The other day my fiancé’s family and I took a trip to Ixtapan de la Sal to explore Las Grutas de la Estrella. Las Grutas are caves that are surrounded by lush forest and a bubbling river. The river runs into the cavern and if you’re willing to pay a little extra and get really cold, you can actually repel down into the river and then swim inside the dark cave.
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It takes an hour and a half to drive from Mexico City to Las Grutas de la Estrella. Once you arrive you walk from the parking lot down a short path surrounded by souvenir shops to the park entrance. After entering you get to hike down wide concrete steps and take in the views of the forest. We went on a bit of a wet day right after it had rained so the air was crisp and fresh. At the bottom of the path lies the beautiful river enveloped with greenery. You can use bathrooms and visit a canteen in the small yellow buildings at the bottom of the path. In order to enter the caves you need to wait for a tour guide. The tours run quite regularly so you never have to wait too long.
We took a simple walking tour into the caves and it was breath taking. Literally, it took my breath away. This may however have been because we were so deep into the earth and I was getting slightly claustrophobic. Regardless it was an amazing experience.
The entrance to the caves is massive but the paths are narrow and are super slippery in parts. Luckily there are plenty of railings to hold on to. The dark caves are illuminated by multicolored lights. These lights cast eerie shadows on the cavern walls.
Minerals and salts have formed thousands of stalactites and stalagmites in the caves. One impressive, naturally occurring structure found in the caves is known as the Millenial’s Kiss. This name is given to stalactites and stalagmites that connect together.
The various stalactites and stalagmites also form a variety of interesting patterns in the caves. At one spot the cavern wall seems to form a skull that is clearly visible when illuminated. Another shape in the cave looks like the Batman symbol, which is fitting since we did hear a few bats fly over us at one point. A third impressive structure is a pair of stalagmites that, when illuminated, cast a shadow on the cavern wall. The structure looks like a couple dancing when light moves behind it.
Apparently the caves are so rich in minerals that some people come to them and crawl into tight spaces between the rocks to meditate. They turn off all lights around them and unplug themselves from their mobile devices creating total darkness and silence. Their minds benefit from the meditation but so do their bodies due to the healing affects of the minerals. People say that Las Grutas de la Estrella are where darkness is seen and silence is heard.
Exploring the caves was truly magical. At one point the tour guide got everyone to stop taking photos and turn off their phones and we all just stood together in complete silence and complete darkness. It was so peaceful to be so deep in the earth and just totally silent. With the advance of technology these days, pure silence is quite rare. I can definitely see why people meditate down there. All in all, we loved visiting Las Grutas de la Estrella and I would definitely recommend it as a day trip to anyone heading to Mexico City.
April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies for Sustainable Travel. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.
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