Sac Actun – the longest underground river. Mexico
Sistema Sac Actun is a system of underground caves, which is located in Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo, near the town of Tulum. The river flowing through the series of caves is considered to be the longest underground river in the world.
The name “Sistema Sac Actun” can be translated from the Mayan language as “White Cave System”. The caves and the underground river Sac Actun were sacred for these people. According to ancient legends people believed that Sistema Sac Actun was a gate of world of the dead – souls of the dead passed into their new dimension precisely through this underground river.
Even today, many tourists having visited Sac Actun, describe an unusual spiritual experience which they felt inside the underground galleries. Maybe you would also be imbued by this atmosphere, but maybe it’s just a fairy tale. But more often, the tourists admire that it is one of the most impressive places they have seen in their lives. And this statement sounds very plausible! After all, you may can not simply admire the beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites, but also dive into the water to experience the charm of this place to the fullest.
Sistema Sac Actun was discovered in 1989 by two American divers-speleologists. Geological studies have shown that the cave system and the underground river Sac Actun originated about 65 million years ago, during the fall of the meteorite. This incident has caused numerous major damages to earth’s surface, in particular the formation of cracks and cavities that were filled with rainwater. Currently scientists assume that the length of the river is 317.5 km, 311.7 km of which are flooded. Temperature of mineral and crystal-clear water of the river Sac Actun that flows in the maze of stalactites is kept within 23-24°C.
The underground river Sac Actun is a storehouse of useful elements. It is valuable for different minerals. This spectacular natural wonder is also home to the giant shrimps, catfish, freshwater crayfish and several species of bats.
Sistema Sac Actun, along with the famous cenotes, is one of the most famous cave-diving attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula and throughout Mexico.