Type of destination:
Type of accommodation:
Rates: (in US dollars)
$26 – $50
See details about rates below.
La Sima de las Cotorras (Parrot's Sinkhole) is a large pit in karst terrain, or limestone plateau, in the state of Chiapas, near the Selva El Ocote Biosphere Reserve. The sinkhole was caused by the chemical weathering of certain rocks such as limestone, dolomite, gypsum, and others. Water accumulates in weak points in the limestone, dissolving the calcium carbonate into water soluble minerals. Surface and subterranean waters dissolve the rock and create partial sinkholes that are formed when the land over an underground cavern caves in, due to the collapse of the cavern's roof. When this process occurs over many years, an open pit with nearly vertical walls forms.
There are only three of these marvels in the region and Sima de las Cotorras is the largest with a depth of 459 feet (140 meters) and a diameter of 525 feet (160 meters).
Surrounding the sinkhole is low deciduous forest with trees that lose all of their leaves in the dry seasons and are completely green in the rainy seasons. The trees and shrubs do not exceed 20 meters in height and you can admire a wide variety of trees such as chicle, copal, cascarilla, palo de humo, muja, bejuco, amuelillo, palo de piedra, achin, mulato, cuchunuk, pitaya, malacate blanco, higo silvestre, maculis, saucito, memelita, and more.
At the bottom of the sinkhole, you can admire the magnificent view of the medium height perennial forest.
Thanks to its particular characteristics and climate, the sinkhole is home to several mammal species that include bats, tamandua anteaters, coyotes, opossum, and squirrels. It also has reptiles such as ctenosaurs, coral snakes, false coral snakes, rattlesnakes, green vine snakes, and lizards. The parrots (Aratinga holochlora) for which this place is named inhabit the trees in the bottom of the sinkhole because they are safe from predators and other hazards there. They share the sinkhole with 80 other bird species including magpie jays, orioles (which make bag-shaped nests), robins, thrushes, ground doves, hummingbirds, red-legged honeycreepers, woodpeckers, vultures, and others.
One of the outstanding natural spectacles of the sinkhole occurs around dawn when the parrots leave the hole in groups, in a spiraling flight that allows them to fly our unimpeded while their calls reverberate throughout the hole. At dusk, they return to descend into the sinkhole. The parrots stay in the sinkhole from February to November and leave during the dry season.
There are vestiges of the Zoque culture inside the sinkhole with ancient paintings. How these images were made is still a mystery, since there were no known safety devices for the people to descend 70 meters. Experts estimate that these paintings are 5,000 to 10,000 years old. More than 46 figures have been found, representing the former life of the Zoque people. All of these figures can be seen from a lookout point or with binoculars; there are guided walks around the perimeter of the sinkhole to see and learn about other details.
The typical cuisine of the area characteristically includes barbeque and chicken soup. We have a large, rustic restaurant with a beautiful view, very pleasant for families and couples.
Conditions in the area are suitable for tourists who enjoy bird-watching, trail hikes, and extreme sports such as rappelling, spelunking and perimeter hikes. The services available are lodging, camping, tours, and extreme sports.
The Sima de las Cotorras center is completely different from the other centers in and outside the reserve. The main differences lie in the attractions and services available. A huge investment has been made in infrastructure, visitor comfort, and the noteworthy visual attraction of the impressive sinkhole with its limestone walls that safeguard the unique plants and animals of the area.
Two cabins with four rooms each.
Number of employees: 16
$26 – $50
The services available are lodging, camping, tours, and extreme sports. The place is ideal for bird-watching enthusiasts who can enjoy the parrots as they depart and return to the sinkhole in the mornings and afternoons.
The prices for food, lodging and tours are adjusted to tourist demand and they are accessible to families and couples. The center is fully capable of satisfying travelers’ needs.
Note: all prices are listed in Mexican pesos.
Nearest international airport: México DF (MEX)
Nearest local/national airport: Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ), Chiapas.
Travel time to nearest airport: 90 minutes
We are 90 minutes from the airport in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Head west out of the city toward Ocozocoautla de Espinosa (Ocozocoautla-Cintalapa highway). Follow the detour to the altura de Rancho San Luis. The route has 3 kilometers of paved road and 11 kilometers of gravel road. To get here, there are obvious signs that indicate the route to the center for visitors.
The main road has stretches in poor condition because the rains create potholes that can cause problems for small cars or ones that are not suitable for these roads.
Sociedad Cooperativa Tzamanguimo, S.C. de R.L.
Business recommended by:
Norma Mexicana NMX-AA-133-SCFI-2006