Oaxaca's Tourist Guide
Oaxaca's Tourist Guide


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Typical eating-house
Tourist Y'
Tourist house
Tourist lodgings
Wonders of nature
Breathtaking landscape

Hierve el Agua

Roeguia is a settlement in which Hierve el Agua, a place which takes its name from nascent springs, is located. This tiny village has approximately 1000 inhabitants whose principal occupation is agriculture, as well as ranching and raising fowl. The climate is temperate for most of the year and hot in the summer. A particular kind of palm tree is found here which the locals use to create carpets and other crafts.

Hierve el Agua, which literally translates as Boiling Water, is considered to have likely been a sacred spot for the ancient Zapotecs who inhabited the region. This area may have been considered sacred due to the great natural contrasts, as the town is located in the heart of a steep mountain range which during the dry season is characterized by its extreme barrenness, and during the wet season by incredible scenery for both photographers and nature lovers.

Numerous archeologists, biologists and geologists have visited Hierve el Agua to conduct research, as it is a site in which remnants of a complex system of irrigation that was constructed more than 2,500 years ago are still visible. Petrified canals from this system can be found in both the upper and lower terraces, however care must be taken when exploring the site in order to ensure that they are not damaged or destroyed.

Thanks to this research, the construction and functioning of the terraces and canals which cover a wide area around the amphitheater is now understood. In addition, it has been determined that this ancient irrigation system is unique in Mexico, enabling the former inhabitants to intensively develop their agricultural system, oriented towards the maximal utilization of spring water, in a region with pronounced slopes.

The flow of water in this region has caused sedimentation over the years, creating two impressive waterfalls of petrified calcium carbonate. The first is white and approximately 30 metres tall. The other is about 12 metres tall and bathed by green water from a large pool. It is possible to swim in this water which is found in a small valley at the top of the waterfall.

The name of this site gives the impression that it is a source of hot springs. The reality is, however, that the waters are lukewarm and that it is as a result of the way the water bubbles directly out of the ground to the surface that it appears to be boiling. Although the temperature of the water is slightly higher than that of air temperature (fluctuating between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius), it is very far below that of the boiling point.

The natural beauty of the area is not the only attraction at Hierve el Agua, given that it is, first and foremost, an important archaeological site which has a large history of the study of the diverse aspects of the culture and lifestyle of the ancient inhabitants of the region.

We invite you to stay at the Tourist House (Tourist Y') or in the Hierve el Agua tourist inn, which is located on the upper platform, covering an area of approximately 10,000 square metres. The latter offers the following services: cabins, a swimming pool, wash and dressing rooms and palm huts (palapas) in which food may be purchased.

Suggested Trips
During the journey, the varying coloration of the mountains may be admired prior to arriving at the town of San Lorenzo Albarradas. In this settlement, some of the buildings have palm roofs and some of the properties are fenced in with cactus which creates a fresh and natural environment.

In the extreme south, the edge of the platform serves as a vantage point from which the lower platform may be observed. It is from there that the springs and the pool may be clearly seen while looking straight ahead, with the petrified waterfalls (one in front of the other) off a bit to the right. In the background, there is a good view of the mountains which are covered with vegetation, giving the illusion of a grassy carpet. From this zone and down the right hand side, one may walk by through the countryside, descending right to the lower part of the waterfalls and continuing up to the upper platform on the other side. This walking route takes approximately one and a half hours as the distance traveled is about 2,300 metres.

In addition, it is possible to see more of the trails and mountains through the following guided excursions which are available through the administrator of the tourist inn:
1. Hierve el Agua and the surrounding area (4 hours)
2. To "La Mina Abandonada" [Abandoned Mine] (3 hours)
3. Yegoyache (an undeveloped archaeological zone) (6 hours)
4. "El Crucero" [the crossroad] (streams and mountains) (6 hours)
5. Yehuito (an undeveloped archaeological zone) (6 hours)

San Lorenzo Albarradas: Is located 50 miles (80 kilometres) East of the City of Oaxaca via highway 190 to the Isthmus. Turn left at the Mitla detour and continue on the road which takes you to Ayutla Mixes. Turn left when you reach the San Lorenzo Albarradas detour. Approximate travel time: [2:00]
Hierve el Agua is found in the Roeguia Ranch, which is itself located 3 miles (5 kilometres) from San Lorenzo Albarradas.