Hierve el Agua (“The Water Boils”) is a serious of natural rock formations 45 miles outside of Oaxaca in Mexico. The area visitors can reach is a smaller cliff called Cascada Chica contains natural and artificial pools for swimming.From here the larger cliffs can be seen along the scenic moutainous landscape.
These unusual formations are caused by fresh water springs containing calcium carbonate cascading over the cliffs and into the valleys, creating structures that look like solid waterfalls, similar to how stalactites are formed.
Swimming to the edge in these beautiful infinity pools was one of the highlights of my trip to Mexico, and gave me a welcome break from hectic city to city travelling.
To reach Hierve el Agua it’s easiest to join a day trip that visits Mitla and other nearby attractions. Most hostels and hotels in Oaxaca will be able to arrange this for you as last minute as the night before. Expect to pay around 150-200 MX Pesos for a full day tour, excluding entrance fees.
- Find hostels in Oaxaca such as Casa Angel on Hostelworld
- Read more reviews of Hierve el Agua on TripAdvisor
- Find the best hotels deals for Oaxaca on Expedia
For my second post about my bucket list for my upcoming trip to Mexico, my thoughts are still with the turquoise waters of the Yucatan.
The Mystical Cenotes
The Cenotes found along the Riviera Maya are sinkholes formed in limestone bedrock, creating cavernous pools from a few meters to a few hundred metres deep. While some are a scuba diver’s dream, others are suitable for paddlers like myself to try out for a splash. The Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza is the most famous and accessible, previously being a central site within the Mayan community and now one of the main tourist spots. Once I’m in Mexico I’ll ask the locals which Cenotes they recommend and how to avoid the crowds, hoping to float in the cool waters serenely.
Photograph by Catherine Karnow via National Geographic
Photograph by John Stanmeyer via National Geographic
The Hidden Beach
The Playa Del Amor hidden beach is part of the Marieta Islands, just off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. These uninhabited islands were used by the Mexican Government in the early 20th Century for military testing. The results were damages to the local coral and fauna, but also this one of a kind beach joined to the Pacific Ocean by an eighty foot tunnel. Visitors have to swim through to access the shore, but with plenty of headroom there’s no need for scuba gear. I can’t wait to see it for myself next month.
For more Mexico inspiration read my first post about Cancun’s Underwater Museum
I’m finally heading to Mexico next month! This means that I’ll be able to tick off some of my Mexico bucket list activities, although I’m sure they’ll be plenty left for a another trip in the future. Somethign that I’ve been eyeing up for some time is the Underwater Sculptures of Jason DeCaires Taylor in the MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Artes) between Cancun and Isla Mujeres.
The exhibition called “The Silent Evolution” was placed in the water in 2009 and aims to deflect tourists from the natural reefs, providing them time to recover and regrow. Initially I was worried that I’d need to learnt o dive to visit the sculptures, however the websites shows that both snorkeling and glass bottomed boats are available for at least some of the locations. While I’m sure diving provides the best experience, it’s not really an option for me.
The photos below are form the artist’s website where there are even more amazing shots. you can also see where over time these sculptures have become part of the ocean bed, with the reef starting to crawl across their surfaces.
I also need to decide whether the nearby Isla Mujeres is worth a visit. The beaches look lovely but a bit overrun with tourists, so I might decide my time is too precise to try it out. Let me know your thoughts if you’ve been!