Grutas de Lol-Tún

Useful Information

Location: 7 km southwest of Oxkutzcab and 24 km northeast of the Labná ruins.
Open: All year daily 9-17. Tours in Spanish at 9:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Tours in English 11, 14.
Fee: Adults USD 5.25.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: L=1,000 m. (English)
Bibliography: Edward H. Thompson (1897): Cave of Loltun, Yucatan,
Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology & Ethnology Vol. I, No. 2
Cambridge MA, Peabody Museum Harvard University, 8 b&w plates, b&w text ills.
Still available from used book sellers for prices around US$ 270.00
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.



Lol-tun or Loltun is Mayan for Stone Flower. These caverns are one of the largest southern Yucatan which are open to the public. Here, the visitor can learn the natural and cultural history of the Northern Maya lowlands within a 10,000 years period, from late Pleistocene to contemporary times. In one of its cavities, locally known as Huechil (from the Mayan "Huech": Armadillo), archaeological excavations were carried out and in one of its lowest levels extinct animal remains were found: mammoth, bison, feline and other animals bones, indicating a colder climatic period with a different environment than that of the present. Man-made stone tools appear in an upper level, and were probably produced by the first Peninsula's inhabitants.

Other remains have been found here in other parts of the grotto and include pottery, marine shells, stone artefacts, bas-relief carvings, petroglyphs and mural paintings corresponding to the distinct development stages of the Maya Culture.

The Formative period, 600 BC to 150 AD is famous for the bas-relief carving known as The Loltún warrior which is located in the entrance of the cave.

The Classic, 150 to 900 AD and Postclassic, 900 AD to the 16th century times are represented by painted mural of hands, faces, animals, geometric motifs and inscriptions. Haltunes or artificial containers carved in the rock for gathering natural dripping water as well as many petroglyphs, especially those with flower motifs, from which the cave takes its name. There are also 19th. century barricades constructed by rebel Mayas who sheltered in this and other southern Yucatan caves during the so called War of Castes. Visitors can admire the many chambers with such names as "Cathedral", "Grand Canyon Gallery", "Ear of Corn", "Stalactite rooms", and so on. The guides delight in showing off the "Musical" columns, on which they tap out a turn with a rubber hammer, Near the end of the tour there is a magnificent gallery with a roof collapse and wavering tree roots illuminated by the sun's rays.

Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.