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Destination Details

Alta Verapaz, Guatemala

Comprising a 7.3-sq-km swath of subtropical forest rising up from the lake over limestone terrain, this nature reserve offers mildly strenuous hiking and excellent wildlife watching, with paths to some brilliant lookout points. As a bonus, there's an adjacent lakeside park with diving docks for a refreshing conclusion to the tour.


The Candelaria Caves are a large natural cave system in the highland-lowland transition of Alta Verapaz in Guatemala between the municipalities of Chisec and Raxruha. The caves are famous for its peculiar karst phenomena and significance to the Mayan history.

Amongst the attractions of its huge karst caverns are speleothems like stalactites, stalagmites, stalagnates and flowstone drapes. Pit caves, caused by collapse of the ceiling, light the inside of the caves. The main gallery has a length of 22 km, of which 12.5 km follows the underground passage of the Candelaria River. The total length of the cave system, including coulisses, secondary and upper passages, is estimated to be 80 km.

The Great Western Trade Route  of the Classic Maya, which connected the Guatemalan highlands to the Petén lowlands, went through the Candelaria Caves area. Pottery artefacts evidence the use of the caves for ceremonies.  The Popol Vuh of the K'iche' people considers the Candelaria Caves an entrance to the underworld

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