Caves near Merida
Date: September 17, 2018
After spending a couple of days looking at Maya ruins, it was time to see the natural wonders near Merida. We went to Loltun Cave which is a dry cave and were guided through the most accessible parts.
The entrance is on the left at the bottom of a depression:
Inside the cave we quickly got to this stone head which looks like it was made by the Olmec people that were around before the Mayas:
It is a tourist cave with colored lights etc., but still nice to see:
The cave has several entrances. This one consists of two holes in the ceiling, so is not so practical for getting in and out:
Hieroglyphs have been carved on the walls in several places:
Another big hole in the ceiling:
A bit of background: The dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago. It is believed that this was caused by a large meteor that landed just north of the present day Yucatan peninsula. The resulting crater can still be detected and is about 150 km in diameter. The center is close to a town called Chicxulub, so it is called the Chicxulub crater. The energy released by the meteor impact was probably several hundred billion times more than from the Hiroshima bomb. It changed the climate on the whole of earth.
Even though the center of the crater is in the sea, much of the crater is on land. It is not obvious to see and in fact it was not discovered until the late 1970s. One of the effects of the meteor is that it weakened the limestone around the crater wall. Much later, this resulted in many caves being formed and a large ring of sinkholes are found near what is thought to have been the crater wall. These caves are not related to the ones near Puerto Aventuras where we have been staying.
To see some of these sinkholes, we went to a town called Homún and visited a somewhat touristy place that provided access to them. It was an old ranch that had used small rails for moving their produce. Now the rail cars were used for tourists instead:
Here is the entrance to the first cave:
The water is nice and clear:
Pictures from another sinkhole:
And a third one: