Hierve el Agua literally means boil the water, it’s a place to see petrified and calcified waterfalls and really cool pools, outside Oaxaca in Mexico, making it a great day trip.
Funny enough, when I started searching for different tours to do outside of Oaxaca or day trips, it’s not so much as actual tours, you could totally do this on your own. Yes, you could also do it as a tour. It might be a little bit more fun, but pretty much you could do it on your own.
Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca
Hierve el Agua is an entire day trip. The cool thing about it is if you do it with a tour, they add other little attractions to go with it because it’s a nine-hour tour that way. But if you do it on your own, you can do it in 6 hours. It’s approximately a two-hour drive from Oaxaca Center. We went halfway because we went to a really cool market, Tlacolula market to get a full local sight of the Oaxacan food. Make sure that you guys listen to I have a whole podcast episode about that area because it is a pretty popular market.
We drove to that section, and then we took a taxi from there because we were told that the roads are really dirt roads and a little bumpy, and we didn’t really want to destroy our car because mainly we are still driving around Mexico. We have another 1000 or 2000 km that we want to put on our car. So we figured, let’s maintain the car and not take it on dirt roads. We ended up using a taxi partway.
So they drove us from halfway and back, and that literally cost us like round trip $80. So here’s the thing.
Toll Road vs. the Mountain Road
There were two ways to get to Hierve el Agua. There is the toll road and I have an entire episode about driving in Mexico. So make sure you go and listen to it.
But tolls are a thing in Mexico and they are not cheap. So there’s a toll road that would probably get you there half the time vs. the mountain road. So we took the toll road there and that was not included in the price of the cab, so we had to pay extra. It was like $5 for the toll.
I mean, it’s a beautiful road. It really goes quickly. And then you have to get to some village that claims the road before Hierve el Agua, and that’s another payment, It was like a dollar per person, 20 pesos more per person just to enter their village.
You will find Toll Roads quite a lot all over Central America. In Mexico, we have found it more often than in other places
Then you finally get to Hierve el Agua. If you take the toll road, there really is no dirt road at all. It’s really easy to get to.
Hierve el Agua Entrance Fee
You have to pay for the entrance into Hierve el Agua. In this case, it doesn’t matter which road you’ll take, it’s 50 pesos per person, which is about $3 per person to enter. Not that expensive. Kids under eleven are free.
There’s only one parking lot, and it is filled with these little comedors and places where you could buy beer, micheladas, and coconuts.
Hierve el Agua Pons and Pools
The pictures that I saw were just pools, these really cool pools because I didn’t understand the interpretation so well. I thought it was hot pools. On the contrary, they’re quite cold. But it doesn’t matter because it’s so hot that you embrace the cold waters.
However, what makes this place remarkably magical is first of all, it’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere and the waterfalls.
These petrified waterfalls probably took millions of years to form. So it’s not an actual waterfall. It’s a petrified waterfall. The view is spectacular.
There are two trails.
- There is a hike to get to the petrified waterfalls really up close, so you could really get the view and see this monumental landmark.
- Then you got to go all around to the actual pools, which is what they call the eye of the water or something like that.
I would personally really recommend doing both. I would recommend starting with the petrified waterfalls. Because by the time you get to the water, you are so hot that you are just ready to hop into the water. Then you could enjoy your time in the water. We went during the day because we actually went on New Year’s Day, so we had to sleep in a little bit, obviously from the night before, and it was packed.
How Much Time You Need?
What is really recommended is if you could do it in the morning. I personally did not feel like getting up at six in the morning to get there. Eight, it is open, but if you are an early bird, it’s actually to your benefit because you probably will be very few people. When we were there, it became quite full of people, but you know, it’s big enough that you don’t feel it that much anyways, so that’s what Hierve el Agua is.
The actual time in the place, you only really need maybe 2 hours at most, but it’s because you need 2 hours to get there, 2 hours hanging out, and then 2 hours back.
The Way Back
On the way back we did the mountain road going home simply because we wanted to check it out, and we didn’t want to pay another toll. The mountain road literally takes twice the time, and it is slow. But if you’re into the scenic route and seeing all these tiny little villages and a lot of them felt like ghost villages, it’s an interesting experience To go through these towns.
Now, if you have the time, I really do recommend going there, but if you’re only in Oaxaca for like three or four days, there are way too many other things for you to do. We were in Oaxaca for nine days, so we certainly have the time. We allotted the time for doing this trip.
So that’s why it’s recommended to really structure your time and not to give up a day in Oaxaca. I personally would really recommend spending that time in Oaxaca which has so much to offer. I have an entire post about Oaxaca and the markets and you usually need one day just for the markets in Oaxaca and other days just to walk around.
It’s an incredibly beautiful city and also to do a Mezcal Tour. I have an entire podcast about the Mezcal Tour. So if you had a choice of doing a Mezcal Tour or Hierve el Agua, I would definitely recommend the Mezcal Tour simply because it’s a lot more part of the culture of Oaxaca. Literally, everything is around mezcal in Oaxaca and also the food, obviously. But if you had a choice between those two, go for the Mezcal Tour.
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