This natural cold spring, located about an hour and 40 minutes outside of Oaxaca City, sits high in a mountain and is definitely a wonder. Hierve el Aqua means “the water boils,” but the water is cold and bubbles up through the ground to create types of stone-like pools and petrified waterfalls. Wear sneakers or hiking shoes that can get wet as the climb or incline down from the parking lot area to the water is not level with dirt and stones. Once you arrive at the springs, the wet uneven stone (that looks more like puddles of sand) can also be slippery to walk on.
Visitors are welcome to swim in the natural infinity pools so wear a bathing suit and bring a towel if that’s something you may be interested in. Restrooms are located near the pools. There are also several longer hiking trails surrounding the area and a trail to get closer to the natural rock formation that looks like a waterfall but is actually a petrified waterfall of stalagmites. Taking photos on the edge of the pools and cliffs can be fun, but be mindful of your surroundings. There are no railings or anything preventing an accidental fall from the mountain’s edge. The crowds can be large on the weekends, but the area is expansive and there is more than one natural pool to swim in.
Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Families could easily spend several hours or half a day here swimming and hanging out. Some families bring coolers and chairs and treat the place like a beach. If you’re just visiting to take photos and check it out, you could spend about an hour or two here.
There are two tolls to pay on the roadway as you ascend the mountainside. There is an ongoing dispute between neighboring communities so that is why visitors must pay twice. In total, the tolls are under 50 pesos (less than $3 USD).
Several food stands can be found at the top near the parking lot.
There is a large parking lot area. It is best to hire a local tour or bus group or a taxi to take you here. The mountain roadway to the top is narrow and not paved. It can be a bumpy ride in the dry season and during the rainy season, can be an “interesting” drive through mud.