Sunday, March 11, 2012

San Sebastian Cave

If you think Mexico is only sandy beaches
desert and cactus - guess again

On Friday, I joined a group travelling to the San Sebastian Caves. Nestled in the Sierra Sur, they are a two hour drive South East of the city of Oaxaca. The cost of a guided tour of the caves is $30 pesos per person.

The cave is 400 meters long with an entrance at one end, and an exit at the other. It has five rooms that are from 20 to 70 meters high. Thirty meters below, the river can be heard still making its magic by wearing down the rock. While visiting Cave City Kentucky, the forest ranger that took us on a tour of the large dry cave told us about the wet cave below. Much the same thing here.
One of the many interesting rock formations
and the back of one of our trusty guides

By climbing down 30 meters, it is possible to reach the water. If you are so inclined. However, the climb down would be by rope, and you would be going into a dark cavern. I'm not sure, but I don't think that trip is for me, it's not the rope or the shear rock that is frightening, it's the darkness.

Very large and ancient trees grow in this part of the state of Oaxaca. Lumber is the main industry. In addition, there are agave farms and the production of mescal is evident.

I'm always struck by how seriously the guides take their jobs. Anyone wishing to participate in Oaxaca's ecotourism is a very competent hands.

On another trip to the caves, an acquaintance of mine fainted. When she came to, she had the idea of staying in the cave, claiming she liked it there. One of the guides went to seek medical help. She was carried out, rather unwillingly, on a stretcher.  Also, it was difficult navigating the stretcher through the cave.

At the mouth of the cave, medical assistance awaited them, and her condition was immediately assessed. She was then transported to a nearby clinic. She was fine, and attributed her fainting and temporary delirium to not having eaten enough that morning, and not drinking enough water. I tell this story not to frighten anyone who would like to visit the caves, but to assure you that if anything happened these mountain folk have the skills and facilities to handle whatever comes their way.

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