The Huasteca de Santa Catarina and the mountains de Monterrey National Park, two wonders of out-of-this-world beauty.
La Huasteca is a mountain wonder and an ecological park in Nuevo León
In the past, Santa Catarina was inhabited by nomadic groups, as happened throughout the Mexican northeast, who protected themselves from the elements by taking advantage of the natural shelters of little depth and height, but relatively long that make up the canyons of the mountain ranges in the Sierra Madre.
The inhabitants of this region dressed in tanned skins used long hair and their system of social organization was patriarchal. They ate what they hunted, wild plants and fruits, like all old civilizations, they practiced cults very attached to nature.
Of these first settlers, the Oyoluque and Ayulama tribes stand out, since we have the archaeological heritage of rock art in some of the canyons of La Huasteca and even the custom of cooking meat on fathoms or dried in the sun, which translated into our current customs, could be the popular roasted meats or the dried meat with which today the famous pounded with egg is prepared.
Although there are no data that specify when the name of Catalina was changed to Catarina, it is known that in a baptismal certificate corresponding to the Monterrey parish temple dated May 1715, the name of this region appears for the first time as Hacienda de Santa Catarina, that is, using the letter “r” and from then on the use of Santa Catalina, with “l”, was dissolved from the official documentation.
The first record that is had of this place was in 1577 with the name of “Estancia de Santa Catalina”. The estancia was later called “Hacienda de Santa Catalina”. Since that date, Santa Catarina is considered the door to the Mexican northeast and since 1596 the door to Monterrey.
Santa Catarina is the gateway to Nuevo León and is part of the metropolitan area of Monterrey, at an altitude of 680 meters above sea level and despite its large territorial area, more than 80 percent of its territory is made up of the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park.
Santa Catarina has 4,900 hectares of forest, 94 hectares of jungle and 32,932 hectares of scrub, as well as 5,391 hectares of secondary vegetation. Its flora includes the pinyon, white and durangensis trees, oaks, cedars, strawberry trees, ash, piquín chili, barreta, walnut, acacia, huizache and ebony.
Inside La Huasteca there is a unique species in the state, which is the agave noha victoria reginae and an endemic species which is the pine santa catarinae, both species are protected.
Santa Catarina was an important mining enclave. Perhaps the most important reason that led to the development of the old Santa Catarina was the mining activity caused largely by the mountains that are within the municipal territory.
The economic activities that have been declining are agriculture and livestock, largely due to soil conditions and constant droughts, but corn, beans, apples, and peaches are still grown.
The Cave of the Virgin is the home of small animals, clinging to the reliefs we find lettuce, victoria agaves (in danger of extinction), and the occasional lizard that hides between the rocky folds. Today this wonder of nature keeps the force of the movement that shaped it and invites all those adventurous who wish to leave the noise of the city behind, in search of a different day.
In some places, you can go by bike within La Huasteca, but the whole route involves a walk between rocks and trails, a little climbing and a few rappels. The highest peaks of La Huasteca are 120 meters high, where on one side you can see the city of Monterrey, and on the other, the peaks and immense walls in all their splendor.
Where: 20 kilometers from downtown Monterrey
When: 365 days a year
How much: Free entry, but it is advisable to be accompanied by a specialized guide.