Frequenty Asked Questions
Is it too hot to climb in Mexico?
While the summer is considered the “off season” for Potrero Chico, its never too hot to climb here! There is always a large part of the canyon in the shade that is perfect for climbing, and inside the Potrero canyon it is usually cooler than Hidalgo or the weather reports. During the summer the general advice is to climb in the morning and late afternoon and enjoy the numerous pools and cold cervezas in the middle of the day. See Weather.
Is the water safe in Potrero Chico?
Yes – most of the water in the houses and campgrounds areas immediately outside Potrero Chico comes directly from the natural springs in the canyon. While there is no filtering or chemicals added it is still very clean and is used as drinking water by locals and foreigners a like. See for yourself: hiking to the springs is always a good off-day hike.
Do I need to know Spanish to come here?
You can easily have an amazing visit to Potrero Chico without knowing any Spanish. Most of the staff at the various campgrounds speak English, as well most of the other climbers. There is a strong American influence in the Nuevo Leon region of Mexico, where Potrero Chico is located, because it is adjacent to Texas. Ironically, if you’re interesting in learning Spanish, Potrero Chico can be a difficult place to pick it up because there is too much English. However, with enough perseverance you can learn or improve your Spanish skills (find local teachers here).
What’s the difference between Potrero Chico, Hidalgo, Posada, etc? A quick definition of terms…
- El Potrero Chico – a world famous canyon for sport climbing.
- Hidalgo – a municipality down the hill from Potrero Chico canyon. Located in the state of Nuevo Leon.
- Monterrey – 2nd largest and 1st richest metropolis in Mexico. Located less than an hour from Hidalgo
- La Posada – a popular campground within 5 minutes of the park entrance.
Is it dangerous?
There haven’t been any major security problems in the friendly town of Hidalgo or Potrero Chico – it’s peaceful and lots of people climb at Potrero Chico everyday. See Is It Potrero Chico Safe?.
Is it crowded in Potrero Chico?
Potrero is very well developed and as such there is never a lack of good routes to climb. During the high season of December and January some of the most popular multi-pitches might be taken if you don’t get up early enough, but there is always another less well known multi-pitch you can get on. Potrero Chico is never too crowded.
Do I need pesos?
A new law was passed in September 2010 that severely limits the usage of the dollar in Mexico. There are limits on bank withdrawals ($1,500 USD per month) and cash exchanges in most locations. Businesses can still accept up to $100 USD per transaction, but they do not have to. To avoid any complications you might want to take care of your currency exchange at the airport, in Monterrey or at your local bank before leaving.
There are two ATMs in the main plaza of Hidalgo that you can use and one near the entrance to Hidalgo (Santander, Farmacia Benavides, HSBC). There is no place in Hidalgo for exchanging foreign currency – you must go to Monterrey for that. Credit cards are not usually accepted in Hidalgo, the main exceptions being Farmacia Benavides and at the Carniceria Mexicana grocery store.
We recommend using as many pesos as possible to get the best deals with the locals – besides, the colorful money is fun to spend! Special Note: For U.S. Bank of America customers, there is a special deal where you can withdrawl up to MX $6,000 per day at any Santander ATM without any fees.
Can I get around without a car?
Definitely. Getting a taxi or shuttle from the airport or central bus station to Potrero Chico is fairly easy. If taking a taxi we suggest you have the driver stop at the Carniceria Mexiana at the bottom of the Potrero hill to pick up some groceries. Depending on the time of the year, there are several restaurants and convenience stores open near Potrero Chico and the camp ground areas. When you need to go into town to get groceries or spend an off day you can usually hitch a ride from other climbers, the people who work the campgrounds, or from friendly Mexicans. Walking into town is another popular 25 minute option.
Is there internet?
Yes, Potrero Chico is in the digital age. Both La Posada and La Pagoda campgrounds have decent internet connections. In town you can visit the El Buho coffee shop or the local internet cafe to get your fix. Bringing a laptop to Potrero Chico is a surprisingly popular option, and La Posada even provides lockers for rent. Wi-fi enabled smartphones are an easier way to keep in contact while climbing at Potrero Chico.
Can I show up without a climbing partner and find someone to climb with?
For sure, there are many people every year who go by themselves, in odd number groups, or who are willing to climb in parties of three. This author spent half a year in EPC by himself, but found a partner to climb with almost every single day. Its a very common practice and a fun way to meet new people and learn new climbing techniques. The best place in EPC to meet climbing partners is at the La Posada kitchen – just show up and ask around!