Hierve el Agua is an ancient pre-Hispanic Zapotec ceremonial site located about an hour beyond San Pablo Villa de Mitla, one of Oaxaca’s archeological wonders. Hierve el Agua, meaning bubbling water, is a wonder in its own right, nestled on the edge of a mountain ridge in Oaxaca’s Sierra de Juarez.
A cluster of small pools are carved out of the rock, formed by bubbling underground springs that are no longer hot but lukewarm. The stunning calcified waterfall is one of only two in the world.
Look out at the pool’s edge and there appears to be a shear drop-off into the steep canyon below. The calcium formations on the surface create interesting patterns and are like stalactites found in caves. Touch them. They feel like a coral reef, sharp and hard. We wore water sandals to protect our feet and to keep from slipping over the edge!
Rivulets of water bubble up from holes and run in small streams toward the hollowed out pool.
This is a perfect place for swimming and sun-bathing. Be sure to bring a towel, bathing suit, hat and sunscreen. I even saw some swimmers wearing goggles.
Since I didn’t plan too far ahead, I went dipping in my sun dress and undies. A very refreshing interlude to a hot day in November in the Oaxaca mountains not far from the village where I live.
How to get there? You can travel in your own car like we did and follow the Carretera Nacional (Pan American Highway) MEX 190 from Oaxaca to Mitla, then connect on MEX 179 and follow the signs. It’s pretty easy. Click here for a road map.
Getting there takes the same route as the trip to San Juan del Rio, one of my favorite mezcal making villages. So you might think about combining this as a day trip.
Another option is to take a tour van from Oaxaca city. This is limiting, since you only get about an hour at the site and the tour may combine this trip with a stop at Mitla and Teotitlan del Valle. In my opinion, this route deserves an entire day if you have the time. It’s a perfect place to enjoy and relax.
I also saw that people came out on collectivos connecting from Mitla. So, there are independent travel options if you are so inclined!
Portrait Photography Workshop coming up the end of January, 2015. There is space for you!