Rey Marcos caves

Alta Verapaz is a department located north of capital Guatemala City. The area is known for caves and other karst shapes, with Semuc Champey being most famous. Undiscovered jewel of the area is Rey Marcos Caves. To reach caves of Rey Marcos it is not necessary to take a long journey; you simply take the road to San Juan Chamelco from Coban, and after 15 minutes you’re there, in charming old town in the beautiful valley. The place is inhabited mostly by Mayan Q’eqchi’ people, kind and eager to have tourism.

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The visitor will notice huge colonial church in the town center. But very few will hear the story of Rey Marcos (king Marcos). In brief, there was a guy named Aj Poop Oob’ B’atz’, and bored with breaking their tongues, people called him Juan Matalbatz. So, he helped Dominican priests to transfer local Indians into a new religion.

As a payback, that guy even received the honor to be governor of this part of the country, and since Spanish called governors «reyes», here you have expression «Rey». Marcos is the name of the village where the caves were discovered relatively recently – in the late eighties.

Now, important notice is: Rey Marcos caves are not prepared for the visitors. There is no lights or steps inside. It is a really wild cave, natural and original. But around the entrance, everything is done properly – little museum, restaurant offering kak’ik, shades and barbecues, educational paths and so on.Good place out of the beaten track.

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Rey Marcos


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