Sótano del Barro


Sótano del Barro is an enormous pit cave or sinkhole encircled by oak forests that serve as a refuge for the last remaining colony of military macaws in Central Mexico. It was formed 1.5 million years ago, when the bedrock collapsed, forming a cave whose mouth measures 420 by 200 meters and whose freefall drop equals 410 meters. A maximum depth is 455 meters.

The cave is located in one of the strict conservation zones of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, and caving activities are not permitted since they can potentially be harmful to the threatened military macaws. The military macaws are threatened due to habitat destruction amongst other reasons.


The military macaws leave their nests around 7:00 AM and return after feeding, around sunset. If you want to see them early in the morning, you should stay the night before in the cabins in the community of Santa María Cocos, and begin your ascent around 5:00 AM. You must hire a local guide to accompany you to the cave and you can make the trip on foot or by riding on a donkey.


  • Hiking
  • Bird watching
  • Nature photography
  • Camping


From Jalpan de Serra, take Federal Highway 69 (Jalpan – Río Verde) to Puerto Ayutla, from where a dirt road will take you to the community of Santa María Cocos. There, you will find a steep footpath that ascends 1000 meters to the rim of the cave.