Mexico's 10 most beautiful caves
1. La Cueva de los Cristales at NAICA Mine, Chihuahua.
The Naica Mine is located on the southeast of the city of Chihuahua and is a great producer of lead, zinc and silver, among other minerals. Its entrance is located 1385 meters above sea level on the north of Sierra Naica. It began its operation in 1794 and began being formally exploited by Grupo Peñoles in 1952.
The discovery of the Giant Crystals Cave represented one of the most spectacular geological phenomenon in the world. Its inside is covered by selenite crystals in never before seen sizes, measuring up to eleven meters in length each. Temperature at this depth reaches 45° to 50° C with a humidity of 90 to 100%, making it impossible for humans to survive within it for more than a few minutes without the proper gear.
2. Sótano de las Golondrinas, San Luis Potosí
The Cave of Swallows is a natural abyss located in San Luis Potosi. It is a cave formed by water erosion on a limestone bed with a notorious conic shape. 376 meters of free fall depth and a 60 meter opening and 300 meters diameter, this cave is a natural refuge for birds, although despite the caves name, the birds that gather at this spectacular site are not swallows, but rather swifts and parrots. Speleologists from around the world consider the Cave of Swallows as the most beautiful vertical cave in the world. Every morning, thousands of swifts and parrots fly out in a spiral of mathematical perfection, creating an amazing show.
3. Cheve System, Oaxaca
The cavity known as the Cheve System is located at Sierra Juarez in the state of Oaxaca. Its length of 26 kilometers and 1,484 meters of depth grant it first place as the deepest cave in the hemisphere and ninth place worldwide. Experts around from all over the world collaborated in exploring this subterranean system with serious difficulties due to the impressive complexity of its infinity of beautiful halls, galleries, underground streams and waterfalls.
4. Huautla System, Oaxaca
Within this majestic cave system, the deepest before the discovery of Cheve System, many rivers and underground waterfalls converge in what has been explored to a depth of 1,475 meters with 62 kilometers in length.
5. El Sumidero de Popoca, Veracruz
This impressive cave is one of the most beautiful for an important river that flows within, creating a beautiful 70 meter long underground waterfall with a vast lake at the end. A heavenly show is exhibited when the waterfall gets hit by sunlight, creating a breathtaking rainbow surrounded by the exuberant flora that covers its walls.
6. Purificación System, Tamaulipas
This famous system is the second longest cave in the country with nearly 94 kilometers of explored passages. It is located on the border of the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas on Sierra Madre Oriental.
7. Sac Aktun System, Quintana Roo
Most of cave diving lovers agree that Sac Aktun System is one of the most beautiful and highly decorated underwater caves in the world. It is located four kilometers from Tulum. Its main cave, known as Gran Cenote is the most visited and connects to many more, reaching a length of 170 kilometers.
8. Ox Bel Ha System, Quintana Roo
Ox Bel Ha is a cave system in Quintana Roo that after having been discovered in 1998 was granted first place worldwide as the longest underwater river and cave system in the world for its 180 kilometer length. Its name means Three Water Ways in Mayan for its main trait, a continuously flowing fresh water layer over the almost static salt water of the Caribbean Sea.
9. Sótano del Barro, Querétaro
This abyss, one of the largest in the world, has a 450 meter depth underneath a spectacular opening of almost half a kilometer. Growing in its depths are tall trees with the characteristics of the most beautiful jungles and forests. It is the center of Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in the state of Queretaro.
10. El Zacatón, Tamaulipas.
It wasnt until 2007 when this cenotes depth was finally discovered, 318 meters, thanks to a new autonomous submarine robot developed by NASA. It is one of the few cenotes found outside the state of Quintana Roo and the deepest in the world. Its name comes from the zacate (grass) island that free float on its surface.
Article Produced by the Editorial Team of Explorando México.
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Photo: dMap Travel Guide