Balankanche Cave should be visited for the beauty of its natural stone formations and for its archaeological importance as a ceremonial site for the Maya. A light and sound show that relates its history can be seen into the cave. The first man of modern times to see the treasure of Balankanche was a tour guide from Chichen Itza. In 1959, while exploring the cave, Gomez discovered a passageway leading deep into the caverns. It took him two hours to follow out the path that eventually brought him face to face with the treasures left by the ancient Maya 800 years ago. Dr. E. Wyllys Andrews, leader of the National Geographic Society Expedition working nearby, was immediately summoned to inspect the discovery. Arriving into the cave, he was astonished when he saw with the beam of his headlamp hundreds of glittering stalactites surrounding a huge stalagmite (resembling a ceiba tree) which stretched from floor to ceiling in the center of the enormous vault. Carefully placed around the base of this unusual geological formation, said to be the "sacred tree inside the earth", were a great variety of ceremonial objects, offering to the rain god Tlaloc and left undisturbed through centuries of darkness.
The Sacred Cave of Balankanche, which lies some kilometers from Chich?n Itz?, contains chambers which were once filled with hundreds of ceramic incense burners and miniature metates (grinding stones) laid out on the cave floors, as offerings to the rain god. Caves were seen by the Maya and most other Mesoamerican cultures as sacred places and as entrances to the underworld. The one is still used by local shamans (priests) who continue to regard it as sacred.
Near, Chichen Itza archaeological zone are a network of sacred caves known as Balankanche (Spanish: Gruta de Balankanche), Balamka'anche' in Modern Maya). In the caves, a large selection of ancient pottery and idols may be seen still in the positions where they were left in pre-Columbian times. The location of the cave has been well known in modern times. Edward Thompson and Alfred Tozzer visited it in 1905. A.S. Pearse and a team of biologists explored the cave in 1932 and 1936. E. Wyllys Andrews IV also explored the cave in the 1930s. Edwin Shook and R.E. Smith explored the cave on behalf of the Carnegie Institution in 1954, and dug several trenches to recover potsherds and other artifacts. Shook determined that the cave had been inhabited over a long period, at least from the Preclassic to the post-conquest era.