Oaxaca's Tourist Guide
Oaxaca's Tourist Guide


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Interior of the Tourist Y'

Santiago Apoala

The name of this community, Apoala, is of Nahuatl origin and means "Water that destroys"; atl " water and poloa destruction". The inhabitants of this place and those nearby know the town by a name in the Mixtec language: Yutsa Toon which means "River which uproots"; yutsa "river and toon "uproot". This translation is possible as a result of the glyphs found in Mixtec manuscripts.

The climate is cold and most of this territory is characterised by coloured soil. The following services may be found here: electric lighting, plumbing, pre-school as well as primary and secondary schools, and a rural medical unit.

The primary crops grown here are grain and corn, and the principal occupation of the villagers is palm frond weaving. Able hands make hats and mats in different shapes, colours and sizes. Each Wednesday there is a street market. The festivals which are most celebrated by the community are: Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, and the Saints Day for which the town is named that is celebrated on the 25th of July.

This is a town full of mysticism and grandeur which invites us to journey to see the magnificent view from the look-out, the Cave or the Cavern from whence the river is born, the colossal group of cliffs, better klown as the "nine hummingbirds" and the waterfall.

This town has a tourist hostel which offers all of the basic services, and where one can be in direct contact with nature and the local inhabitants. It worth mentioning that a replica of an ancient manuscript is housed in the local library.

Before a visitor arrives at the town, they encounter the look-out. From the road, the town is about a 200 metre walk. Before you know it, you are in the valley of Apoala! If one is travelling by vehicle, the road slopes down hill until arriving in the town. During this route stunning landscapes of great natural beauty may be observed.

The Cavern (La Gruta)
It is from this cave that the water which supplies the inhabitants of Papaloapan for both domestic and irrigation purposes gushes forth. It is this same water which is converted into a tributary of the Papaloapan River and finally ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. There are two chambers in the cavern, one which descends and the other which ascends, although both are on an inclined slope. In order to descend into the cavern, visitors will need an artificial source of illumination, such as a flashlight. Approximately 100 metres into the cave, the Inner Lagoon (Laguna Interior) is found, and from the ceiling, a great number of stalactites may be observed. From this point on, it is impossible to continue exploring the cave without special equipment.

In the ascending second chamber, there are stalagmites of different sizes. From the south side and in the middle of the rock, hangs a stalagmite in the form of a tiara or miter, such as that used by an archbishop. It is for this reason that this formation is known as the "archbishops rock".

The Colossal Stones (Las Peas Colosales)
In order to reach this site, visitors must pass between two very large rocks, which, although large, are not nearly as impressive as the Colossal Stones. Crossing the river and walking a little further, a visitor may observe two stones which are found one in front of the other. A nine or ten metre passage separates the two, and after a further 200 metre walk, the visitor will find themselves between them. If one looks up, the columns appear to join because of their great height which is estimated at 300 or more metres.

The Waterfall (La Cascada)
Continuing along the river bank, the length of the rock may be observed. Towards the bottom, a small valley may be observed. It is from there that the waterfall may be seen in all of its approximately 30 metres of splendour. Although difficult, young people occasionally climb down to bathe themselves at the foot of the waterfall.

Santiago Apoala: Is located 76 miles (123 kilometres) Northwest of the City of Oaxaca via highway 131-D to Mexico City. When you reach Nochixtln turn Northwest and follow the dirt road for another 28 miles (45 kilometres). Approximate travel time: [2:30]