Idea #698 – Exploring the largest underground network in Central America in Candelaria
In northern Guatemala, in the province of Alta Verapaz, lies a beautiful natural site. Former seat of Mayan rituals still in activity, the caves or “cuevas” of Candelaria, nestled in the heart of the jungle, close to Chiséc, had remained forgotten until a French researcher, Daniel Dreux, rediscover them in 1974. Until 1990, the researcher worked with his team to clean and explore this strange network of caves – Candelaria representing only a tiny part of the 30 km of underground caves in the area.
This small paradise of ecosystem, occupied centuries ago by the Mayans on the occasion of religious ceremonies, represented for them the entrance into the “Xibalba”, the underworld of the dead. Deep, damp and silent, the maze of stones is pierced by skylights, as reminders of the existence of the world. The space is regularly filled with bird calls, bat whistles, rustling and permanent hisses of the jungle so close, but we feel instantly removed in the opacity and freshness of this cave, vestige of a forgotten culture.
Where is it ?