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Shadow of the Tomb Raider guide: Mission of San Juan challenge tombs

Tree of Life and Thirsty Gods

Eidos Montreal, Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

There are two challenge tombs in Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s Mission of San Juan area. In this guide, we’ll show you how to find them, solve their puzzles and discover the locations of the archivist’s maps, documents, relics and survival caches along the way.

Mission of San Juan challenge tomb 1

Deserted Cloister base camp | Tree of Life challenge tomb

The deserted Deserted Cloister base camp is closest to the Tree of Life challenge tomb. (See the first image in the gallery above for the tomb’s location.) Check the wall near the campfire to find the Mission San Juan relic and, on the ground to the left of that, an archivist’s map in a backpack. That’ll reveal the location of the documents and relics inside of the tomb.

Ascend the nearby stairs. (Turn left, and you may find a merchant, though her appearance doesn’t seem to be guaranteed.)

On a table in the hallway beyond the stairs, you’ll find The Hills are Alive document. Continue down the hall and check the right wall for another archivist’s map in a backpack, which reveals the locations of survival caches outside of this tomb.

At the end of the hallway, shoot a rope arrow at the wall blocking your path. Descend into the hole beyond.

Part 1: Mountain Catacombs base camp

  1. As soon as you land, you’ll discover the Mountain Catacombs base camp. In the same room, you’ll find the Chenchen and Chaca Trees document.
  2. Jump and grab onto the wall, repel down and swing to the nearby ledge.
  3. Follow the path down, jump to the wall and repel down again.
  4. Shoot a fire arrow at the green gas, and quickly scale the wall that the gas (that smells like rotten eggs, which means sulfur) was blocking. (You’ll be doing this kind of thing a lot.)
  5. Follow the path forward, using your pickaxe to interact with the contraption and unleash more green gas.
  6. Shoot the green gas with a fire arrow to destroy the nearby debris wall and clear a path forward.
  7. Shoot a rope arrow and zip line down to the next area.
  8. Turn right when you land, and search the ground for a survival cache.

Part 2: Document, green gas and a makeshift bridge

  1. Shimmy across the narrow ledge, jump and swing onto the ground. (From here, you could take the path to the left that leads out, but you shouldn’t. Just remember that for later.)
  2. Follow the only path forward, jumping and repelling and picking up items along the way. You’ll duck through a tunnel and come to an open area.
  3. Shoot a fire arrow at the green mist to move the platform close to you. Jump as soon as it gets close, and ride it down.
  4. Jump off and continue forward, jumping down to the next level.
  5. Veer to the left and jump across a chasm just past a couple of dead trees that form a makeshift gate.
  6. Turn right, and collect the world tree document.
  7. Hop back across the chasm, turn left, and interact with the contraption to release more green gas.
  8. Fight off the (first) wave of enemies who appear.
  9. Hop across the nearby gap and climb up the wall. Follow the path to the right, and shoot the green mist with a fire arrow to make a platform fly toward you. Just like last time, jump across it as soon as you can because it’ll return to its original position quickly.
  10. Follow the path forward, balancing on the makeshift bridge.

Part 3: Mural, relic, and enemies

  1. Jump to the next platform, and then scramble up the wall.
  2. Interact with the tree of life mural immediately to your left.
  3. Continue forward, hugging the right wall, and collect the primitive doll next to the brazier.
  4. Cut the nearby cord to release the platform.
  5. Backtrack a bit, turn around, and jump onto the platform that you freed. Then jump and swing to the next platform, then scramble up the wall.
  6. Interact with the contraption to release more green mist.
  7. Kill the enemies who appear.
  8. Shoot the green mist with a fire arrow, and ride the platform to the next area.

