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CAVES                                                                                                 Printer friendly version

 
 

The Yucatán Peninsula is a porous limestone shelf with no above-ground rivers or lakes. Instead there are underground rivers, lakes, sinkholes and caves. The caves of the Yucatán were sacred places for the Mayan and are impressive places to visit. When visiting the caves it is important to ALWAYS enter with a guide.

THE CAVES OF LOL-TÚN:
This name is derived from two Mayan words, LOL (flower) and TÚN (stone). Located in the hilly Puuc region, 66 miles from Mérida, these are the largest caves on the peninsula. They are also the ones that are the most studied. Evidence has been found here of human presence going back 7,000 years. Mammoth bones have been found in the caves, along with fresco paintings on the walls, "Hands in Negative," faces, animals, frescos and decorative figures. The Caves of Lol-Tún will amaze and delight even the most jaded traveler, and are a special treat for children. Special features in these caves are the columns that can be "played" like musical instruments. When struck with the flat side of one's fist, they strike two deep and beautiful bell-like tones. The caves seem to go on forever, and have not been fully and completely explored, even to this day. Your tour will take you from cathedral like underground spaces, to dry river beds, beautiful glittering stalagmites that look like frozen fountains, and much more.

CALCEHTOK CAVES:
The Calcehtok caverns also known as "Aktun Spukil," are considered along with the Lol-Tún caverns, among the biggest in the Yucatán Peninsula and have a very complicated tunnel system. The meaning of this word derives from the Mayan "Cal" (neck), "Ceh" (deer) and "Tok" (flint). It got this name in 1875 when a sculpted stone with the form of a deer was discovered in an open well of the area that lead into it. The main access to the entrance is a there km. pavement road; the descent is made on an iron ladder. Once into the main chamber, four different tours can be made, the most interesting has two Km. of galleries; natural formations called "The Cocrodile," "The Horse," "The Tongue," "The Mommy" and "The Divine Face" can be seen in this largest gallery called cave number four. Abundance of pre-Hispanic materials is found in all the caverns; intact vessels, and unexplored chambers are still waiting to be discovered to add more knowledge of the Mayan culture. Archeologists have found bones of deer and from other animals, ceramics, quartzite hammers, arrowheads, human graves, etc. Some vessels that were used by the Mayans to collect the filtered water of the ceilings are completely petrified. Into the first two chambers one can watch kind of small fences as stockades that the Mayan rebels used during the "Guerra de Castas" rebellion. Besides of the main caves, there is a complex of more than 30 other caves. It is not advisable to get into these caverns alone, you may ask the help of the "Cuy family" that offers an expertise touring service into the caves, they live in the village.

BALANKANCHE CAVES:
Located at six km. from Chichén-Itzá, these caves were important ceremonial sites for the Mayan people. There are impressive stalactites and stalagmite formations inside. 650 feet from the entrance is the "Balam Throne," an altar where it is believed the Mayan celebrated some type of ceremony. In this same chamber there is a 20 foot tall grand stalagmite formation that resembles a ceiba tree, the sacred tree of the Maya. It is said to be the "sacred tree inside the earth." Many ceremonial objects can be seen at the outdoor museum located next to the entrance. There is a light and sound show relating the history of these caves that has been incorporated into the cave tour.

TZABNAH CAVES:
These caves are located 25 miles south of Mérida in the village of Tecoh. The name Tzabnah is Mayan and means "The Kings Palace." There are stalactites, stalagmites, columns, deep crevices and thirteen cenotes within the caves. On the route within the caves, there is a huge chamber known as the "Cathedral’s Cúpula" that oddly enough resembles the Cathedral of Mérida. Legend has it that a Mayan prince and the princess that had been kidnapped escaped to these caves and were lost. You can visit these caves at any hour as there is always someone there to guide you.

For prices, reservations, availability and bookings, please contact us at: visit@luxuriousmexico.com

       
Yucatan, Lol-Tun Caverns, Puuc Route, Stalactites and stalagmites - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0405
Stalactites and stalagmites at The Lol-Tún Caves
Yucatan, Valladolid, Cenote Dzinup, Stalacite - Photo by Secretaria de Turismo de Valladolid
Cenote Dzitnup in Valladolid
Yucatan, Lol-Tun Caverns, Puuc Route, Maya art, hands - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0405
Maya art at The Lol-Tún Caves