Guided Hike: 10 km / Fitness level: Intermediate – Advanced / Group Size: Up to 10 people


For today’s adventure we’ll meet at 7:00 AM at the Coyote Aventuras Office in the Centro of Oaxaca City.  Once you arrive please ring doorbell “A” to let your trip leader know that you’re outside.  After some brief introductions we’ll hop into the Coyote van and head out to one of the most mystical destinations in all of Oaxaca.

Santiago Apoala or Yutza Tó Ón in the indigenous language, Mixteco, lies in the northern region of La Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca. Yutza Tó Ón translates to where the river starts and with good reason, this beautiful canyon has fresh water springs bursting right out of the ground.  

For this experience, we’ll drive approximately 2 and a half hours through arid deserts and biospheres protecting ancient cacti species.  On our drive out you’ll witness the ecology begin to transform as we ascend into the Mixtecan mountains where arid landscapes turn into pine and oak forests covered in spanish moss.  This is a perfect time for a little pit stop at the Apoala mirador.

Santiago Apoala’s mirador overlooks this small town of 800 people smack dab in the middle of a canyon formed by impressive limestone walls and millions of years of running water. Once we arrive at Apoala we’ll have a little picnic of traditional food from the region and go over the activities for the day.  We hope you’re ready for a day full of hiking and adventure!  After our picnic in the grassy fields of Apoala, we’ll get set to head out into the canyon with a local communal guide who will share their cultural wisdom as we walk.    

On our hike through Apoala we’ll stop at some breathtaking waterfalls, learn about the indigenous culture and find some hidden swimming holes just begging for you to jump in. According to the Codex Vindobonensis, the origin of the Mixtec civilization is deeply intertwined with mythological themes, involving gods, heroes, and supernatural events. One of the central figures in these narratives is the culture hero Lord Eight Deer Jaguar Claw (also known as 8 Deer “Jaguar Claw”), who is a prominent Mixtec leader and considered a semi-divine figure in Mixtec mythology.

One of these pools is considered the divine place of origin by the Mixtec culture.Mixtec stories printed on screenfold manuscripts hail the pool Mini Tidaa (bird’s nest in English) as the place of origin where the first humans spawned out of this sacred spring water to populate the region.  We’ll get a chance to swim in this pool and admire the ancient ahuehuete trees that surround it. 

After swimming in the crystalline pools that naturally form along the river we’ll head up to the grand Cascada de Cola de Caballo.  This massive waterfall descends over 100 feet into a perfectly turquoise pool which is a delicious spot for a cold plunge.  For thousands of years these spring waters have been considered healing by ancient cultures and we invite you to immerse yourself deep within the elements. 

Once we’ve had our fill bathing in Apoala’s freshwaters we’ll go up to our favorite traditional restaurant next to the river.  At the Comedor Badu our good friends Eudelia and Octavio have been cooking up some delights from the region for many years.  We invite you to strike up conversation and learn more about their lives. After a little bite we’ll head into the Peñas Gemelas canyon where you’ll be able to observe close up the jaw-dropping walls that surround Apoala.  These limestone walls are filled with bromelia (airplants), agave and spanish moss.  There is a whole other ecosystem flourishing on these rock walls.  

From the Peñas Gemelas we’ll head back to the Coyote Van and celebrate a beautiful day combining hiking and indigenous culture!  We should arrive back in Oaxaca at approximately 8:00 PM.   

For another fun trip, you can choose to hike and swim in Santiago Apoala for two days.


Apoala map


$2,900 MXN

This tour operates with a minimum of 3 persons. In case the tour doesn’t meet the minimum, the tour will be canceled, and you will receive your full refund.


Outdoor activities carry risks, and you may be exposed to dangerous situations as part of this experience. Make sure you can participate safely given your abilities and the conditions (such as location, weather, and equipment).

Hike Apoala itinerary


7:00 Departure from the Coyote Aventuras Office.
10:00 Arrival at Santiago Apoala’s Mirador.
10:45 Traditional Picnic.
11:00 Get ready for our hike.
11:10 Begin hike.
13:40 Swimming at a Mini Tidaa.
14:30 Swim at second lagoon.
15:15 Hike and swimg at the waterfall. 
16:10 Arrive Back in town for a late lunch.
17:30 – 18:00 Departure from Apoala to Oaxaca City.
20:30 – 21:00 Arrive at Oaxaca City

Hike Apoala whats included


– Certified guide
– Transport
– Drinks: Water, coffee, tea
– Breakfast: Fruit, memelas, hot chocolate and coffee
– Lunch: Vegetable soup, tostadas and refreshments (vegan and vegetarian options will be available)
– Trail Mix: Organic snacks
– Access to protected natural areas
– Insurance

Hike Apoala notes


Would you like to organie a private tour? Don’t see your desired date available?
Do you want to spend the night in Apoala?
Please contact us! We will do our best to make special arrangements for you!

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