Number four of my 16 candidates for Mexico’s 7 Wonders is the Hierve el Agua, a solidified waterfall in Oaxaca.
Hierve el Agua (Spanish for “the water boils”) is set of natural rock formations in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, that look like waterfalls. The site is located about 30 kilometers east of Mitla, Oaxaca. Relatively small amounts of water, which despite the name is cool (25°C) bubble up from various spots and, running over the cliffs, evaporate. The rock formations, primarily of calcium carbonate, are left behind. This is much the same process as forms stalactites and stalagmites< in caves, but in this case takes place on the side of a mountain. The formations are very high, some of them 50 meters: the picture in the gallery with tourists on top of the “waterfall” gives an idea of the scale. The area is also of archeological interest because of the extensive system of irrigation and terraces built by the Zapotecs as much as 2,500 years ago. There are cabins for overnight accommodation at the site, and the water is pooled in two places, and one can wade or swim in it. Trails allow for hiking to the bottom of the rock formations and to various other places in the vicinity.