Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

WOWs! in Western Oaxaca

Tucked away in the mountains of Western Oaxaca, home of the Mixteca, is the hidden gem of Cascada La Esmeralda. The Rio La Esmeralda tumbles over a high ledge and ricochets its way over rocky outcrops as it plummets more than 100 meters (328 ft.)to the valley below.

I recently spent the weekend with friends in the region of San Miguel el Grande, and the four of us and the dog packed into the front of their small Toyota pick-up and headed out to enjoy the day in this spectacular area near the town of Yosondúa.


Imagine Cascada Esmeralda thundering down this rockface during the rainy season! Since this is the middle of the dry season, and it has rained little for several months, the volume of water rushing over the edge has greatly diminished.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Crossing the footbridge, you will be awed with magnificent views of the cascade above, the valley below, and the mountains beyond.


Not for the faint of heart!

One zip line has been built below the bridge, and from our perfect vantage point on the bridge we watched this man listen to instructions and ZIP! We also watched another man who donned his helmet, asked many questions, and then chickened out! Maybe next year.

Workers are completing the platforms for another zip line that has been installed high above the bridge. Maybe the second man decided to wait for the REAL challenge!

Convenient stone walkways are being constructed through the forest although many paths crisscross the hillsides, and visitors are free to walk anywhere they want. There are no signs telling people what to do or not to do. So refreshing.

During your descent you will pass two lovely eco-cabañas where you could spend a relaxing night after a day of hiking.

Back in the village of Victoria, where my friends live, the “Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria y el Señor de los Milagros” was in full swing. We feasted on “fiesta food” (tacos, ice cream, fried bananas, cups of fresh fruit…) laughed as we watched the Luche Libre (Mexican variety of professional wrestling) and hung out to wait for the second WOW of the day – the castillos.  It’s difficult to know the true height of these towers of fireworks, but our estimation in relation to nearby buildings and trees is that they must be at least 75 feet tall – maybe more. A castillo has to be one of the most wonderful of all things Mexican.

Stunning fireworks awed the crowd between the lighting of each section, and of course all was accompanied by very loud music! I didn’t even try to photograph anymore; I just enjoyed the show.


Looming above the church and the trees, three castillos are waiting to dazzle the crowd.


Bless Your Pueblo – My Mother

WOW, What a day!

If you would like to see more castillo photos, or to learn how they are built, click or

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4 thoughts on “WOWs! in Western Oaxaca

  1. Alex Hurst on said:

    Really amazing! I really need to get myself a plane ticket one of these days! So gorgeous!

  2. Sigh. What a post. I am really happy when seeing these stunning photos. Thank You.

  3. Thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you like them so much!

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