Chisec makes the perfect base for visiting two remarkable natural attractions, the nearest being the “painted cave” of Bombil Pek. There’s a community-run guide office a kilometre north of Chisec, right on the highway, where you pay your entrance fee and collect a flashlight; they also rent tubes (US$3; best July–Oct) for river exploration here. A guide leads you along a delightful forty-minute hike through the milpa fields and forest, and down a steep, slippery wooden staircase into the sinkhole and its vast 50m-high main cavern. Many ceramics have been found here, and the cave is still used for Maya religious ceremonies.

Your guide will then try to persuade you to squeeze through a tiny hole at the rear to a second, much smaller cave where the faded painted images of two monkeys, possibly representing the hero twins of the Popol Vuh, adorn the walls.