Grutas de Balankanché (Balankanche Cave)
Grutas de Balankanché (Balankanche Cave) Review
How often do you get the chance to wander below the earth? The caves, translated as both "throne of the jaguar caves" and "caves of the hidden throne," are dank and sometimes slippery slopes to an amazing rocky underworld. The caverns are lighted to best show off their lumpy limestone stalactites and niche-like side caves. It's a privilege also to view in situ vases, jars, and incense burners once used in sacred rituals. These were discovered in the 1950s, and left right as they were. An arrangement of tiny metates (stone mortars for grinding corn) is particularly moving. At the end of the line is the underground cenote where Maya priests worshipped Chaac, the god of rain and water. Wear comfortable, nonslip walking shoes. The site has a sound-and-light show that recounts Mayan history. The caves are 6 km (4 mi) from Chichén Itzá, and you can catch a bus or taxi or arrange a tour at the Mayaland hotel. Although there's a six-person minimum, the ticket vendor will often allow even a pair of visitors to tour.Do not attempt if you're claustrophobic or have heart or respiratory problems as the climb's steep and the caves are humid.
- Address: Yucatán
- Cost: $8.50, including tour and sound-and-light show
- Hours: Daily 9–5; tours leave daily at 9:30, 11, 12:30, 2, 3, and 4 (English); 9, noon, 2, and 4 (Spanish); and 10 (French)
- Location: Grutas de Balancanchén