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Sun Feb 03 2013: Taking a dip in Boiling Waters

I think we're crossing into our 10th Mexican state, Oaxaca, today. It's a 3 hour ride on the Cuota roads (yes, we finally succumbed and dished out a small fortune) from Puebla and the weather was sunny and pleasant as we headed south-east. The terrain here is arid, and we've lost a lot of the lush green tropical trees that we saw in Michoacan.

Nice winding roads outside of Puebla

(un)Controlled burns seem to be a popular way of clearing grass in Mexico

Because we left Puebla pretty late in the day, we arrived in Oaxaca, the city, as the sun set. Unfortunately, while in Mexico City, the headlight wiring on my bike has broken so I'm forced to blind traffic around me with my high beams. As we head into the city, a fellow local R1200GS rider pulls up beside us and asks if we have a hotel for the night. "Nope". He says he knows a good one, so we follow him into the city, glad that someone that knows what they're doing is leading!

Lots of vendors in the main square in Oaxaca

Carlos the GS rider checks all of us into a very nice hotel, maybe a little bit above our budget, but it's very central and we run into them later on in the town square to have a drink and chat about Mexico and motorcycles. The main plaza is alive with vendors selling brightly coloured trinkets and lots of tourists wandering around. Neda remarks that Oaxaca is the cleanest Mexican city we've been to, so automatically she loves it here! I reserve judgement until I've tried their Brain Tacos...

Street performers playing in the main square

We also ran into another Canadian motorcycle couple, Kari and Rose from Thunder Bay! They trailered their Kawasaki Super Sherpas to Texas and rode across the border. Just two weeks into their trip, their 250cc bikes are outpacing us as they race towards the Guatamelan border and parts further south. We've been in Mexico for over two months already! We get a lot of helpful hints on accommodations from them and will probably run into them again if they slow down and wait for us!

Photo courtesy of Kari and Rose

Serious Scooter-Face in the streets of Oaxaca

VW Bugs used to be made in Mexico and is the country's most popular car

Colonial-style buildings in the historic part of Oaxaca

Vibrant nightlife in the city streets

Striking a bargain in the main plaza

Oaxaca from above, surrounded by mountains

Strolling around the back streets of Oaxaca

Neda found a great swimming hole called Hierve el Agua, Spanish for "The water boils", an unusual set of rock formations about a couple of hours outside of Oaxaca. The dirt road that leads up switches back on itself many times as it rises up into the mountains where the attraction lies.

Terrific views of the Oaxacan mountains and the valleys below

Taking a scenic break from the ride

Enjoying the ride through the mountains

Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua looks like a waterfall, except it's made up of rock. Rising up almost 100-meters, it was created from mineral-rich water that has bubbled up from the ground. Over 2,500 years, the water has dribbled down the face of a cliff, calcifying into what's known as a "petrified waterfall".

Mineral-rich waters create psychedelic pools of water at the top

Although the water bubbling up from the ground looks like it's boiling, it's actually carbonated and quite cold

More natural pools of water at the top and the funky patterns the minerals leave on the ground

Natural infinity pool and a model poses for us

Riding back down from Hierve el Agua

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