Hierve el Agua
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – the enormous gap between the guidebook’s description of Hierve el Agua and the breathtaking reality.
Click on any picture to see it enlarged.
If the words Hierve el Agua, or Boiling Water suggest lazing away the afternoon slipping in and out of hot water pools …surprise! Water is indeed boiling up from an underground spring, but it is NOT HOT. Take a dip in this gorgeous pool and the water temperature could also take your breath away!
The spring water is laden with minerals, and over thousands of years a system of petrified waterfalls has been formed by calcium carbonate deposits.
A trail leads from the pool area across small dikes and channels formed by mineral deposits that built up over thousands of years. Steps have been carved into some of the deposits to make your descent down one side of the largest mineral waterfall a little easier. Gazing up at the face of the 30 meter (98 ft.) high falls, you can appreciate the eons nature spent creating a masterpiece.
Along the trail you will notice a complex system of irrigation canals and terraces built by the Zapotecs about 2500 years ago.
Visitors can enjoy the many types of plant life that flourish in the arid conditions.
We traveled the 50 km. from the city of Oaxaca to Hierve el Agua (town of San Isidro Roaguía near the archaeological site of Mitla) by colectivo , which is a kind of shared taxi that is common in Oaxaca. We were thrilled by spectacular vistas as we wound our way up paved mountain roads to the 1821 meter (5800 ft.) altitude of Hierve el Agua. These thrills paled in comparison to the trip down. Riding in the back of a pick-up truck colectivo that climbed at least another 2000 ft., this time on a narrow, twisting dirt road, I was treated to views of Hierve el Agua far below!