At the Purcari Winery in the village of Purcari, Moldova. Photo taken December 7, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Purcari Winery, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist! Arrive December 8th.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Petrified waterfalls!

What a totally fantastic day we had yesterday! First, we went and visited the widest tree in the world. You can read about that in last night's post here...

http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2013/03/the-widest-tree-in-world.html

But then, our day got even better as we visited Hierve el Agua (The Water Boils). This amazing attraction is where spring water with an extremely high mineral content has taken thousands of years to make natural rock formations that look like waterfalls!

We had read that there are two ways to get to this very worthwhile destination. Route 1, is a very narrow twisty dirt road carved out of a mountainside. Route 2, is a better road, but one that runs through disputed native territory where the locals charge a little more money for you to pass through.

Route 1

Route 2

Making the route even more difficult is the fact that they are building a new autopista (toll road) through this area. It's not that difficult to figure out, but we did make one wrong turn where we ended up on the not yet opened highway!

We came in using Route 1. We had the little blue car with us, and route 1 is not suitable for anything much bigger than the little blue car!

The road went through the village of Xaaga...



There are lots of signs though...pretty tough to get lost.

Pretty soon the dirt road becomes very steep and narrow!

The little blue car and a beautiful view!

There's the little blue car again on the far right.

Don't miss this turn...nothing will save you!

Coming down the other side. Guard rails? Nope.

When we arrived at the parking area, the guard collected the fee of 20 pesos ($1.66) each to get in. It was now 12 noon and there were only maybe four other cars there when we arrived! Shortly afterwards, a tour bus arrived but he sure didn't come in on the same road that we did! Near the parking lot, there are basic restaurant stands trying to sell food and drink, as well as decent washroom buildings and a swimming pool and cabanas for rent. There is also an area for camping, and I asked about motorhomes and trailers staying overnight. Sure enough, RV's can overnight here (dry camping) for 30 pesos ($2.50) per night!

The camping area. We are going to come here with Sherman one day and spend a week hiking these beautiful hills!

Even a nice swimming area!

Just below this beautiful swimming area is what we came to see. The water "boils" out of a small  underground spring, and makes it's way down the mountain. As it does, it leaves behind sediment from it's high mineral content and over thousands of years it has left beautiful formations that look like petrified waterfalls. It is the most beautiful thing!

Wow.

Wow again!

A couple of heads bobbing in the "infinity" pool. The water, although it "boils" coming out of the ground...is not that warm. 

There are two major "waterfalls" and we decided to go over the the other one to look back at the first one. There's some nice views along the way and we also saw a path where we could go down and see the formations from below!

Looking back at the swimming area.

The water "boiling" at the top!

A good view of the first formation.

We then went down the trail leading to the bottom of the area! Wow!

Kevin, standing at the bottom.

Look up, look way up!

It was about an hour hike to do the lower trail.

Great views looking up at the formations.

Great view all around actually.

Back up at the top, a nice spot for a break. You could probably pull your motorhome right up beside one of these!

And again, that's what we may do someday. We took route number two leaving the area, and sure enough this is the route the tour buses use so any size rig could do it. There's about 3 kms (1.8 miles) of dirt road, but it's in pretty good shape. And there's a couple of tight turns in the town of San Lorenzo, but nothing out of the ordinary. The only other thing is that we had to pay 20 pesos ($1.66) to leave through the town. That's the thing with the dispute between the locals and the government. No big deal though.

We had a great day at Hierve el Agua, and if you're ever in the Oaxaca City area this is a must see. There is only one other similar natural attraction in the world and it's in Turkey!

Today, we're up early and heading out of Oaxaca...next stop, Puebla!


30 comments:

  1. Xaaga doesn't look like much of a village.

    Oh dear, that road looks a bit scarey to me.

    The Falls look like they belong in Yellowstone. They are gorgeous. The "looking up" photo is my favorite. Really cool.

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    1. Yep, Xaaga is a small but very clean village, some houses and a school and that's about it.

