In this Shadow of the Tomb Raider Challenge Tombs Guide, we will guide you on how you can clear the toughest puzzles in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. These are the challenge tombs, which are the hardest tombs in the game, but they also come with special skills that make going in them totally worth it. These Challenge Tombs are optional and you do not have to complete them while playing the main story either.
It is best that you first complete the main story and then for these tombs. It does not matter even if you want to complete these before finishing the main story of the game. They do not require any special gear or hardware so they can be completed at any point of the story. You will just need to unlock all locations, as some are located in late game areas as well.
Challenge Tombs Guide – Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Shadow of the Tomb Raider features nine challenge tombs and these are the hardest challenges in the game. Solving each puzzle will give you a special skill, which cannot be earned or unlocked through any other means in the game. These skills are excellent hence, it is recommended that you try going for these challenge tombs.
As you progress in the main story, you will unlock more areas and hence more challenge tombs. We have listed them below in the same order in which they are unlocked in the story missions so that you can follow the same pattern and complete all Challenge Tombs easily.
There are 2 Challenge Tombs located in Peruvian Jungle.
This Challenge Tomb is located in the south of Peruvian Jungle. You will need to enter it from the Jungle Ruins base camp. Enter the tomb and complete the initial climbing section. It is simple and straightforward so we are skipping to the real puzzle of the tomb.
The puzzle that you need to solve is a big crane. To solve it, use the level to rotate the platform, which has the rope arrow point. Keep rotating until you can connect a rope arrow to the beam and the other side of the area.
Get to the other side and use the lever there to move the hanging box in the area. Move it unless you can jump on it. Jump on the box and get back to the first lever. Jump to the lever and connect the box with the rotating platform after rotating it around.
Now head back to the lever on the other side and use the lever again. You will need to jump back on the box now quickly before it goes away. Keep on the box until you can jump to the other side. This is followed by another climbing section, which is very simple.
Follow the path and you will reach the end. Claim your reward ‘Eagle’s Perch’ at the end of the tomb. This skill increases your climbing skills and allows you to move around quickly.
This Challenge Tomb is located in the northeast section of Peruvian Jungle near the Plane Wreckage base camp. The first puzzle of this Challenge Tomb is very easy which is the statue blocking your path. Jump on the counter-weight located on the right side to lift the statue. TO reach the counter-weight, climb the little wall in the back of the room.
For the next puzzle in this Challenge Tomb, you will arrive in a big room, which has two counter weights hanging on each side. There is also a bridge here and two carts. Your goal here is to raise the bridge by tethering the weights to the bridge and then jumping on the counter weights.
Head to the left side, pull the cart back, and then push it out of the way. Head to the second cart and push it underneath the weight. Use rope arrows and tether the statue to the bridge and jump on the counter-weight. This will cause the statue to be locked in place by the cart below. This will make the bridge to raise by half.
Now go to the other cart and push it to the other side and under the other counter-weight. Get on the weight using a wall nearby and lock the statue down in its place. Do not forget to tether the weight to the bridge before jumping on the weight. This will cause the bridge to rise up.
Reach the end of the challenge tomb to get your reward, Caiman’s Heart. It increases your health generation rate.
There is 1 Challenge Tomb in Kuwaq Yaku.
This Challenge is located in the middle of Kuwaq Yaku region near the Kuwaq Yaku Ruins. Look for a big cave with yellow skulls at the entrance. Enter the Tomb and follow the climbing section. Keep following the path until you are attacked by some foxes. Kill them, tether one wooden beam to the other one, and use the rope to get access to the puzzle room.
You will arrive in a burning room where you must put out the fires. Start by pulling the lever at the entrance and opening up the right shutter. A pendulum with swing sideways. Climb on it and jump to the ledge when it swings to the left side.
Here, use the lever to open another shutter and drop another pendulum. This one has thorns over it. This will put out the fire. Head to the platform farthest ahead and hit the thorn pendulum when it is at its top location to make it change its path. It will hit the rubble up ahead and break it open for you.
Close the second shutter and head to the now opened path. Reach the third level and jump up the wall on the right side. Climb to the stuck pendulum where you will see a rope arrow point. Shoot one from the stuck pendulum to the third one and get back to the third level. Use the lever and it automatically unstuck the fourth one as well. This will put out the fire completely allowing you to retrieve your prize.
