Waterfalls in Apoala

Tags: Apoala, Mexico, Oaxaca

Date: June 8, 2024

After two nights in the city of Oaxaca, we went out to the countryside, but still in the state of Oaxaca. More specifically, we went to the village of Santiago Apoala. It was an exciting drive up and down the mountains, ending in a beautiful valley with steep cliffs all around.

The village name of Apoala is probably in the Nahautl language which was spoken by the Aztecs. It means something with water and in this post you will see that this makes sense. The area might be one of the first that was settled by the Mixtec people. The Mixtec name for the village and/or the river is Yutatnoho which maybe means "river where the lords come from". Many people in the area still speak a Mixtec language and prefer that to Spanish when speaking to each other.

The first day we hiked down the valley along the river. It was so steep that the first long section of the trail consisted of stone steps. After a little while we saw the first waterfall:

A bit later, we saw the largest waterfall:

If you look closely, you can see a person in the water and a person standing next to the water. It is over 50 meters tall. Here we had made it all the way to the bottom and took a picture of a couple enjoying the view:

Continuing down the river, the terrain became less steep and the river was surrounded by trees:

We left the river for a while and looked at the countryside. This inaccessible area still had fields. Here is a overgrown stone wall with a field behind it:

A flowering agave plant:

The countryside is quite dry away from the river:

The earth here has been formed into terraces for fields:

It is a little hard to see but the terraces go down the mountain from the lower left of the photo to the middle.

Back at the river:

In several places, we saw canals that were used to water the fields in the terraces:

More idyllic scenes:

The terraces are visible on the other side of the valley here:

If you look closely at this picture you will see small corn fields and a hut or two:

Farming around here must be hard work. It looks like the small huts are for taking a break in the shade during the day rather than for staying overnight.

This is back at the village looking up the surrounding cliffs:

On the outskirts of the village we met this friendly donkey:

The donkeys in this area are mostly used for carrying water and firewood.