This extraordinary limestone sinkhole is also known as “Swallows Cave” or “Swallows basement”. It is one of the worlds deepest pit at 512 meters with a free fall of 376 meters.
The sinkhole is known for its thousands of vencejos (white-collared swifts) that nest in the cave. At dawn flocks of swifts leave the cave by spiraling their way up to the opening. At dusk, on return to the cave, they circle above the cave mouth before they break of in groups and dive-bomb into the abyss.
This picture is taken by dawn – the birds fly so fast that it is almost impossible for the human eye to see them one by one
We got to Sotano de Golondrinas in the afternoon and decided to walk down hundreds of steps (somebody told us that there was almost 600 steps, we didn’t count them). For 10 pesos you get a rope around the upper torso and you can climb to the edge and look down (right picture).
After going down we had to walk back up! It is a beautiful walk both up and down if you are in shape to enjoy the walk on the way back up.
We walked to the sinkhole at dusk and at dawn the next day – of course I had to see how fast I could get back up. The Mexicans tells you that it takes between 20-30 minutes to walk back up, but I did it in 10 minutes and 41 seconds.
We sat up our tent in the backyard of the local family run restaurant/eatery (left picture), where they also served “Comida corrida”. “Comida corrida” is an inexpensive fixed-price menu for between 50-80 pesos per person. Sometimes you can pick between 2 or 3 main dishes, and it sometimes comes with soup and a drink. If you get lucky the dessert is included, but we haven’t tried that yet. We joined a Mexican family that was on a weekend trip for dinner (right picture).
We had a great time with the family and some of the family members spoke a little bit of English and in combination with our bad Spanish we got along really well. At the end of the dinner one of the family members paid for our meal. We also lined up for several photos before saying goodbye to the family . The next morning we got up early and saw the birds fly out of the sinkhole, and eat our breakfast.
Before leaving the boy in the family got to sit on my motorcycle wearing my jersey. The boy had been around us the evening before looking at the motorcycles. Please notice how he is smiling with his mouth closed. The boy didn’t have any teeth left, they were all gone probably because of a diet rich in sugar and no toothbrush. It once more reminded us about the difference between poor and rich here in Mexico.
We hope that we made his day! We got back on the motorcycles to drive to the 3 out of 3 tourist stop… don’t let all the colorful signs confuse you