Trip to Oaxaca

Oaxaca Area: Immerse yourself in the bubbling hot springs at Hierve El Agua

By Anita Draycott

One of the most picturesque natural attractions in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Hierve el Agua offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path travel experience. It’s a top ecotourism destination in Oaxaca, especially popular among naturalists, hikers and photographers.

The name Hierve el Agua translates to “the water boils,” and the natural mineral springs that are found here take their name from the bubbling of the warm water as it flows up from the earth through the springs and releases oxygen into the turquoise cliff-top pools.

When you arrive at Hierve el Agua you’ll see what appear to be a massive waterfalls frozen to the side of the mountain. These are actually natural mineral formations that have built up over thousands of years as a result of the mineral-laden water spilling over the edge of the cliff and trickling down the rocky mountain side.

It’s hard to resist a soak in the springs at Hierve el Agua. The minerals in the water are said to be beneficial for the skin and the views from the two cliff-top bathing pools, both of which offer expansive panoramas of the valleys below, are some of the most spectacular in Oaxaca.

Hiking is another favorite activity at Hierve el Agua. There are numerous trails and walking paths in the area. You can hike most of them in less than an hour, including the main trail that leads down the side of the mountain to the base of the petrified falls where it’s possible to get a closer view of the mineral formations and even do a bit of climbing.

Hierve el Agua is best visited on day trips and guided tours from Oaxaca City. Some basic cabanas and a few small restaurants cater to overnight visitors.

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