Las Grutas de Rancho Nuevo

The nature park in the midst of a forest 10 kilometres from San Cristobal de las Casas is a wonderful place to explore. With all the pine trees, it smells like Christmas. Entering this park you hear happy voices ringing out and see many families playing and relaxing together. There are horses you can ride and a big slide, as well as many souvenir and food stands.

But the real excitement comes when you arrive at the entrance of the Grutas de Rancho Nuevo.This is an incredible cave that enters deep into the earth. There is a lit sidewalk that goes for 750 metres inside the cavern. There is a high ’ceiling’ and is fairly wide, so you don’t feel closed in. The grand stalactites and stalagmites form eerily beautiful sculptures. And the colours inside the cave are surprising. I expected grey and grey, but there are pinks, greens, blues and yellows. Under the lights, it’s like a rainbow is in there.

This cave was discovered in the mid 1940s and became a passion of one man. He explored it for over 50 years, taking many interesting pictures along the way, which are exhibited in the onsite museum. As of today, they have explored 10 kilometres and still haven’t reached the end or any exit. But the air is fresh inside, not dank, so it seems like there is fresh air entering from somewhere. I picture another entrance in a magical place like Misol-Ha. I can imagine the Mayans going through this ‘natural tunnel’ and ending in a sacred place where they would perform their mysterious rituals and ceremonies.

Legend has it that UFOs are often spotted around here. It occurred to me that maybe they can shrink themselves until they are very small so they can fit in any crack on the side of the wall of the cave. Maybe that’s why we didn’t see any…

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