      There is one BIG difference between Hierve el Agua and Yellowstone and that is that Yellowstone's pools and "falls" are created from volcanic lava and the hot springs. Hierve el Agua is "not" a hot spring and was created totally from the mineral content in the water. The water "boils" because of pressure underground pushing the water to the surface which makes it look like it is boiling. Definitely a pretty neat sight!

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  2. Beautiful and I'm sure the pictures no way do it justice!

    I love your travels.

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    1. They sure dont do it justice. You really need to see it to believe it.

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  3. We need to go there. :) Awesome.

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  4. WoW!!! Really neat - what a great spot you have found! Yup - GREAT photos. Thanks!

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  5. Wonderful spot. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and on-the-ground info. Hope to visit one day!

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  6. Wow.. those waterfalls are amazing!

    How funny that we both were by hot springs yesterday... Yours were quite a bit more impressive!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com

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    1. Ours wasn't a hot spring Karen. The water "boils" only because of the pressure underground that pushes the water up to the surface which causes it to look like it is boiling. The water wasn't warm enough for us to take a dip but it didn't stop a bunch of school kids from enjoying the water. They were having a great time.

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  7. Wow - have never seen anything like that. Interesting parks and attractions in Mexico. I had no idea. Great pictures.

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    1. We can't believe all that there is to see here in Mexico. It is very diverse! Most people who visit Mexico spend their time at the beach and miss so much of the interior of Mexico which we thinks offers so much to see and do and is away from the crowds of tourists.

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  8. Beautiful spot. I could see spending some time in that warm water. I can feel my body aches leaving as I think about it.

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    1. We would have spent time in the water too, except that they aren't hot springs so the water isn't all really warm. It was certainly not warm enough for us to go in.

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  9. They really do look like petrified falls. Just gorgeous.

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  10. WOW, what a find - love it - you two amaze us!

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  11. Great pictures of the falls, as noted above they look a bit like the ones in Yellowstone.

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    1. They may look like them but they are very different. These falls weren't caused by the hot water from the springs cooling and depositing the calcium carbonate and this is why they are so different. These falls are created the same way that stalactites in caves are formed excepted that the cool water is being pushed to the surface from underground pressure and then running/dripping down and leaving it's mineral content to form this amazing falls.

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  12. Reminds me of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. Really gorgeous. Glad you found a route to bring Sherman. It sure looks like a terrific place to spend some time.

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    1. Except that these aren't hot springs. One day we want to see Mommoth Hot Springs.

      We could stay pretty busy hiking all around that area. The scenery is absolutely beautiful.

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  13. What a perfect area to boondock in! Amazing area and thanks for sharing with us.

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  14. Time for a Kevin and Ruth "You gotta stay here" link!

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  15. Love the fact that, unlike in the US, there are no guard rails and "Danger" signs to protect the stupid. What an interesting place!

    Kent

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    1. One of the many things we love about Mexico, you are responsible for your own safety.

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  16. Now THAT is some place we will visit for sure. Spectacular...great pics...thanks for sharing! Truly a world wonder...

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  17. Wow, Wow, Wow. Another great location to visit next winter. I like the idea of staying in the camping area with the motorhome.

    Thanks,
    rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

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    1. Just make sure you head up the correct road if you are going in and RV. You want the second route not the first!

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  18. hello friends. if you like Toluca hope they pass toward Juarez Valley. We would be happy to personally greet them again. or if you do not want to cross Puebla Mexico City can take the toll road called the northern arch that leads up towards Morelia Atlacomulco and thence to the Juarez Valley. we are in touch by e mail, we warn. Take care see you soon

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    1. Gracias Paco y Oty. Vamos a estar tomando la carretera Arco Norte peaje alrededor de Ciudad de México y luego la cabeza hacia el Valle de Jaurez. Espero que vamos a llegar a verlo allí. Vamos a dejarlo ahí alrededor de 1 de abril.

      Thank you Paco and Oty. We are going to be taking the Arco Norte toll road around Mexico City and then head to Valle de Jaurez. Hope we will get to see you there. We will leave there around April 1st.

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