The Yucatan Peninsula is a very dear destination for speleologists who come to enjoy this gruyere cheese full of surprises. Several of these places are enabled for tourism, do we go out to cave?

The geological nature of the Yucatan Peninsula of karstic formation, allows the formation of cavities in the form of caves, cenotes, grottos, caverns ... a world that preserves numerous traces of our historical past, the deepest wrinkles of our passage through the Planet. With time and experiences I have been assimilating the great importance of these cavities: places of habitat of the first sedentary groups, of ceremonies, of myths and beliefs, of shelter, of hiding, of hunting .... A whole life that passes under our feet, a world that seems truly fascinating to me.

En Yucatan Peninsula There are many caves to explore, some with limited access to professionals. If you want to go deeper into the subject, I recommend you Ajau Speleological Group, undoubtedly a reference in these lands, I am an admirer of his great work. I am very grateful for the generosity of Fátima Tec Pool, an anthropologist member of the Ajau Group, for giving me her great images to complete the entry.

Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool
Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool

The best caves in the Yucatan Peninsula:

Those of us who are not professionals are fortunate to be able to visit some caves enabled to tourism. I show you some of the caves in the Yucatan Peninsula that you can travel with a guide. Do not go into a cave alone, they are not places to go without a guide.

Grotto of Loltún:

grutas_loltun_yucatan
Grutas de Loltún, Yucatán

Surely it is the best known cave in the Peninsula, an impressive place to go. His main camera, the gallery called Cuarto de las Pinturas, was the cover of the National Geographic magazine. The grotto of Loltún (peidra flower in Spanish) contains a wealth of paleontological evidence of mastodons, bison, camels, wolves, horses and a variety of mammals, all now extinct. So far, 145 wall paintings, 42 petroglyphs and ceramics from various eras have been located.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Location: the grottos of Loltún are located at 7 kilometers south of Oxkutzcab
  • Timetable: of the guided tours in Loltún: 9: 30, 11, 12: 30, 14, 15 and 16 h.
  • Entrance cost: 105 mxn foreigners and national 78 pesos. The tip of the guide is not included in the visit.
  • How to get there by public transport? The grottos are located at 7 km from the town of Oxkutzcab, where public transport arrives. The bus from Mérida to Oxkutzcab takes almost 2 hours, stops in all the small towns. Since Oxkutzcab You can arrive by private taxi, they wait for you at the exit.
  • Level: easy, at some times of the year it is somewhat slippery.

The caves of Kantemó:

Grottoes in the Yucatan Peninsula 1
Grottoes in the Yucatan Peninsula 2

The caves of Kantemó They offer you something very unique, in a few places of the Planet you can see a natural spectacle like that. Before going to know them, I had been able to see this phenomenon in one of the BBC documentaries, and when we found out that we had it here, we took the car to the south of Quintana Roo. Here you can see how the spotted rattlesnakes (elaphe flavirufa) hunt murciélgos waiting for the evening ... and not through TV. A unique and impressive place, without a doubt.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Location: the caves of Kantemo (Yucatan) are located on the 184 highway, which links Felipe Carrillo Puerto with Peto and Mérida. After passing José María Morelos you will find Dziuché and at 2 km you will reach Kantemó.
  • Schedule: They visit at sunset. There are other activities such as visiting the Chachancanab lagoon that you can do with the Kantemó guides.
  • Cost: 250 MXN for nationals. I do not know if they apply another rate to foreigners.
  • How to get there by public transport? Public transport leaves from Merida, Felipe Carrillo Puerto or Peto.
  • Level: It is not a place for everyone, the snakes are hiding more and more, so you have to go deeper into the grotto, which means crawling on the ground. It's something claustrophobic, and if you do not like snakes, better not go, of course.

Grutas de Santa Rita:

Grottoes in the Yucatan Peninsula 3
Grottoes in the Yucatan Peninsula 4

This place was a great surprise on our way ... for years I saw a wooden sign in the free from Cancun to Valladolid «Grutas de Santa Rita», and I knew it was a good detour. The day we went, in addition to confirming that instinct should be followed, I enjoyed one of those places that are part of my list of Essentials of the Yucatan Peninsula. From the hand of trained locals, you will discover a wonderful world, with painted hands and waters to cool off.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Location: the caves of Santa Rita (Yucatán) are located between Chemax y Xcan (to 28 km.), near Valladolid, on the federal highway 180, the free one from Cancún to Mérida. Arriving at the community of La Estrella is indicated by some wooden signs: a dirt road of approximately 7km. until the parking of the place.
  • Schedule: Open from 7 to 17 daily hours. There are toilet services and changing rooms.
  • Cost: 200 MXN
  • How to get there by public transport? It is difficult to access by public transport unless you want to walk the 7 Km. From the 180 federal highway to the community.
  • Level: Crystalline Mother It's easy to go, Aktún Ka'b It is somewhat more complicated, but suitable for all adventurers.

