Posted by: Alex MacGregor | January 16, 2018

Cacalotenango Waterfall

I’m always on the lookout for hidden gems that for whatever reason don’t get the attention they deserve. Particularly when they’re a stone’s throw from touristy spots and make an easy add-on to a trip (see: Trebinje, a pretty, untouristed ethnic Serbian town an hour bus ride from Dubrovnik, or Apricale, a gorgeous Italian hill town a stone’s throw from the French Riveria). Typically I hunt for these places on Google Earth.

Well, I found what looked like an awesome one! Ixcateopan de Cuauhtémoc is this amazing little town with white cobbled streets, an archaeological site, colonial architecture, and is supposedly the final resting place of the last Aztec Emporer, Cuauhtémoc, just a half-hour from (quasi-)touristy Taxco. Sounds pretty amazing, right?

Well, the owner of my hotel unfortunately advised that the road to Ixcateopan isn’t safe due to the drug war. Damn.

But, just a few miles down the road towards Ixcateopan I found something else that looks pretty cool–a great big waterfall! And one that doesn’t even warrant a mention in the Lonely Planet. I decided to ask around and check it out.


The view out the front window of my (VW Bug) taxi to the falls. It’s about a ten minute drive down the road towards Ixcateopan (…a road which, for posterity, has numerous minibuses buzzing in either direction, and which the cabbie scoffed heartily at being too dangerous to travel; oh well, maybe next time!).


We eventually pulled up to the waterfall. There’s a little swimming hole, a little shop, and some locals and Mexican tourists hanging out.


This was a tiny, disappointing waterfall, to be brutally honest. A local curiosity and pleasant place to bring your family, but not a really noteworthy place.

This was also not what I was after. I said I was looking for a big waterfall, way up the mountain! I even walked out onto the highway and pointed up at the waterfall for emphasis.


“Oh…you want that waterfall. Well, that’s a thirty minute hike up the side of the mountain, if you want to see that.” Um, of course that’s what I wanted to see!

cacalotenangohike6I hired a local kid as guide to show me the way up the completely unsignposted, but satisfyingly dog-filled, hike.



A mural of the town the hike starts from. It even has a tiny waterfall in the upper left hand corner!


My guide stops to take in the mountains of Guerrero.


The trail eventually goes by an unfinished church.


Quite a waterfall!



It’s apparently called Cascada Cacalotenango. It must be several hundred feet tall, and for travelers who, well, enjoy waterfalls, is definitely worth the couple hours’ excursion from Taxco.

In fact, it would be even better as stop on the trip back from Ixcateopan–now that would be the perfect day trip!


  1. Close up it doesn’t look like the same waterfall. Another reason to look closer!

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