Adventure to El Sótano de las Golondrinas (Cave of Swallows)

Posted by Efi Guzman on

For years, I’ve been wanting to visit El Sótano de las Golondrinas (Cave of Swallows). El Sótano de las Golondrinas is the most open-air pit cave in México and amongst the largest in the world. It is known for the thousands of birds that flock out all at once at the peak of dawn. They search for food and at sunset, they’ll all fly back to the cave. Golondrina is a type of bird in México yet, despite the name, the birds that inhabit the sótano are white-collared swifts and green parakeets. You won't see many Golondrinas. 

I’m happy to say, I can check it off my bucket list. I didn’t get the full experience but it was well worth it. Let me share with you a bit of that experience. 

We arrived at Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, about seven hours away from my home. It’s a small town that is home to the Tének indigenous people. It’s known for its indigenous culture, flavorful dishes, and abundant nature. 



We checked in at our hotel and let me say, it was the cutest. The decor incorporated the native artisanal crafts and based their color palette on traditional colors. I appreciated this. 



We had to be up at 4am so we decided to head to bed early once we arrived.  My alarm went off and we headed out the door at 4:30am. It was a 30-minute drive up the mountain. We bought our ticket and paid for a tour guide. We needed to walk down 586 steps (yes, you read that correctly) in the dark to make it to the edge of the sotano. We used our cell phone light to help us down each step. We made it to the final step and our legs were shaking. It was pitch black and we had no idea how the sótano looked. We could not see anything but heard so much nature. Of course, I wasn’t nervous, well, maybe just a little lol

We were the first ones there and the guide told us to find a spot before more people showed up. We had to find a spot on the edge of the sótano. It was not easy! The edge of the sotano is made up of limestone. While it was smooth there were many dents so it made it uncomfortable to sit on. 


As we sat and began to settle more and more people began to show up. There is no set time when the birds will fly out. Thousands are supposed to fly out all at once. We were told that the day before they all flew out around 8:30am. On the day that we went 8:30am passed and we were all starting to get antsy. We started to ask the guide if he thought they would come out. He said “They will come out…maybe today, tomorrow, or next week, but they’ll eventually come out” What an assured way to respond lol. He said that the weather was a factor. They come out early when it’s warm, but that day it was cold and cloudy. More than half of the spectators left after they heard that. Right when we were about to leave, a few started to fly out, so we stayed a bit longer hoping to see more. Small groups of birds started to fly out slowly. It was a sight to see, despite not experiencing the full show. 


After 30 minutes, we decided to take a peek at the sotano. A worker asked if we were interested in taking a deeper look. Of course, I  said yes. I wanted the full experience and that is exactly what I got lol.  He literally tied a rope around my upper body attached the end to the boulder and was holding tight when I started to get closer. My legs started to shake so I sat down and leaned over. It was very deep, about 560 yards deep. You weren't able to see the bottom due to its depth, however, it was pretty cool to look down as the birds were flying out. 


Around 11am we decided to begin our journey back. The downside of leaving was walking up the steps. It was easier walking down than up. We were sleepy, tired, and hungry. It was no joke. We had to make a few stops because it seemed never-ending. Once again, our legs were shaking when we made it to the top. Luckily for us, there was a juice stand. We took a break and enjoyed our juice. 


The Sótano de las Golondrinas is such a beautiful and magical place. It’s so lush and peaceful. One day I will be back and I hope to see the full show. I give this place five stars and highly recommend it. 



Would you plan a trip here? If so and if you need any tips, please feel free to contact me!



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