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All about Grutas de Calcehtok in Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Day Trips

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Author: Tobias

Calcehtok caves are extensive. Three routes are offered, with ascending difficulty and duration from one to seven hours. Grutas de Calcehtok is about 74km away from Mérida. The journey by car takes about 60min from the city center of Mérida and the place is most of the time tranquilly. The admission fee for foreign adults is about 200MXN. Different prices may apply for residents or children.

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Address:

Grutas de calcehtok, Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexiko

Website:

Category:

Trip

Phone:

+52 999 902 0181

Distance:

74km from Mérida

Travel Time:

60min from Mérida

Admission:

Mex$ 200

Price Level:

Mid-range

Since:

-

Google Rating:

average rating is 4.8 out of 5, based on 297 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
• Sunday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

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Grutas de Calcehtok

The name Calcehtok means "deer neck stone" in Mayan (cal: neck, ceh: deer and tok: stone) and comes from a stone depicting a deer neck found at this site when a well was dug nearby.


In the past, the Maya used the caves as religious sites and as a refuge during the caste war when they rebelled against the rule of the Spanish colonisers. The caves are are part of the Ruta Puuc and they are home to stalactites, iridescent quartz fields and also many bats.


Guides tours


The Calcehtok caves are very extensive and three different routes are offered, with ascending difficulty and duration from one to seven hours. The most important places in the cave are included in each tour, but the route differs.


In any case, it is not a leisurely family excursion, but a little adventure. Accordingly, there are not so many visitors. Especially the most difficult and longest tour leads through narrow caves that can only be mastered by crawling on the stomach.


There are no toilets, no vendors or stalls in front of the cave. There are no stairs, almost no railings and no lighting in the cave. It is a very natural place. Walking in on your own is strongly discouraged. The tour guides provide headlamps.


The tour prices are agreed on site. They depend on the desired tour and start from around 200 pesos.

Formations of stalactites
Formations of stalactites

The world of archaeology


Some interesting figures about Mayan archaeological sites on the Yucatan Peninsula:


 
Figures about Mayan archaeological sites
Figures about Mayan archaeological sites
 

A few tips


Even though the temperature and especially the humidity in the cave is very high, you should wear robust clothing (e.g. jeans) and sturdy non-slip shoes. You should also take a bottle of water with you.


For the longest tour, an electrolyte drink and something to eat may be useful. All items should be carried close to the body. On the longest and most difficult tour you will get very dirty, your clothes will be torn and you will get some scratches and bruises.


The long tour is also not without its dangers. You should take that into account. Of course, you shouldn't be claustrophobic or afraid of bats and spiders. There are no toilets on site. At least you can wash your hands on site.


How do you get to Grutas de Calcehtok from Mérida?


Travelling by public transport is possible, but not recommended. By car, you first drive southwest from Mérida on highway 180. The last stretch to the cave is very poorly developed, but there is at least one car park.


If you want to take a public transport, you can take the collectivo "Merida - Opichen" from Mérida at Parque San Juan, get off at Calcehtok and walk the remaining 3km to the caves.


Alternative: Grutas de Lol-Tún


Like the Grutas de Calcehtok, the Grutas de Lol-Tún (which are located about 75km to the southeast of the Grutas de Calcehtok) were also used by the Maya as religious sites and as a refuge during the caste war.


Grutas de Lol-Tún in Mexico
Grutas de Lol-Tún

Grutas de Lol-Tún is the largest and most important cave system in Yucatán, 110km southwest of Mérida at the end of the Ruta Puuc. The earliest human settlement in Yucatán was at Loltún.


Inside the cave there is evidence that humans occupied it at some point in history - such as fossil bones of mammoth or bison from the Ice Age.

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