Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia
When I first arrived to Tena I asked at one of the travel agencies about tours to the caves near Tena. It didn’t seem like people usually asked for these tours, but a woman at the agency said that I could go on my own. She told me that Cuevas de Jumandi (the only one mentioned in the guidebook) was quite commercial and she advised me to go to Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia and Cavernas Lagarto Matiri instead.
Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia is situated just north of Cotundo, along the Tena – Baeza road. I took a taxi there from Tena and it was $7 (August 2013). I arrived just after a group of relatives (from Cuenca, Quito and USA) had arrived so I got a guided tour together with them.
On the way to the cave the guide stopped along the path telling us about several of the plants. We also went through a short stone labyrinth.
Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia has got its name because it has been a place used by shamans. Inside the cave, in a room with stalactites and stalagmites there is a grave of a shaman and on the grave there were some flowers. We continued and passed some narrow passages. Along the way there were some water and we saw two large Whip Spiders. They are not poisonous so the guide put one on my neck, as I have never had a big spider on me and I like to try something for me new. We turned around at a point with a rope. It was possible to climb up the rope and take that way out of the cave, but that had included being soaking wet. Well, I would have liked trying that exit, but not the others and also it was not possible with the camera. In the cave I used my own head torch. The others got candles.
To visit Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia was $3 (August 2013).
Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia is a very nice cave to visit, but it is not as adventurous as Cavernas Lagarto Matiri, which I went to after the visit at Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia.
- Adventure Travel
- Budget Travel
Cavernas Lagarto Matiri
After visiting Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia I wanted to visit Cavernas Lagarto Matiri. To go there I first walked for 15 – 20 minutes along the Tena - Baeza road to the village Mondayacu. When I came to Mondayacu I met a man and asked for the way to Cavernas Lagarto Matiri. He told me to turn left after the school, but he also told me to ask in the small shop there. I’m glad I went into the shop to ask for the way as it turned out that it is the same family that owns the shop and the land where Cavernas Lagarto Matiri.
I talked to Pedro in the shop. He showed me a map and explained things about the cave. He asked me if I wanted to visit on my own or if I wanted to have a guide, and it absolutely sounded like a cave I wanted to have a guide to when visiting. So, Pedro went to change, and together with his wife we walked to the family finca, a walk of about 20 minutes. At the finca Pedro’s family is slowly preparing things to be able to receive more tourists, also tourists who want o stay the night. When it is ready I think it will be a lovely and relaxing place to stay in.
Before I and Pedro set off for the cave I got a helmet to wear in the cave and I put my head torch on it. Inside the cave the torch slipped off the helmet and fell into a little puddle. It blinked a few times but luckily it continued to shine. After that I had it hanging around the neck. Pedro had an old mobile phone as a torch so it was quite dark in the cave. In the photos there seem to be a lot of light, but that is only from the flash.
It felt very adventures and fun to visit Cavernas Lagarto Matiri. It is a 600 metre long cave, but we only went to 560 metres as the last part is narrow with lots of sharp stones. Most people turn around at a place where there are many stalactites and stalagmites, but of course I wanted to continue as long as possible. In the cave you need to climb over the rocks and at some places wade in water, at one narrow passage the water reached as high as the waist. At one low passage it was necessary to crawl on the stomach and it is very muddy. Along the way we saw a few bats, a whip spider and orange spider, a fish in a pond and two large fossil conchas. It took one hour to go in as I stopped to get a lot of pictures, and every time the camera needed to be taken up from its plastic bags. The return took half an hour.
Coming back to the finca one of Pedros relatives was waiting for a taxi that would take her to Cotundo. I went with her and from there went on with a shared taxi and bus to Tena.
If you only have time to visit one cave in the area around Tena I can really recommend it to be Cavernas Lagarto Matiri, which is a fun and adventurous experience. You will be very wet and muddy so don’t come in your best clothes.
Admission to the cave was $2 and the guide was $12 (August 2013). Pedro is a very good guide to the cave so I can really recommend that you ask for him. I would not try to visit the cave on my own.
- Adventure Travel
- Budget Travel