Treks Exploring The Great Outdoors

Swim above Hierve el Agua’s stone falls

Although the falls look like cascading water, they're actually made of stone

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Mineral springs created the stone waterfalls here in much the same way stalactites are formed in caves. Image by Hierve El Agua Oaxaca

Although you have some options if you want to swim atop a waterfall, Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca, Mexico, is likely among the safest. Created from underground mineral springs that have slowly dripped over a cliff through the millennia, the falls are actually two rock formations that look like cascading water. The larger formation, Cascada Grande, rises 262 dramatic feet. The smaller, Cascada Chica, features several pools directly above it where visitors can swim in water with a high mineral content, which is believed to provide health benefits. Check out these faux falls below.

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Cascada Grande, the larger of Hierve el Agua’s two stone falls, is 262 feet high. Image by Gustavo Gallegos

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Mineral spring pools dot the top of Cascada Chica, the smaller of Hierve el Agua’s two stone falls. Image by Hierve El Agua Oaxaca

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Both natural and artificial pools greet visitors at Cascada Chica and they can swim with a view of Cascada Grande. Image by Hierve El Agua Oaxaca

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The water here is a pleasant 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Showers and basic facilities are also available. Image by WikiCommons

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Daring, or careless, swimmers can float right up to the edge. The drop here is 40 feet. Image by Carmen Chavez

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The pools are fed by the same mineral springs that formed the waterfalls. Image by Hierve El Agua Oaxaca

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Many believe the high mineral content of the pools provides health benefits. Image by Hierve El Agua Oaxaca