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.
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!
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!