Your reward here is the Huracan’s Mantle skill which reduces the damage from fire and explosions.
The Hidden City
There are three Challenge Tombs in The Hidden City.
Path of Battle
This Challenge Tomb is located outside the city near the jungle area. To get access to this Challenge Tomb, you must head to Paititi and find the little cave in the top left side of the area. Once you reach the jungle area, find the pool of water and jump in it. Now you can enter the Challenge Tomb. This is easier if you have already unlocked the Wild Jungle base camp.
To get to the puzzle room, complete the initial diving and climbing section. Pull the lever and activate the traps. Stick to left side and you should be fine over the traps. Upon reaching the locked door, use the lever to unlock it and you arrive in the puzzle room.
This is the first puzzle room of this Challenge room. You will need to jump over the platform’s arms while it is moving and then jumping to ramps next to it. You can pull levers here that will cause the center platform to retract but some metal blades will start spinning here. Clear them all and pull the lever on the other side. Repeat the same procedure for the next ramp.
Once the center platform is locked in its place, get on it to earn your prize. You will get Sip’s Quiver, which allows you to loose three arrows before needing to pull out from the quiver.
Temple of the Sun
This Challenge Temple is located in the south section of The Hidden City. Find the house in the south of the city, which has a well inside it. Jump in the well and reach the area where you will unlock the Village Caves base camp. Climb all the way up and unlock the wooden blockade to enter the tomb.
Inside you will find a room with four mirrors in each corner. You need to reach the 4th mirror in the top left corner of the room so that you can shine the light on the middle stick and reach the tomb site. We will be assigning numbers to mirrors according to their sticks so that you can easily refer to the mirror about which we are talking about.
Mirror 1 is on the bottom right; mirror 2 is on the bottom left, mirror 3 is on the top right while mirror 4 is on the top left. The solution to this puzzle is as follows.
- Aim Mirror 1 to the platform between Mirror 1 and 2.
- Aim Mirror 2 to the platform between Mirror 1 and 3.
- Aim Mirror 1 to the platform between Mirror 1 and 3.
- Aim Mirror 3 to the platween between Mirror 3 and 1.
- Aim Mirror 1 to the platform between Mirror 1 and 2.
- Aim Mirror 2 to the platform between Mirror 1 and 2.
- Aim Mirror 1 to the platform between Mirror 2 and 4.
- Aim Mirror 2 to the platform between Mirror 2 and 4
- Aim Mirror 4 to the middle platform
This will allow you to reach the tomb stele in the middle of the puzzle and collect your prize. You will earn Hoatzin’s Hunger, which allows you to get increased natural resources from all sources.
This Challenge Tomb is located on the east side of the Hidden City. Find the cave entrance with the yellow skulls in front of the Temple of Kukulkan base camp. Stick to the inside of the river and do not climb over it. There are two puzzles in this Challenge Tomb.
To start the puzzle, complete the underwater section and climb the rocks. Watch the cutscene and them you will arrive at the first challenge room after passing through the base camp. The goal in this puzzle room is to fill the room with water so that you can jump to an opening in the wall.
Start by kicking the raft towards the floodgate and attaching a rope arrow between the raft and the floodgate. Use the lever at the top to fill the room with water. The weight of the raft will open the door to the next room. Swim to the next room and get rid of the rubble blocking the path.
Drain the water in the second room suing the underwater floodgate. Now go back and kick the raft to the second room. Fill the room with water again and then climb aboard the raft to reach the opening in the wall and get to the next room where you will encounter some enemies.
Kill them all and pull the level to fill the room with water. Climb back on raft and tether it with the water wheel. Now tether the water wheel to the anchor located above it. When the hanging box is revealed, some enemies will appear. Kill them all.
Connect the raft back to the water wheel while keeping it in jumping range. Connect the water wheel with the rope anchor again and jump on the raft. The raft will lift you up. Jump from the raft to the wall and climb up the platform above. Cross to the other side and claim your prize. This time, you will get Jaguar’s Paw skill. With this skill, you get increased chance to knock enemies down in melee combat.
The Cenote region is home to 1 Challenge Tomb.
This Challenge Temple is located in the north of the Cenote region. It is located near the Cenote Temple Ruins base camp. Head to the base camp and you can jump to the entrance of the cave where the entrance of Challenge Temple is located.
