Balankanche Caves are some of the most famous Mayan cave sites in the world, not far from Chichen Itza. An underground network of dry tunnels called ‘grutas,’ they are similar to the cenotes but without water. The many caverns are filled with interesting rock formations, including stalagmites and stalactites formed from the dripping of mineral rich water over thousands of years.
Translated ‘Balankache’ means ‘hidden sacred throne’ or altar. Balankanche has long been the site of Mayan ritual and ceremony, with special significance due to a formation that resembles the holy Ceiba tree. It is not uncommon to encounter offerings and relics left here in honor of the structure or in tribute to the Mayan rain god Chaac. There is a light and sound show that narrates the history and culture of this particular place, as well as a museum and botanical garden near the entrance to the cave.
Though underground, the caves can get rather hot in temperature. It is recommended to bring water, flashlights, and of course, a guide. The Balankanche Caves are located 6 kilometers from the World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza, with an entrance fee of 105 pesos.