Friday, December 8, 2017

Mexico Diary - Oaxaca and Hierve el Agua

Hi there, hope you all liked my first Mexico blog post and found it helpful. Today you get to see some pics of our second destination, the beautiful town Oaxaca. Unfortunately we only spent one night and one entire day there but enjoyed it to the fullest!

Where to Stay
We arrived late at night coming from Mexico City, went for some tasty dinner at a restaurant called Alvaro and spent the night at Hostal Pochon, a cozy, laid-back place located just five minutes from the city centre.

What to Do
The next day we got up early and went for a little walk through the town. I loved seeing the streets almost empty, everything was still so peaceful and quiet in the morning. Oaxaca is just amazing, it was my favorite town in Mexico! It's a smaller city but so beautiful with all its colorful buildings from the colonial times, its very clean streets, its cool street art and great food. I felt so comfortable in Oaxaca, I can't even exactly say why but you know, it gave me that feeling of being home. So we strolled through the streets, visited the Zócalo (Oaxaca's lovely central square), booked our tickets for our bus trip at night and explored the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. That market was one of my favorites, there were lots of colorful clothes, handmade products and so much fresh, great-looking food from fruit and pastries to spices and seafood. We bought a papaya, some bananas, guayabas (one of my favorite exotic fruits), pastries and tried the typical 'chapulines' which are grasshoppers with chilli sauce, very hig in protein but not my favorite snack, haha. After this culinary excursion we headed back to the hostel where we had beans, scrambled egg, bread and some fruit for breakfast before starting our day trip to a very special place...

'Chapulines', just had to try them!

My dinner the first night, 'pozole', a tasty chicken soup

The Hostal Pochon

Hierve el Agua

When I saw this unique place on my friend Lola's Instagram I knew I just had to see it with my own eyes! And I wasn't disappointed, photos can't even show how impressive this place really is.
After breakfast we took a bus from Oaxaca's baseball stadium to Mitla. It was about 20 Pesos per ride per person, so more or less 1 Euro, really cheap. The bus took about 40 minutes to get to the village. In Mitla we got on a camioneta, also called collectivo, that took us to Hierve el Agua. Collectivos are small vans that are waiting for people who wanna go in the same direction or have the same destination. Once there are enough passengers and the van is full it leaves. It's a very common transport in Mexico. The collectivo ride through the mountains took about one hour until we finally reached Hierve el Agua. We paid the 25 Pesos entrance fee and got off the collectivo. The parking lot is really touristy, you will find lots of restaurants, smaller food stands and shops there. At the end of the tourist area there is a path that leads to the mountains and the mineral springs.
Hierve el Agua is a set of rock formations and mineral pools you can swim in surrounded by mountains which guarantee stunning views. Since we went on a Saturday afternoon there were lots of tourists but also many Mexicans taking a dip and having picnic with their families. I'm sure it's less crowded in the morning or on regular weekdays. Since the mineral pools were a little crowded when we arrived we decided to go for a little walk first. I got an insider tip for you, there is a path on the right side of the pools that leads to further mineral springs where you will find less people. If you keep following that path for about 15 minutes until its end you'll reach the foot of the mountain from where you have stunning views of the white stone waterfall formed by the mineral water streams. It's a breathtaking sight! We stayed there for about 20 minutes enjoying the beautiful nature surrounding us and later climbed back up. When we reached the top of the mountain we couldn't wait to jump into the natural pools, it was so hot that day. That bath was so relaxing! The mineral water was pretty cool and actually greener than on my photos. It reminded me a little of a cold, green lagoon in Costa Rica we swam in last year. After taking a bath we changed, went back to the parking lot and took the next collectivo back to Mitla and from there a bus to Oaxaca. We got our stuff from the hostel and took a night bus to our next destination, San Cristóbal de las Casas.
My personal conclusion: Oaxaca and Hierve el Agua are really worth a visit. When you get the chance to travel through Mexico and don't know where to stop, visit Oaxaca and the mineral springs!

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