Exploring the Amazing Petrified Waterfalls of Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca

Exploring Hierve el Agua


One of our favorite things about traveling with locals is the opportunity it provides to go deep under the surface of a new destination. To not only experience off-the-beaten-track attractions but also to learn about the unique culture, history and importance of the area from the viewpoint of someone who knows it intimately. Without fail, these moments with locals—however brief—always create our most meaningful, lasting memories.

While recently exploring Oaxaca with Mexican photographers and tour guides Sam and Bernie, we were once again swept away. Sam and Bernie founded their new travel company Cantimplora Travel based on their passion for taking travelers on meaningful, off the beaten track adventures—all while photographing the once-in-a-lifetime memories so that you can step away from your screens and devices.


A Cruising Couple At Hierve el Agua
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Hierve el Agua Collage 1
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

View of Hierve el Agua
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Traveling with Cantimplora Travel is precisely like being hosted by local friends; Sam and Bernie are eager to share the best-hidden gems and attractions of their country, without using forced scripts or rigid schedules. From meeting a local mezcal farmer to indulging in the best cuisine in Oaxaca City, Sam and Bernie were a wealth of insider tips from start to finish. But perhaps one of our favorite attractions on our road trip through Oaxaca was exploring the mesmerizing petrified waterfalls of Hierve el Agua.


Hierve el Agua: A Natural Wonder in Oaxaca, Mexico


Petrified Waterfall Hierve el Agua
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Hierve el Agua is one of only a handful of petrified waterfalls in the world. Though it looks more like a frozen waterfall dramatically etched into the side of a cliff, Hierve el Agua is, in fact, the result of mineral-dense water slowly spilling over the edge. Over thousands of years, the minerals slowly accumulated to form the stunning petrified falls.

Hierve el Agua is one of only a handful of petrified waterfalls in the world.Click To Tweet


Hierve el Agua
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Though the name Hierve el Agua translates into ‘the water that boils’, the natural infinity pools at the top of the cliff are in fact cool and refreshing—perfect for taking a dip while enjoying the spectacular surrounding scenery.


Hierve el Agua Oaxaca
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Yoga at Hierve el Agua
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

There are numerous paths and hiking trails throughout the area. The main track is a rigorous hike that will take you on a loop around Hierve el Agua, including the opportunity to get both panoramic photographs and up-close-and-personal shots with the petrified falls. While certainly not the easiest hike under the intense midday Mexican sun, it is well worth the views it provides. Just be sure to bring a hat and plenty of water along for the journey.


Hierve el Agua Hike
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Hierve el Agua Collage 2
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Hierve el Agua Hike
Photo by Cantimplora Travel

Once you’ve had enough time to take in the wonder and soak in the mineral-rich natural springs, then be sure to fuel up at any one of the many vendors and small restaurants just outside the entrance. We recommend the fresh pineapples mixed with rum and chile spices to accompany a mouthwatering tlayuda.


Have you visited Hierve el Agua? Share your travel tips and experiences below!

We were guests of Cantiplora Travel on their amazing Oaxaca Road Trip. As always, all thoughts are our own. 

Meet: Casey Siemasko

Casey Siemasko is a blogger, content marketer, and co-founder of A Cruising Couple. She has been living and traveling outside of the US full-time since 2011. She finds her life inspiration in exploring the world and seeks to find the magic in the most ordinary of places.


  1. Looks like an interesting place. Glad to see pictures of both of you.

    • Hey, Agness!

      Unfortunately, we’re not really sure how expensive it is. We chose to go with Cantimplora Travel, and they took care of all the logistics for us. We would definitely recommend having an insider guide like them to show you the ins and outs! You’ll get SO much more out of your trip. :-)

      Hope you get to go soon! :-)
      A Cruising Couple recently posted…Uncover The WorldMy Profile

      • The waterfalls look amazing, however I have a bit of a problem with walking more than about 30 minutes. Do you know if we can drive very near to the waterfall? Even if there is a road to the top?

        • Hi Eva, You can definitely drive right up to the “natural infinity part”. You can also get a glimpse of the petrified waterfalls from there. Not everyone in our group did the hike and they all enjoyed it, so it is definitely worth the visit :)

  2. I love your photos! My husband and I were in Mexico a few years ago, but we didn’t go to Oaxaca (which apparently was a mistake :) ). I’ve since heard that it’s THE destination for Día de los Muertos, so now we have several great reasons to go back!
    Miriam recently posted…Saint Petersburg, you are fascinatingMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Miriam! :)

      That’s really too bad that you didn’t make it over to Oaxaca. On the bright side, however, you’re right that it’s an awesome excuse to come back. ;-)

      Must agree that it really is the best spot for Dia de los Muertos! So much fun to celebrate such an incredible holiday in this city.

      Hope you get to back sooner rather than later! :)
      A Cruising Couple recently posted…Why wildlife holidays are the ultimate adventureMy Profile

  3. what an amazing other-worldly feel the place has! Like an alien landscape – love it!

  4. Great pictures! Just coming back from Oaxaca this revives the good memories) Hierve el Agua is a great spot with really impressive landscapes ( Im under impression thought that it becomes unfortunately fairly crowded with tourists)
    Denis recently posted…WTM London : 2017 the year of Sustainable TourismMy Profile

    • Thanks so much!! And we must have picked a good time to visit Hierve el Agua then! Hope it doesn’t get too crowded – it was magical while we were there :)



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