Part 4: Relic, enemies, stele, and a skill

  1. Shoot the green mist with a fire arrow to clear the path ahead. Jump across and climb up.
  2. Cut the rope holding the platform.
  3. Collect the primitive doll relic on the right side of the path ahead of you.
  4. Interact with the contraption to release more green mist.
  5. Jump onto the platform near the mist, and then grapple to the next platform.
  6. Turn around, and shoot the green mist with a fire arrow. Your platform will fall down to the next area.
  7. Jump off onto solid ground, and kill the enemies waiting for you there.
  8. Scramble up the wall, and follow the path up and to the right, balancing across another makeshift bridge.
  9. Collect the gold on either side of the steps, and interact with the stele to finish the challenge tomb and receive the Kinich Ahau’s boon skill, so that “health is instantly restored once when near death in battle. Refreshes between encounters.”
  10. Create a zip line to the right of the stele, and backtrack to leave the tomb.

Mission of San Juan challenge tomb 2

South of the lake | Thirsty Gods challenge tomb

To find the second challenge tomb in the Mission of San Juan, head south from the mission, jump down to the lake pictured above and swim to its southernmost shore. When you exit the water, you’ll be on the path to the tomb. Make sure to look on the left side of the path that leads to the water to find the Last Words document.

Part 1: To the Flood Basin base camp

  1. Wade into the water, and swim down into the cave, avoiding (or killing) the moray eel.
  2. Turn to the left when you surface, and swim through the water to find the God of Cocoa mural.
  3. Shoot a rope arrow to pull down the barrier above you and on the other side of the room from the mural. That’ll lower the water.
  4. Hop down, walk through the skull-shaped opening and slide down the mud hill.
  5. Swim through the underwater crack and, on the other side, cut the rope tethered to the raft.
  6. Climb onto the raft and jump from there onto and up the nearby wall.
  7. Walk forward, and you’ll see the Flood Basin base camp.
  8. Climb up the wall, and you’ll enter the tomb.

Part 2: Collectibles and preparation

Your goal in this room is to collect a few items, move a few things and gain access to the stele at the end of the tomb. Also, to avoid piranhas. Below, we’ll outline the steps to do that.

  1. Hop down from where you enter, and jump to the raft closest to the shore.
  2. Jump on the next closest raft, and then dive into the water.
  3. Cut the rope holding the nearby raft underwater.
  4. Dive down and turn around, so that you’re facing back toward the way you came in.
  5. Search the floor of an alcove for a survival cache.
  6. Swim back to the surface, and make your way onto the first raft that you jumped on from the shore.
  7. Facing away from where you entered, dive into the water and swim forward and to the bottom. Head straight, looking at the floor, you’ll find a survival cache in an underwater doorway.
  8. Swim through the doorway, and turn left to find a primitive doll relic.
  9. Swim to the surface, and use your survival instinct to find another submerged raft. Swim to it, and cut the rope keeping it submerged.
  10. Climb on top of the raft, and then jump to the top of the nearby wall.
  11. Follow the path to your left, cross the log bridge and collect the testament of T. Serrano document and interact with the thirsty gods mural.

That concludes the preparation and collection portion of the challenge tomb. Time to solve the puzzle.

Part 3: Solving the puzzle

  1. Turn the contraption to the right, so that the water pours onto the counterweight. This will lower the water level in the room.
  2. Exit to the left of the platform with the contraption, hopping down next to the water wheel.
  3. Fire a rope arrow at the round hanging rock covered in rope. It’ll connect to the water wheel’s axel.
  4. Make your way back to the contraption, and turn it to the left, so that the water wheel starts turning. That’ll tighten the rope that you just tethered.
  5. When the rope starts straining (you’ll hear and see it), turn the contraption to the right again, so that the water isn’t turning the wheel again. (If you don’t, the rope will snap, and you’ll have to lower the water and shoot the rope again.)
  6. Jump into the water, and swim underwater to go through the door you just opened.
  7. Climb onto dry land, and collect the Alux document sitting on the ground.
  8. Climb up the nearby wall, and follow the path up to the top of the structure.
  9. Interact with the stele to earn the Sip’s Strike skill, so that “charged arrows deal more damage to armored enemies.”
  10. Take the zip line down, and retrace your steps to leave the tomb.