Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon April 04 2016

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    3 Epic Day Trips From Oaxaca

    3 Epic Day Trips From Oaxaca

    Photos by Cantimplora Travel

    It's easy to get lost in the charm of Oaxaca City’s cobbled streets, massive cathedrals and endless eateries. But while the city center has its fair share of fun, Oaxaca also boasts epic day trips in the surrounding area that you won’t want to miss. Here are three incredibly unique experiences to get you started:

    Hierve El Agua


    About an hour and 15 minutes southwest of Oaxaca City, the incredible Hierve el Agua could be one of the world's best-kept secrets. It wasn’t until Mexican brewing company Corona used Hierve el Agua as a feature for one of its commercials that the natural wonder started to receive a trickle of tourists. Since then, the amazing petrified waterfalls have slowly begun to attract more and more attention, though it is still considered a gem and visited only by those adventurous enough to make the journey.

    READ MORE: 22 Wanderlust-Igniting Photos of Oaxaca

    The name Hierve el Agua translates to “the water boils,” for the way that the mineral water appears to boil up from the Earth. Contrary to its name, the water that bubbles up to form the pools at the top of the waterfall isn't actually warm, though it is perfect for cooling off on a hot and sunny Mexican afternoon. Over thousands of years, the mineral-laden water has constructed these pools and slowly trickled over the edge of the cliff and down the mountainside, creating the spectacular formation you see today.


    There is a hiking loop that will take you from the top of the waterfall around the side and down to the base, offering a new and beautiful perspective. It is a semi-strenuous hike so be sure to bring good shoes and a big bottle of water as even up in the mountains the days are quite hot, and the trail is exposed to the sun. We suggest starting with the hiking loop and finishing with a nice refreshing dip in the mineral pools along the edge of the waterfall, which offer a spectacular panoramic view of the Oaxacan mountainside.

    Mitla Archeological Site


    The larger ruins of Monte Alban may get much more attention, but the archeological site of Mitla offers fantastic details and preservation. In fact, you can still see the original indigenous carvings and paintings that were made before Spanish conquerors arrived and leveled much of the sacred site.


    The level of detail in the construction of the Mitla Archeological site is astounding. From the overhanging wall installation that was specifically built to protect the artistic designs on its surface, to the ancient drainage system that still works to this day, this ancient site is a prime example of Zapotec history and cultural innovation dating back to around 1200 AD.

    Market in Tlacolula

    The markets in and around Oaxaca are legendary for their food, art and almost anything else you could possibly want. Each day of the week a different neighboring town holds its own market. The Sunday open-air market in Tlacolula is one of the biggest and best around where indigenous people from villages in the central valleys of Oaxaca gather to sell their goods. You'll likely see many women in the colorful traditional garb carrying baskets and sacks on their heads as they wander through the crowds.


    We recommend stopping by around lunchtime so you can snack and dine your way through the market. Goat and lamb barbecue are the specialties here, as well as chicharrones, or fried pork skins. Wash it all down with a Victoria beer. You'll find the Tlacolula market on the city's main avenue, about 45 minutes from Oaxaca's city center.

    READ MORE: The 5th Annual Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival Promises Gastronomic Fireworks

    We would never have discovered these fantastic gems around Oaxaca City if it weren’t for Cantimplora Travel. We joined the small group tour for a one-week road trip — with personal photographer — around Oaxaca and the Pacific. We highly recommend joining one of Cantimplora’s trips in Mexico for an insider look at the natural attractions and culture of Oaxaca. (The professional photos are certainly an added plus.)

    Have you visited any of these sites around Oaxaca City? Which one was your favorite?

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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