Complete the initial underwater sections of the temple and reach the area, which has two eels. You must head to the cove on the left side so that you are caught in the draft. Climb up and you will eventually end up in the large cavern with a ship.
You have to break the ship’s floor with a heavy cannon in order to access the reward stele. Start by climbing the ship and rotating the lever to position the cannon above the floor of the ship. Jump in the broken section of the ship in the middle and dive under water to reach the gate and open it. Swim through until you can climb up again.
You will arrive at the other side of the ship where you will find a broken mast. Walk on the broken mast and then jump to a wall located on the side. Circle around the fore-mast and head to the winch located on it. Interact with the winch.
Climb up and head back to the starting area of the ship. Rotate the lever located below the fore-mast to rotate the mast to the hanging box. Go up the mast, get on the hanging box and then climb the main mast. You will find a winch here. Interact with it to drop the cannon and open the floor.
Get down and enter the area to retrieve your prize. You will get Caiman’s Breath II. This will further increase your breathing capacity while underwater.
Mission of San Juan
The Mission of San Juan has 2 Challenge Temples.
Tree of Life
The Challenge Temple is located in the southeast of Mission of San Juan. This located near the Ruined Tower base camp where you also fight the Empress Jaguar. Before you start this Challenge Temple, it is vital that you must have a good stock of ammo and weapons as you will come across waves of enemies in this Challenge Temple.
To solve puzzles here, you will need fire arrows so you must have plenty of materials as well. You will be required to blow up gas every now and then in this Challenge Temple. Enter the temple and make progress until you reach the first gas. Shoot it with a fire arrow to make it go away. Continue up ahead.
You will eventually reach the second gas point where some rubble will be blocking your way. Use the winch here to release the gas and then shoot it with a fire arrow to make the rubble go away. The next gas point will require you to shoot it so that it can release a platform swing towards you. Jump on it, wait for it to stop and then jump off it.
Continue heading on the path until you reach the next gas point. You will need to use the winch to release the gas. As soon as you release the gas, enemies will spawn and they will try to block your path. Make your way to uphill area while taking down enemies and quickly shoot the gas. This will free up a platform and you must jump on it quickly otherwise you will need to shoot the gas again to free it.
Get on the other side using the platform and use another winch to activate the gas under the stone head. More enemies will spawn and try to block you. Kill them, jump to the platform and shoot the gas to give the platform a boost allowing you reach the wall above. Continue down the path until you arrive at the next gas point. Simply shoot it to open up the path and climb the wall behind it.
The last gas point is at the end of the temple. You will be required to free up another platform here. Use the winch to trigger the gas, jump to the platform, shoot the gas for a boost and reach the next area.
Here you will come across the final enemy wave, which is huge wave. Be prepared for a tough fight here. Kill enemies and then move up the path to finally retrieve your prize. You will get Kinich Ahau’s Boon. This skill instantly restores your health near death once during a battle.
The last Challenge Temple is located in the south-east section of Mission of San Juan. It is located in the water near the base camp Ruined Tower. The entrance has yellow skills and you will be require to swim towards it.
Enter the tomb and complete the first diving section to reach the room where you will see a head made of stone coming out of water. To solve the puzzle here, swim left to the mural and shoot a rope arrow at the wooden rubble located on the right side of the room. This will clear it out. This will drain the water allowing you to enter the skull.
Once you reach the flooded room, dive under water through a crack in the wall and then enter the next room to cut loose a raft. Get on the raft and jump to the wall. For the next puzzle, you will arrive in a room full of Piranhas in the water. This is the second puzzle of this tomb.
Here your goal is to open the central building using the anchor hanging in the area. To solve it, cut the underwater rafts and use them to reach the wall located on the left side of the main building. Interact with the spigot and fill the bucket full of water.
Water will be drained for a short time so quickly tether the water wheel to the anchor above the main building. Interact with the spigot to make the anchor rise up, once you see it going up; turn the spigot away from the water wheel to prevent the rope from breaking.
The way is now open and you can enter the main building to get your reward. You will be rewarded with Sip’s Strike. It powers up your charged arrows allowing them to deal more damage to armored enemies.
This concludes our Shadow of the Tomb Raider Challenge Tombs Guide. If you want to add anything to this guide, feel free to use the comments section below.