Grutas de Cuetzalan

Grutas Aventura

Useful Information

Location: Cuetzalan.
Open: Aventura: all year daily 8-19.
Grutas Chivostic: after appointment.
Gruta con río subterráneo Chichicazapan: after appointment.
Fee: Aventura: Short Tour: Per Person MXN 40. Long Tour: Per Person MXN 60.
Gruta con río subterráneo Chichicazapan: Per Person MXN 350.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: Aventura: Short Tour: L=220 m. Long Tour: L=420 m, VR=80 m.
Photography: Allowed
Accessibility: Not wheelchair accessible
Address: Grutas Aventura, Villa Aventura, Carretera Cuetzalan Zacapoaxtla km. 4, Octimaxal sur, 73560 Cuetzalan del Progreso, Pue., Tel: +52-233-33-11069. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



The Grutas de Cuetzalan (Cuetzalan cave system) has the potential to be the most extensive in Latin America, with 100 km of cave passaged discovered since the 1970s. The longest cave at the moment is 35 km long. It is located near, and named after, Cuetzalan, a small market town in the mountains to the East of Mexico City. The local population is mostly Indian from Nahuatl and Totonac origin.

The main tourist cave is named Grutas Aventura or with full name Grutas Aventura de Cuetzalan. The visit follows a passage for 420 m and down 80 m, then returns. The cave is advertised as ideal for the whole family, nevertheless the visit is a semi wild cave tour and requires some surefootedness. There is a trail and some rails, but there are also many irregular stone step. We recommend good shoes, helmet if possible, and a headlamp.

Then there is Grutas Chivostic, another rather difficult cave trekking cave. There is a legend about the cave, which tells that people who enter the cave will loose their soul, which remains inside the cave. But fortunately there is a solution to this problem: when you leave the cave you just have to shout "ya vámonos" (we leave now), so the soul is informed that it has to go with you.

The Gruta con río subterráneo Chichicazapan is advertised as a water cave adventure for young people. The cave is reached in a 30 min walk, then it is entered through the main resurgence. The whole trip is wading through 1 m deep water for about 500 m. the is one ond, two meters long and two meters deep which is used as a swimming pool. Caving gear and lifejacket provided by the operator. We stronly recommend rubber boots and other personal gear.

This caving area was in the news recently, (May 2004) when 6 British cavers had to be rescued. They were thrown out of the country as alleged, illegal uranium miners. There are 62 km of cave in the area. At some of the smaller ones, local children will show visitors around for a few peso.

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.

We want to add our interpretation about that accident

Cavers travel all over the world to explore caves, especially because most caves are located in tropical countries and most cavers in the first world. Such expeditions are normally done with tourist visas, as caving is a hobby, financed privately and mostly without financial interest (except probably a few pictures for National Geographic). In many countries a governmental permit is required, in others the permit by the local chief or priest. In Mexico no such things applied, and this cave area was explored since the early 1970s by a group of cavers from the US without any permit. They simply asked the proprietor when they crossed private property. When the group of Brtish cavers went to cave here, there was no need to contact anybody or to get an permit, this simply did not exist.

The group consisted of British soldiers. Actually nothing special as caving groups form in certain villages, on university, or at the army. Some guys with high physical fitness and the will to do something extreme on the weeked, thought it would be nice to spend time in caves.

Such a group explored the - we mentioned - several kilometers long cave system. Then it rained heavily, the entrance flooded, and someone called the recue number. The rescue organizations were ignorant about caves so they did what they always do: transport a lot of gear to the location and wait for more information. After several days, the newspapers had started a great story, actually nothing at all happened so they had to invent some stuff. When they found out that the cavers were British soldiers they speculated about a secret military operation, research for uranium (which is extremely stupid as karst is not the right geology for uranium ore). They even wrote the British army would build an underground war post.

In the meantime the cavers were absolutely unaware of ths. They were kilometers from the entrance. There the water had not risen, so they were doing their exploration and surveying as normal. After a few days they returned to the entrance, the water was sinking at the entrance and they could leave without problem, just to be recieved by police, military, and secret service, to be examined and then expelled from the country.

A lot of people had invented stuff, others, mostly the government had to react without even knowing what is going on. A lot of stupid things were said and done. And finally the only way the keep their countenance was to blame someone else. So the cavers and the British army were blamed for caving without permit. As typical for beaurocracies, there is always a permit which you could have obtained.

The result was, that most foreign cavers avoided Mexico for years and cave exploration almost ended.