It can’t get much better than Potrero Chico when it comes to multi-pitch sport. It’s a climber’s paradise, and according to Mountain Project, “a sport-climbing paradise”. The rock is vertical and slabby limestone, and the climbing is on point! You won’t be disappointed if you make a trip out to Potrero. With tons of options for multi-pitch and even some good bragging days, you’ll leave Potrero a better climber than when you arrived.
Bring sunscreen, sun shirts, a hat, and tons of water for this trip. It can get a little toasty as the spring season progresses, but not to worry: there are plenty of spaces to chase the shade.
Best Time to Visit
December thru March is the most ideal time to rock climb in Potrero Chico Mexico. It gets really warm by mid-March, but there is less of a crowd during that time. If you can tough out the heat and survive the sweaty, fully-exposed hike to the crags, your reward will be to climb in the shade!
So many camping options, it just depends on what kind of vibe you’re looking for. So I’ll focus on some accommodations and what makes some of the camping situations unique and special.
- Rancho El Sendero
100 pesos/person/night. THE PLACE TO STAY. Hostel style. It’s where I camped, and I would totally come back and do it again. Accommodations for climbers are off the chain good. Little bar in El Cumbre on the second floor and a restaurant for you to order food nearly any time in the day. Clean bathrooms and showers. Flat ground for my car camping comrades. Rooms are also available if you dig it. The community kitchen was my favorite part about it: stoves, sinks, counters, shelves for storage, AC, and wifi… I mean… it’s just too good to be true! Last I checked, it was 50 pesos per night. But if you’re staying long term, the owner may be willing to negotiate with you.
- La Posada
5-13 nights: 175 pesos/person/night. Very nice place to stay. Think of this place as a cushy, glamorous camping option: rooms and primitive camping are available. Full kitchen here as well with some clean bathrooms and showers.
100 pesos/person/night. This is the original climber’s hangout and campsite! There was an open area I saw for cooking. Some picnic tables in the shelter for you to cook and hang out. Looked like there were some rundown-looking bathrooms. Showers do have hot water here. There is also a house they rent out to those interested.
100 pesos/person/night. This was a pretty chill spot and seemed like the camping was dispersed enough you could have some quiet and a bit of privacy. You’re closer to the park, so you might hear some noise of people coming and going. It has 3 pools, bathrooms, showers, and the people who run it seem to leave you alone.
Climbing Route Recommendations
- Central Scrutinizer, 5.11a/b (Scrutinizer Wall, 2 pitches)
- Jungle Mountaineering, 5.10a (Jungle Wall, 4 pitches)
- One Dead Teardrop, 5.9 (Wonder Wall, 1 pitch)
- Satori, 5.10c (Zapatista Wall, 7 pitches)
- Off the Couch, 5.10d (Zapatista Wall, 7 pitches)
- Curse of the Furry Beast, 5.12a (Las Estrellas Wall, 1 pitch)
- Leap of Faith, 5.11a (Mota Wall, 3 pitches)
- Two Pump Chump, 5.11a (Mota Wall, 1 pitch with 22 bolts)
- Space Boyz, 5.10a (Jungle Wall, 11 pitches)
Climbing Skills You Should Know
- How to rappel (Simul-rappel)
- How to clean routes
- How to sport climb
- How to tie a good climbing knot and to check a good climbing knot
- How to overcome your fear of heights
- Comfortable and confident in belaying a climber you can’t see
- Building an anchor system
- Harness that provides plenty of support and comfort for multi-pitch
- Tons of draws, all the draws you have and then more (at least 16, but 22 would be ideal)
- Cleaning gear
- Stick clip
- Helmet (absolutely necessary)
- Belay device: ATC or GriGri. Both would be ideal
- Leave your super aggressive, Red River Gorge shoes at home. Bring your comfy, slab/vertical shoes you won’t mind spending hours in
- Ascender would be nice
- Petzl Connect would be nice, too
- Mini pack to have while climbing if you want to bring up snacks and water (I didn’t but some people do)
- Sunshirt comes in handy
So much yummy goodness here in Potrero. You’ll be well-fed even if you’re a vegetarian! There are a few restaurants that cater to vegetarians and vegans in Potrero Chico Park.
On your long walk down Potrero Chico Parque, you’ll come across many food options. You can’t really go wrong with any one place you choose. I’ll highlight a few that I had personal experiences with:
If you’re looking for some bomber tacos, stop at this neat little taco stand: Tacos Piratas. Order the chicharron tacos – they’re the best. As a vegetarian, your only option for tacos is the vegetariano, but they’re really delicious.
Buffet time at Leo’s Tacos! Across the street from Checo’s, you’ll find some good eats at Leo’s! He recently recovered from a health thing, but I think he’s back and open for business. Really good service, good eats, and an overall good time.
La Posada isn’t just a camping gig. It has a really nice restaurant on the grounds open to the public. Check it out if you’re feeling fancy. It’s good food, and they obviously have outdoor seating. Their coffee isn’t half bad, either!
Every Friday night at Rancho El Sendero, they HOOK YOU UP! An all-you-can-eat eat buffet for the low price of 100 pesos, they treat your tummy well. Open to the public, of course. You don’t need to be a camper to get in on the good eats. You’ll think you landed on food heaven with the spread the hosts put out. I am a little bias because I camped there and got to know the owner, who is very welcoming and a good person.
Pro tip: One of my all time favorites is Checos!!!! Go there! Get literally anything on the menu and the master chef (Checo's wife) will hook you up. Get the flan and you won't be disappointed. And then treat yourself to the buffet at Rancho El Sendero on Friday nights.
There are some options, all of which require you to drive or walk to the town, Hidalgo. From accommodations in Potrero canyon, it’s about one mile to get to Hilalgo, which is totally walkable if you should desire.
There is a grocery story called Carniciera Y Abarrotes across the street from El Búho Cafe. It has all the essentials you need.
Also, there is a market every Tuesday and Friday you should check out if you want eggs, produce, and other delicious goodness. Just take a stroll down the streets of Hidalgo and you’ll find the market rather easily. You’ll find CDs, produce, shoes, clothes, just about anything here.
Rest Day Beta
Best place to chill with good wifi, coffee, and delicious lunch is definitely at El Búho. It’s the climber’s hangout for sure. There’s a comfy sofa, outdoor seating, and plenty of space for you to set up a little office if you need to get some work done. El Búho is open from October thru March. They are closed for the summer.
Pro tip: join the festivities at El Búho for the weekly barbecue on Tuesdays.
If coffee isn’t your thing, then plan on taking a stroll down the weekly market! There’s tons of local vendors that set up shop and sell all sorts of goodies. Be prepared to hackle and get yourself a bargain. You can negotiate prices.
Pro tip: buy eggs and produce here. Produce is on point! Market is every Tuesday and Friday.
FYI: The locals get rowdy in the canyon on Sundays. Be ready to jam to some music the locals blast while you’re climbing. It really is a cool scene. It is a PARTY! Feel free to walk the canyon and hang out – that’s what all the locals are doing!
Quick shot of how we end our climbing day in Potrero on Sundays – Tecate beer, music, and friends!
Common Spanish Words and Phrases
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