Since I heard about Las Pozas, Edward James’s Surrealist Sculpture Garden, in Mexico, my biggest wish was to go see it. The years went by, and there was always some excuse not to plan it until my last month in Mexico. I was having a conversation with a friend who had traveled there over 15 years ago and jumped at the idea of embarking on this adventure together before I left. And so the journey began …


Santiago Sierra Soler


Seven of us piled into two cars and started the journey from Mexico City up north to Xilitla, making a pitstop in Pinal de Amoles the first night. The following day, so excited for all to come, we left bright and early to our destination. After a lovely lunch overlooking the town, we had the great fortune of being guided by a relative of Edward James around a secret garden full of Leonora Carrington sculptures, followed by a tour of the El Castillo of Xilitla, which was designed and built by Plutarco Gastelum – James’ lover and partner, a narrative his relatives did not share with us but which became very apparent along the days we spent there. They were, in our observation, not only romantically involved but equally partners in creating and constructing Las Pozas.


Leonora Carrington Bronze Sculptures. Picture by SANTIAGO SIERRA SOLER

Plutarco´s Castillo. The Minotaur was drawn on the wall by Leonora Carrington, who often stayed as a guest

The Castillo from above. Picture taken by Juan Sala


Nestled deep in the rainforests of Mexico lies a hidden gem of surreal artistry and imagination—a place where dreams take shape and reality blurs into fantasy. The story of Las Pozas begins in the late 1940s, when Edward James – an eccentric English poet and patron of the arts – purchased a vast tract of land in the Mexican wilderness with the intention of creating a sanctuary for artistic experimentation. Over the course of several decades, James transformed the landscape into a surreal wonderland, populated by a variety of fantastical creatures and architectural marvels.

“James focused on Surrealism and quickly became the most prolific patron of the movement. During 1937 he supported René Magritte enabling him excellent working conditions in a garage above of his house in London, while the following year James acted as a patron to Salvador Dalí.”


The first glance of Las Pozas


Located near the town of Xilitla in the state of San Luis Potosí, Las Pozas (“The Pools” in Spanish) is a sprawling labyrinth of towering concrete structures, winding staircases, and cascading waterfalls, all enveloped by a dense jungle landscape. As James´didnt have much of a lived out childhood, he built Las Pozas as an extension of his adolescent fantasies and dreams. It is a testament to the boundless creativity and uninhibited spirit of its creator.


Las Pozas

At the heart of Las Pozas is a series of interconnected pools and waterfalls. Visitors are invited to wander through the labyrinthine pathways, discovering hidden chambers, secret passageways, and whimsical sculptures at every turn. Inspired by his lifelong fascination with surrealism and the natural world, James enlisted the help of local craftsmen and artisans to bring his vision to life. The result is a mesmerizing fusion of organic forms and geometric shapes, where concrete structures emerge from the jungle like ancient ruins reclaimed by nature.


Every time Edward James returned to Las Pozas he would bring another species of animal. This was the Alligator Cage (he owned 17).


Las Pozas

Las Pozas


Edward James in his Paradise Garden


Today, Las Pozas stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Edward James and his singular vision. Open to the public since the early 2000s, the sculpture garden continues to attract artists, dreamers, and seekers of the surreal from around the world, offering a glimpse into the boundless depths of creativity and the transformative power of art. I could not have envisioned a more perfect trip to end my cycle in beautiful Mexico – a country that holds magic like no other, where my dream was realized, and there is still so much space to discover more.

In the words of Edward James himself, Las Pozas is “the best poem I ever wrote.” And indeed, it is a poem unlike any other—a testament to the infinite possibilities of the human imagination.