Caves & Dirt Roads, San Cristobal DLC

Our housemates in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mauricio and Daniela, invited us to check out Las Grutas de Mamut (Mammoth Caves) about 5km east of the city. We left the house on our bikes around 7am to get an early start on quiet roads.


Parking our bikes up outside the caves before going underground

Inside Las Grutas De Mamut

The caves are really easy to access and beautiful inside. As we arrived early, we had the place to ourselves. Fortunately, we were not hassled by any ‘cave guides’ for tips (as unfortunately happened to this visitor). I guess it was because we were visiting with locals.


Entering Las Grutas de Mamut (Mammoth Caves)


Daniela and Mauricio, two of our housemates whilst in San Cristóbal


Looking up inside a narrow section of the cave, we wondered what creatures were lurking.


Dripping stalactites


Jenny mid air as she jumps out like a crazy cave bat!


Venturing deeper into one of the caves


Mauricio, Daniela and Jenny waving from a nook in the cave

Dirt Roads Towards El Arcotete

Mauricio is a local mountain bike tour guide at Jaguar Adventours and he knows a vast network of trails like the back of his hand. After exploring the caves, he led us through some beautiful backroads and trails towards El Arcotete, a massive stone tunnel carved out by El Rio Fogótico.


Jenny and Daniela after the first climb of the day


We stopped to admire Carmen Del Arcotete, a 400 year old church still in use by a small  village who practice a mix of catholicism and their own indigenous spiritual theology.


Heading out of the village and into the forest of pine and oak along an old road gone trail

Jenny takes the lead into the forest.

More Trails Beyond El Arcotete

Daniela and Mauricio had to return home for work and Jenny was happy to head back with them after all the climbing. That just left me by myself to continue exploring the network of backroads and trails near the El Arcotete ecotourism centre.


El Arcotete, a massive arc carved out by El Rio Fogótico which flows beneath

Without Mauricio’s knowledge of the trails, I was left to my own guesswork and a few vague roads on the Garmin GPS for navigation. You can see by the GPS track below that I came across some dead ends in the forest before finding my way home.

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Some dirt road corners near El Arcotete


And back into the sweet smelling Chiapan pine and oak


A web of singletracks and footpaths link the network of backroads.


After exiting the singletrack, I came across some Tonka trucks gathering dirt and gravel for new roads.


Looking down into San Cristobal de Las Casas whilst standing on a big rock above some houses

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