|Location:||San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 6km east of the center.|
All year daily -17.
Adults MXP 10.
Cave: Adults MXP 15.
|Classification:||Karst cave natural bridges|
Arco de Piedra: H=40m, W=5m.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||El Arcotete Parque Ecoturístico, Carretera Rumbo a Tenejapa km 8 Ejido Río, Del Arcotete N Rìo Arcotete, 29200 San Cristóbal de las Casas, Tel: +52-967-678-0730.|
|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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El Arcotete Parque Ecoturístico (Arcotete Ecotourism Park) is a sort of picnic and barbecue area and popular with the locals, and it can get very crowded, especially on weekends. There is a meadow with roofed tables and barbecue grills, where you can bring your own food and spend a nice and calm day. The park was named after the legend of Jean Francoise D’Arcecete.
The French Jean Francoise D’Arcecete, fell in love with a local woman, Maria de Jesus. The natural bridge was their secret meeting spot where they swore eternal love to each other. But the local De Tovilla had planned to marry Maria and challenged D’Arcecete to a duel. D’Arcecete killed De Tovilla in the duel and was sent to prison for the murder. Years later, upon his release from prison, he searched for his love but found out she had died of a broken heart. With no reason to live he came to the natural bridge and stabbed himself in the heart with his sword.
The actual highlight of the park requires a little walking. There is a trail through gorges, natural bridges and even through a cave. Following the Rio Fogotico downstream you reach the natural bridge Arco de Piedra. Actually the river flows through this short rest of a karst cave with stalactites at the walls and ceiling. The natural bridge is 40m high and 5m wide. Its not possible to walk through the bridge, except if you walk through the river bed.
To reach the cave you can use the zip line to get to the other side of the valley and as it starts above the natural bridge, you have a nice view on the archway during your flight. However, there is also a trail around the hill to the other side of the natural bridge. The trail was built above the river in the steep cliff and leads to the entrance of the show cave which is above the natural arch. Many stone steps lead up, through cave passages with openings letting the sun shine in. This is a cave with an outlook every 5m. There are numerous speleothems and the passage get narrow or low at points. The final outlook offers a great view on the natural bridge.