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All about Grutas de Lol-Tún in Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Day Trips

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Author: Tobias

Grutas de Lol-Tún is the most important cave system in Yucatán which has been used by humans since the Ice Age. Grutas de Lol-Tún is about 115km away from Mérida. The journey by car takes about 1h 25min from the city center of Mérida and the place is most of the time tranquilly. The admission fee for foreign adults is about 146MXN. Different prices may apply for residents or children.

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Address:

Grutas de Loltún, Yucatán 31, Yucatán, Mexiko

Website:

Category:

Trip

Phone:

+52 999 944 0033

Distance:

115km from Mérida

Travel Time:

1h 25min from Mérida

Admission:

Mex$ 146

Price Level:

Mid-range

Since:

-

Google Rating:

average rating is 4.7 out of 5, based on 2007 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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Casa Loltún Vacation Rentals

Rent a wonderful restored 19th-century colonial house or a new apartment in the historic city center of Mérida. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking for a unique and beautiful place to stay!

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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. The cave contains also 145 ancient paintings and 42 petroglyphs attributed to the Maya from the Late Preclassic Era (400 BC - 100 AD).


In the cave you will also see an Olmec cult place, marked by an Olmec style stone head and corresponding symbols. Among the Mayas, caves were considered the seat of the gods and they worshipped Loltún. The last traces date back to the caste war in 1847. During the war, the cave was used as a hiding place by the Mayas.


The cave is several kilometer long. Part of the caves is illuminated and can be visited. However, the entrance is only possible with a guided tour, which lasts about one hour and leads about 2km through the cave.


After the entrance area you come to "Sala de Visitantes", the hall of the visitors with a fresh water spring. This is followed by "La Catedral", a hall more than 20m high, where there are two tall limestone columns that bear the names Lol and Tún.


Wait, that sounds familiar? Right, that was the inspiration for Casa Loltún. You will realize the age of the cave when you know that stalatites only grow about 1 cm per 100 years.


We have more background information and travel tips on Mayan archaeological sites.


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 important tips


You should find out in advance at what times the guided tours start (the last tour is at 4:00 pm.). They only take place every 1 to 2 hours and if you have to wait longer, there's not a lot you can do.


The entrance fee is relatively cheap, but the guide is not included (and you are not allowed to enter the caves without a guide). You can book a private guide (around 1,200 pesos) or join a group, in which case the costs are shared depending on the number of participants. A tip is of course also expected.


The tour takes about an hour and you walk about 2km into the cave and 70m down. At the exit of the caves, there are exactly 76 steps that will take you back to the top.


The caves are large, well-lit and there are good paths. However, it is also very slippery in places (the air inside is cool and damp), so you should definitely wear suitable shoes (preferably trekking boots).


Some areas with narrower paths are a little more difficult to walk for older people or small children. The caves consist of several large chambers. There is good lighting, but having your own flashlight is an advantage. A headlamp would of course be perfect. Comfortable clothing and a small water bottle won't hurt.


Photos are allowed, a good flash or - even better - a tripod is a great advantage. If possible, you should avoid visiting the caves on weekends or public holidays, as the crowds are much bigger then. This is also due to the fact that prices are cheaper for Mexicans on Sundays. A parking lot is available for a fee and there are also toilets.


Alternative: Grutas de Calcehtok


Like the Grutas de Lol-Tún, the Grutas de Calcehtok (which are located about 75km to the northwest of the Grutas de Lol-Tún) were also used by the Maya as religious sites and as a refuge during the caste war when they rebelled against the rule of the Spanish colonizers.


Grutas de Calcehtok in Mexico
Grutas de Calcehtok

The caves are also home to stalactites, there are iridescent quartz fields and many bats. The Grutas de Calcehtok are also very extensive and different routes for exploration are offered.

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