able to get used a little to the situation. For me it wasn’t the first time to abseil. I’ve done it various times and up to 110 meters when I was younger. But never did I Abseil through a waterfall. A waterfall I could only hear and not see….
For my children it was the first time, and I could read the excitement in their eyes.
We received a good instruction and Isaias send his 13 year old son, who was with him aswell, down first. There is not a more comforting idea when a father sends his own son down to show its safe for us. After that Isaias went down himself. Now there was an instructor below and above. Safety First!
Abseiling is always a rush, but having the small water fall, fall down around you is a spectacular experience. The views were amazing. I stopped various times going down just to absorb views you can only see when you step over that ridge.
After reaching the valley, we had to hike a bit through the river bed to the staircase to get back to the top. Once there, Raul was already waiting for us at the picnic area with roasted chicken and drinks to recuperate some energy.
This was truly an amazing day!
Galeana is a very friendly village. We have walked around at night through the center and felt completely safe.
The people are friendly. They know tourist like to visit their village, but tourism didn’t take over.
The food you buy on the street is good and cheap. People invited us in their houses, cooking dinner for us.
It’s a typical Mexican village, it’s nice and clean, but it’s no Disney World.
The town is working hard to be tourist friendly and when you visit it, make sure to contact Isaias from Andariegos for a tour, a jeep safari or more exciting activities in places that you would never find yourself when you just visit the town.