Laguna Brava

Yolnabaj - Yolnajab - Ownajab

Useful Information

Location: El Aguacate, west of San José Frontera.
(16.028899, -91.578276)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Vehicle GTQ 25.
Classification: KarstKarst Lake,
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=8 km, D=100 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Laguna Brava, Tel: +502-.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Laguna Brava (Laguna Yolnabaj) is a karst lake which geologically belongs to a series of lakes that make up the Lagunas of Montebello National Park in nearby Chiapas, Mexico. The lake formed when a landslide blocked a V-shaped ravine, the river was blocked by this natural dam and the lake formed. The normal result is that the lake reaches the top of the dam and the flows across te dam cutting a gorge or ravine into the rock. But this area is a karst area, which means it has underground caves and underground drainage. The area was not completely drained underground, but some water left the lake as it was swallowed by caves. And when the level was rising it reached more and more fossil cave passages and reactivated them. The level of the lake never reached the top of the dam and until today there is no outflow on the surface.

El Aguacate is a hamlet at the shores of the karst lake, to be exact on the sothwestern end of the lake. East of the lake is the city San José Frontera, which is a good starting point for excursions. However, from here the roads are pretty poor, and you have to pay a fee to get your vehicle through the security barrier. The main geological sight of the lake are actually three huge cenotes called Cenotes de Ownajab or Cenotes de Oxnhajab, which are located rather close to San José Frontera. From the city limits it's a 45 minutes walk along a clear brook to the first cenote.