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I’m writing this the old-fashioned way: pen and paper, a beer in my left hand, feet in the water. There’s an energy here at Mexico’s Pozas Azules that inspires me to write and thankfully I have a kraft paper notebook with me. Who wouldn’t be inspired, surrounded by deep azure pools and shimmering waterfalls?
This small park in the village of Axcala is ignored by most tourists, unless they’re Mexican. As usual, some of the country’s best finds aren’t in guidebooks. To get here, I took a 2.5 hour bus from Mexico City to Taxco, walked across town snapping photos of vintage Volkswagen beetles along the way, and hopped in a combi for another one hour ride. Once I arrived, I found families sitting at picnic tables, eating quesadillas and sharing inside jokes. No one was in the water; I’d soon find out why.
There are a total of nine blue pools at Pozas Azules. The first few have been manicured, a prettier version of a swimming pool at home.
Up the stairs and deeper in the park, the pools are entirely natural. Small cascades and rock waterslides break up the pools, with a few jumping ledges sprinkled in for good measure.
I walk from end-to-end, admiring the moss and ferns as much as the namesake pools. At the turnaround point, a local offers to take me further, to crystal-clear swimming holes and a small cave, all for “una propina pequeñita”, a tiny tip. I graciously decline, noting how slippery the rock is underneath my sandals. Instead, I sit, putting my feet and calves in the ice-cold water, watching a few brave souls who shiver as they surface.
Splash! A teenage boy jumps from about three meters overheard into the turquoise waters below, his girlfriend filming every move on a GoPro. On his entry, frigid droplets spray my arms and I’m powerless against the goosebumps that immediately appear.
When he comes up for air, he grins in my direction with a jovial “Buenas!”. I’m the only gringa here, which prompts his curiosity as he asks where I’m from. We talk of swimming, weekend, and micheladas. He tells me April is a better time to come here, when the days are hot and sunny but before the rainy season swirls silt through the luscious blue pools.
Before I know it, interest draws me closer to the water, my calves finally submersed. This is just a normal day at the park, where Mexicans befriend you and time ceases to exist.
So was the long journey from Mexico City worth it, despite being too cold to swim?
For me, undeniably yes.
HEADS UP: Pozas Azules is located in the mountainside outside of Taxco, Guerrero, an area the U.S. State Department currently warns against visiting. Travel at your own risk.
How to Get to the Pozas Azules de Atzala
Combis (minibuses) from from outside Taxco Center, leaving from the Coppel Plateros (if you’re using Google Maps, you can enter this address: AV. DE LOS PLATEROS #332 COL. CENTRO. ESQ. CON, De Moisés Carbajal, Centro, 40200 Taxco, Gro., Mexico).
Combis leave when they’re full, approximately every half hour, from 8am-6pm. You can expect the trip to take 45-60 minutes each way, depending on how many stops they make along the way. As of February 2020, prices were 27 persos each way.
The park itself is open from 8:30am-5:30pm and has a 50 peso entry fee. Bathrooms, changing rooms, and street food are available. For more of a thrill, there’s a circuit with a 500m zipline (“tirolesa”) and two hanging bridges you can add-on if you like.
I found Pozas Azules very quiet on a winter weekday mid-afternoon. Like most parks in Mexico, I imagine it’s at its busiest on weekend afternoons when local families arrive for a day out. Busier may actually be better if you’re looking for music, more food, and the chance to watch daredevils doing cannonballs.
If you’re traveling here, don’t miss my guide to Taxco: I share info on safety, where to eat, things to do in Taxco, and the best hotel in town.