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Cave Rappel in Yucatan Mexico!

You may know Yucatan is mainly flat, however we have heard it was possible to practice rappel going underground, for example in some cenotes’ walls or caves. Not so long ago we heard about “The jaguar's footprint” and we were looking forward to experiencing it… Hiking, rappel, a cave with mayan history… Impossible to resist!

From Merida we headed out to Tekax, a 2-hours drive; which is part of Puuc area and has great mayan culture influence, even nowadays (for more info read “Puuc Route: Culture from up high”).

This mayan heritage can be seen in small villages (as the one in the article: “Chacmultun & a mayan village”), but also in downtown Tekax. The following picture is the city hall, which has signs in Mayan with Spanish captions.


Picture: Tekax city hall


We went to the market to buy some fruit, and we headed straight to a town, 9 km from downtown, to start our adventure. There, we took our backpacks and walked 5 km through the jungle. We reached the entrance to Sabac Ha Cave (which means water with smut). We were amazed by the cave entrance, but we couldn’t contain it when then the guides told us this place was actually the exit path!


Picture: Sabac Ha cave


We continued the hike. Our guides were Daniel, David and Gregorio, the latter, a local from Tekax who knows the area like the back of his hand. They directed us to the entrance: 2 small holes on the ground where we would access the cave!

Knowing our team guides  are safety experts; from  first aids, ropes and knots techniques, and of course, rappel setup, we felt safe even under these unknown situations. They easily handled the equipment installation, gave us our gear and showed us the workings of the anti-panic devices we were going to use. These are excellent devices, particularly suitable for people practicing rappel for the first time, because it’s easy to control or pause; so even if you failed, these devices can keep you from falling. They also explained us how even if something went wrong, they could get control of the equipment and help us down if needed.

With the thrill to get started, you don’t think of it’s importance. But all these details are appreciated once you set foot inside the cave, turn to see down and find only darkness.

The first pair going down was Gregorio and David. We saw them get into the cave with a yawning chasm at their backs. We noticed their experience as they went down in only a few minutes!

Rosbel and me were the next pair the adrenaline at the moment you are entering the cave is something difficult to explain, but it is totally worth it.


Picture: Rappel entrance


Once you are in, your eyes start getting used to the darkness inside. You notice you are inside a big cylinder... It looks like a bottomless pit!


Picture: Rappel in Sabac Ha cave


The rock formations, you are surrounded by, are amazing, there are stunning stalactites.


Picture: Sabac Ha cave

There also are rock formations with minerals that reflect the light, it’s like being in another world.

Most of the rappel, you descend next to the walls, although there are some sections where you rappel only hanging of the rope… It’s like being the protagonist of an action film!


Picture: Rappel in Sabac Ha cave


It was a great experience! Once at the bottom of the cave, Gregorio and David guided us through the cave. Darkness was everywhere, so the lamps they gave us were essential. While we walked through stalactites and stalagmites covered vaults, we noticed how the environment became hot, humid and muggy, the farther we went from the rappel area.


Picture: Sabac Ha cave


Then we found a little hole with water, people say it’s a bottomless water spring, even when it looks less than a meter deep; there was something in its surface, and Gregorio told us that this was the reason the cave’s name is Sabac Ha, because the water surface seems to have smut. Prehispanic mayans used this cave as a clay mine, with this raw material they made vessels and other tools.

We went back and found the roots of a tree that almost touch the floor, in its search for water. Nature is amazing!


Picture: Sabac Ha cave


We continued ‘til the exit crossing more vaults and finally... sunlight again.

We were hungry so we walked back to the van, took a lunch at Texak, in a place with local shops offering good-priced handcrafts, like hammocks, furnitures, clothes, honey, and more.

An unforgettable adventure!


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Important data for visiting:

How to get Tekax from Merida:

  • Booking this tour 

  • By bus or colectivo from Merida. Details

  • You can get there from other towns in Puuc area like: Ticul, Oxkutzcab, Santa Elena, Mani...

Recommendations:

  • It is advisable to bring water, and biodegradable insect repellent and sunscreen. Between April to September the weather is very warm.

  • Care for nature, take all your litter and garbage back with you; take special care of glassware and / or campfires.

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