Grotto of Xtacumbilxunaan:

Grottoes in the Yucatan Peninsula 5
Grottoes in the Yucatan Peninsula 6

Bordering between the states of Yucatan and Campeche, we can visit this grotto very easy access. Some stairs allow us to go down to the grotto of Xtacumbilxunaan (hidden woman in Spanish), where we can see a recreation of how the ancestors of these lands used this place to collect water, among other uses. A curious look, do not miss it.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Location: the caves of Xtacumbilxunaan are located at 8 km from the population of Bolonchén, to 110 km from the city of Campeche (1h45 ") and 295 km Merida. Road 180 and 261 via Campeche.
  • Schedule: Open from 18 to 17 hours, Mondays closed. There are services at the entrance and some palapas for rent.
  • Entrance cost: 50 mxn adults, 25.00 mxn students and Inapam, 20 mxn children. 80.00 mxn audio guides.
  • How to get there by public transport? Transport arrives to Bolonchén from Campeche and other towns. The caves are located about 8 kilometers, you can go by taxi or tricitaxi.
  • Level: easy, access by stairs.

Caves of Calcehtok:

Xpukil
Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool
Xpukil
Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool

Near the town of Calcehtok is the Grotto of Xpukil. I have not visited them, I was in the Mayan zone of Oxkintok, very close to the place and great visit to combine with the caves, but time wasted and we continued on our way. So one of my pendant from the Peninsula. They offer several tours, only recommended for the most adventurous. Get ready to get dirty and crawl on the floor.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Location: the caves of Xpukil, en Calcehtok (Yucatán) are located at 60 kilometers from Mérida, by the federal 180. Near Oxkintok, highly recommended visit to this ancient Mayan city.
  • Schedule: Open from 8 to 17 daily hours. There are toilet services and changing rooms.
  • Cost: 200 MXN
  • How to get there by public transport? It is difficult to access by public transport.
  • Level: If you do not like narrow places and crawl on the ground, it's not your place.

Tzabnah caves:

tzabna 38 (07)
Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool
tzabna 08 (07)
Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool

I have been in the town of Tecoh several times, I really like this area. But the grottos of Tzabnah I have in my earrings: once because the cooperative were fighting and there was no way, another because I was with my mom and it was not a place to go with her, another to arrive late visiting other places ... and there I have yet to discover Tzabnah (king's house in Spanish).

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Location: the grottos of Tzabnah (Yucatán) are located in Tecoh, to 37 kilometers of Merida, by the federal 180 on the way to Cancun. Take the detour of Acanceh, and continue to Tecoh.
  • Schedule: Open from 8 to 17 daily hours. There are toilet services and changing rooms.
  • Cost: 200 MXN
  • How to get there by public transport? From Mérida, buses leave for Tecoh.
  • Level: Depending on the route you take, there are 13 cenotes to see, the path I think has its complications.

Tekax caves:

Sabak Ha. Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool
Sabak Ha. Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool
Xmait. Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool
Xmait. Photo courtesy of Fátima Tec Pool

One of the places that I find most interesting at the level of caves, the surroundings of Tekax. To some caves of the population you must go with a guide and professional abseiling team, to others the access is easier. Not much tourism arrives here, so these experiences in the area will be almost intimate. In the area there are also Mayan archaeological remains.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Location: the caves of Tekax (Yucatan) are located at 120 kilometers south of Merida.
  • Schedule: Open from 8 to 17 daily hours. There are toilet services and changing rooms.
  • Cost:
  • How to get there by public transport? From Mérida and different towns it leaves collective until Tekax.
  • Level: to some you must descend in rappel, others are simpler.

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR VISITING GROUPS:

  • All these caves are visited with guide. It is dangerous to enter only through underground roads, if you are not professional, do not do it.
  • What to bring? Comfortable clothes that can get dirty and shoes that hold your foot well.
  • In all the caves they give you equipment if necessary.
  • Other caves like those of Homún, Maxcanú and Opichén you can also know them.

Good way,

Grottoes in the Yucatan Peninsula 7
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