Hierve el Agua Petrified Waterfall and Vultures

How to Get to Hierve el Agua from Oaxaca City

In Mexico, Most Popular Posts 2, Transportation & Border Crossings by Erik Van GilsonLeave a Comment

These petrified waterfalls are a unique natural phenomenon formed by natural springs – take a close look and find out how to get to Hierve el Agua from Oaxaca City without a tour.

How to Get to Hierve El Agua

Getting to Hierve el Agua is relatively easy, but time consuming.

The short explanation is that from Oaxaca City you can take a public bus (18 pesos) to Mitla. Then in Mitla, transfer to a camioneta (40 pesos) that will take you to Hierve el Agua.

Read on for the longer explanation of how to get to Hierve el Agua from us here at DIY Travel HQ!

  • #1. Oaxaca to Mitla

Mitla is best reached via a bus (18 pesos / $1.00, 1 hour) from the Oaxaca 2nd-class bus terminal or along Boulevard Jose Vasconcelos (Highway 190).

It is possible and preferable to combine Hierve el Agua with the Mitla Ruins and the world’s largest tree at El Tule since they are all located east of Oaxaca.

  • #2. Mitla to Hierve el Agua

Camionetas from Mitla (40 pesos / $2.25, 1 hour) can be caught opposite the bus station, but require 7-8 passengers to depart.

When travelling by local transport in Mexico remember to keep your cash, credit cards & other valuables in a money belt such as the money belt with RFID blocking.

Hierve el Agua Camioneta

Hop in the back, and get ready for a bumpy ride.

However, the ride is amazing once you depart.

The lucky may be able to sit in the extended cab, but for the best views hop in the back.

It does get a bit bumpy so hold on!

Hierve el Agua Camioneta Ride

It is best to hold on to a bar if you don’t want to go unexpectedly flying.

The pick-up truck takes you through a small village, past cows being herded, and along desolate stretches.

Road to Hierve el Agua

It only takes one hour to go from Oaxaca City to nothing.

All this occurs before even starting the climb up the mountain!

Along the way you realize how taxing the road is on poorly maintained trucks.

This truck was broken down, but disappeared before we returned.

* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Mexico. We’ve been using World Nomads for over 10 years – it’s the best-value provider we’ve found but there are important things to consider. Check out our post & find out which of our claims were successful or denied.

 

Road to Hierve el Agua Donkeys

The views of the valley are marvelous as you ascend the mountain before going over the saddle.

These photos were taken with our Nikon D3300 DSLR.

From there it is all downhill until you reach your ultimate destination – and that’s exactly how you get to Hierve el Agua from Oaxaca City!

Hierve el Agua Camioneta Leaving Mitla in the Dust

Despite dust being kicked up, the views from the back of the camioneta are priceless.

Hierve el Agua: Petrified Waterfalls

Now that we’ve covered how to get to Hierve el Agua, let’s take a look at the petrified waterfalls theselves.

Hierve el Agua is a series of bubbling mineral springs.

Through the years, they have deposited minerals along the cliff edge that now resemble cascading waterfalls.

Hierve el Agua Panoramic

Only in nature can you find such beauty.

Several pools were constructed at the top to ‘enhance’ the experience.

Hierve el Agua Main Pool and Petrified Puddles

Watch your step as you make your way across petrified puddles to the main pool.

There are two main cascades at Hierve el Agua.

Although the cascade with the pools is larger, the more appealing mineral-laden precipice is 100 meters away.

Hierve el Agua Petrified Waterfall

This is the postcard shot you send home from Hierve el Agua.

It is best viewed from the bottom of the pools, but can also be hiked to in 10 minutes.

Simply follow the path behind the main pool on the left. Disregard the signs that state you need a guide to hike there.

Turn left along a ridge when you reach a T-intersection at the top. Follow the trail until you reach yellow caution tape.

This is your signal to head down a side path to the top of the petrified waterfall.

As you can see, it can be very hot & dry at Hierve el Agua so be sure to apply adequate SPF 30 sunscreen and keep hydrated with a LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle.

Hierve el Agua Hiking Path to Petrified Waterfall

Why pay a guide when the trail is easy to follow?

Along the way, you will see several plants with engravings.

I suppose if you don’t have a bridge to place locks and thick trees are scarce, then you need to showcase your love somewhere.

Instead of disappearing when healed, the carvings actually leave scars.

Hierve el Agua Love Plant Engravings

How much do you love me? Enough to carve our initials into a plant?

From the far petrified waterfall, you can look back to the main cascade or descend to the bottom of the cliffs to see both ‘frozen’ cascades at the same time.

Hierve el Agua Main Petrified Waterfall

Bigger is not always better when it comes to petrified waterfalls.

Knocking on Hierve el Agua resounds with an echo as the minerals are loosely concentrated.

With many tiers to the cascade, it is possible to safely sit on the edge as you stare across the valley and contemplate life.

Hierve el Agua World's Most Dangerous Waterslide

Could this possibly be the world’s most dangerous water slide?

However, one false step and you could become food for the resident vultures.

Hierve el Agua Vulture

The vultures hover around Hierve el Agua waiting for tourists to take one step too many.

After you have finished hiking, head to the changing rooms (free) or bathroom (3 pesos / $0.17) to get ready for a dip.

Taking a dip in Hierve el Agua confirms the water is not boiling, but rather refreshingly chilly.

The maximum depth is 2 meters, and mossy at the bottom.

Take advantage of the large infinity pool that overlooks the surrounding mountains.

Hierve el Agua Infinity Pool

Hierve el Agua infinity pool in the sky.

There is also a smaller pool on the edge of the cliff that is shallower, and less frequented.

Hierve el Agua Lower Pool

This lower pool is overshadowed by the main infinity pool.

The spring that feeds the pool is surrounded by a fence, and you can see the water bubbling up before being naturally channeled down.

Hierve el Agua Natural Spring

Most springs are fenced off to prevent damage from tourists.

Hierve el Agua Bleeding Natural Spring

Do you know what minerals make this channel blood red?

Having springs at 3,000 meters above sea level is rather impressive when you think about it.

Hierve el Agua Natural Spring Pool

Who would think there would be springs so high in the mountains?

Hierve el Agua Food and Drink

Food and drinks can be purchased around the parking lot.

There are several stalls to choose from, but don’t expect drastic price differences between them.

Keep an eye out for Pina Loco, a fruity drink served in a pineapple.

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Hierve el Agua: Petrified Waterfalls in Oaxaca, Mexico - Hierve el Agua translates as ‘boiling water’, but the petrified waterfalls formed from natural springs appear frozen in time. Take a closer look and find out how to reach this remote location from Oaxaca without a tour. Enjoy the infinity pools, two cascades, mineral springs, and vultures. It is possible and preferable to combine Hierve el Agua with the Mitla Ruins, and El Tule since they are all located east of Oaxaca.

 

*** The Final Word – Once you know how to get to Hierve el Agua from Oaxaca City, Hierve de Agua is unique in terms of nature and worth visiting. Make time and enjoy the journey! ***

How do you think Hierve el Agua compares to Pamukkale in Turkey?

3 Shovels

Accessible DIY travel to more distant locations via multiple connections or longer forms of public transport

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Visited in April 2016

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