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Hierve el Agua

Hierve el AguaHierve el Agua (Spanish for "the water boils") is set of natural rock formations in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, that look like waterfalls. The site is located about 30 kilometers east of Mitla, Oaxaca. Relatively small amounts of water, which, despite the name, is not hot (25°C) bubble up from four springs and, running over the cliffs, evaporate. The rock formations, primarily of calcium carbonate, are left behind. This is much the same process as forms stalactites and stalagmites in caves, but in this case takes place on the side of a mountain.

The formations are very high, some of them 50 meters. The area is also of archeological interest because of the extensive system of irrigation and terraces built by the Zapotecs as much as 2,500 years ago. The water is artificially pooled in two places so that visitors can wade or swim in it. The water in the pools has such a high salt concentration that it appears turquoise green. Trails allow for hiking to the bottom of the rock formations and to various other places in the vicinity.

Hierve el Agua OaxacaTo get to Hierve El Agua take the highway 190 from the city of Oaxaca towards the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, turn off to Mitla and skirting that town, continue on the road towards Ayutla. After winding into the mountains for 17 kilometers you arrive at the turn to Albarradas, 5 kilometers more bring you to Hierve el Agua. Access to the site is by means of a narrow, winding dirt road for about 8 miles. Total travel time from Oaxaca is about two hours, it is best to view Mitla and Hierve el Agua on the same day. The town has a gated entrance and there is a fee to enter usually around 20 pesos is $2 US. If the view from the springs isn't enough, there are trails that lead to the base of the falls€ and around it. If you get hungry while visiting Hierve el Agua, there are comedores (local vendors) on-site. In the 1990s cabins were built for overnight accommodation at the site, with a swimming pool built in the middle of the ring of cabins. In 2007 construction was begun on a new pool on the edge of the mesa, surrounded by building with space for several open air restaurants.

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