Naj Tunich

Useful Information

Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: Andrea J. Stone (1995): Images from the Underworld, Naj Tunich and the Tradition of Maya Cave Painting, Univerity of Texas Press, Hardcover, 304 pp, ISBN: 029275552X.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1979 rediscovered.
AUG-1981 National Geographic cover article.
1989 extensive and tragic vandalism occurred and many pictures were destroyed.


The Naj Tunich Caves, where rediscovered in 1979. They can only be explored with the permission of the government. There are tour agencies that will get the necessary permission for you, as well as guide you through the caves.

These caves hold a wealth of artifacts and drawings, which are only now being discovered. The Naj Tunich Caves may, in fact, be the most sacred caves of the Mayans. Text written on the walls of the caves gives an idea that this is probably one of the most important caves in the area. Mayans considered caves to be holy shrines, and connections between earth and heavens. The caves have being closed for almost a decade, and the have been vandalized, like many other sites.

Recently a new cave has been discovered in the area, La Cueva de Las Pinturas. It has panels with glyphs. These wall paintings are the only ones with a lot of information that might help to understand more about the Mayan culture of that epoch.

How to get there: Contact one of the tourist agencies. Far Horizons offers trips to this caves.

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.