Candelaria CavernsThe Candelaria Caves are located in the limestone hills, 10km west of Raxrujá where the Río Candelaria goes underground. Approximately 18km long, with five entrances, some think it is the longest cave in Latin America. Typical passage widths are 20-30m with a height of 10-60m, with numerous karst fensters caused by collapse. One truly monumental chamber is the 200-metre-long Tzul Tacca.
The cave was considered by the ancient Maya to be the entrance to the underworld of Xibalba, and the cave contains archaeological sites. The Q'eqchi' Maya still come to pray in the Candelaria Caves.
External LinksThe Struggle for Q'eqchi Community Conservation and Management of Mayan Sacred (Cave) Sites: The Case of Caves of Candelaria and Bombil pek in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, by Anthony Stocks, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Idaho State University.
Special ConsiderationsCaving, like mountaineering, is inherently dangerous. It is extremely easy to get lost in these caves as chambers and passages meander off in many directions. There are parts of this cave system where the river is deep and runs very quickly and there are a number of subterranean waterfalls. Very little of this system has been mapped. It is essential that you have proper gear: helmet, head lamp, extra batteries, ect.