Exploring the Secret Caves Beneath Mexico’s Biggest Tourist Destination

The hole in the Earth is shaped like an uppercase B—a ragged shaft plunging into the forest floor beneath us. It can’t be more than two feet wide. Klaus Thymann, a 42-year-old Danish photographer, lays a pair of aluminum air tanks under a sapodilla tree as Luís Leal, a 50-year-old cave-diving instructor with a Trotskyesque beard and a tan mesh hat, shines a flashlight into the hole. The machete-cut path that brought us here is barely visible through the vine-clogged jungle, and all around, the strange whoop of the blue-feathered motmot bird reverberates.

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