Loltún and Balamcanché are the only two Yucatán archaeological sites still closed to the public

Lol Tun means "stone flower" and does a great honor to the site. (Photo: Sandra Salvadó / The Shortest Way)

INAH authorities informed that several sections of the Loltún and Balamcanché caves are flooded.

In the state, 15 of the 17 archaeological sites are currently open to the public and in regular operation.

“The Loltún and Balamcanché caves remain closed, and the Kulubá caves in Tizimín can only be visited in guided tours, upon prior reservation,” said the state delegate of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia: INAH), José Arturo Chab Cárdenas.

It should be noted that archaeological tourism at the national level increased by about 164.4% in the first eight months of the year, compared to the same period in 2021, while in Yucatán, the growth was 86.48%

Chab Cárdenas specified that these two archaeological zones will remain closed to the public as a consequence of the floods prevailing in different sections of the caves since March 2020, that is, they have been closed for 30 months, first as part of the prevention measures to avoid the proliferation of Covid-19, and then as a consequence of the floodings provoked by the heavy rains.

“We are waiting for the galleries to dry out before allowing access to tourism again, in addition, in Kulubá there are guided visits, but visitors must make an appointment to be able to reserve the guided tour of this ancient Maya city”, the INAH delegate pointed out.

He detailed that last March, Acanceh and Aké were reopened, in May the influx began in Chacmultún, Labná, Oxkintok, and Sayil, pre-Columbian cities that remained closed for 25 months, and in June Xlapak was added to the list of open archaeological sites, located on the Puuc route, while Dzibilchaltún reopened on July 29, 2022.

The official assured that the reopening of more pre-Columbian sites allowed visitors to have more options, although the interest in Chichén Itzá is still remarkable, as four out of five tourists visit this archeological zone.

Until August, Chichén Itzá was the most visited pre-Columbian city in the country, while the Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia “Palacio Cantón” was among the 13 most visited museums in Mexico.

In the first 8 months of 2022, the arrival of archaeological and museum tourism in Yucatán registered a total of 2,335,699 visitors, with an increase of 86.74% compared to 2021, when the figure was 1,250,743 tourists who visited the Yucatecan Maya archaeological sites.

Of the total number of visitors, 2,305,193 went to the archaeological monument areas and 30,506 people entered the Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia “Palacio Cantón”, which ranked thirteenth in the country in terms of visitors, 0.99% of the national total.

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