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Pencaligue Cave

Near Atima, department of Santa Bárbara. In Nahual it means “Stone House”, the first cavern into which the San José River flows. The mountain literally swallows the mighty river using the immense cave as its mouth, whose gorge leads it underground to the municipality of San Luis.

With the appropriate lanterns, visitors will be able to appreciate the bright stalactites that hang from the ceiling of the cavern; Its dimensions are impressive and when entering it a fear of the unknown arises. Strange noises make you hold your breath. They are the hundreds of bats that inhabit its interior that wake up nervous before the lights of the lanterns.

Although its appearance is frightening, it is a harmless species, whose habitat we have invaded during its hours of sleep since during the day they sleep. To date, this Cave has only been covered in its entirety by an expedition of Canadians who two years ago set up their tents on the river bank and in three days they managed to cross it, using all the necessary equipment. Some settlers suppose that these Canadians looted the caves, but they assure that inside they are not archaeological vestiges of any kind. The only richness that the visitor can find are the beautiful rock formations that drops of water have forged over hundreds of years.

The feat of these explorers was only rewarded with the spectacular photographs they made of the interior of the cave. The second Cave is located in a higher part of the mountain, and higher up the third Cave awaits with many cavities to explore. It is appreciated with suitable lanterns, the bright stalactites that hang from the ceiling that arise from its cave floor and the stalagmites.

Tourists will also enjoy many pools that are found along the river, but it is recommended not to do so in those near the Cave since in this part of the channel the waters are very plentiful and can be dragged into the interior, by which represents a great danger. The caves can be explored to some extent by walking along rocky paths that have formed naturally in the cavern walls. Going further will require special equipment, such as ropes and harnesses.

It is not recommended that people enter alone, since the heights from which they walk are very considerable and a fall would be fatal. Ideally, they should walk secured with ropes attached to the stone walls. In addition to the river cavern, two more main caves are located in the mountain, going up the Sierra it has truly impressive dimensions and with innumerable cavities to explore.


It is said that in a certain part of the Cave there is a clearing where the most daring can find many fruit trees and eat nacatamales that they can extract already prepared from the walls. They warn that these foods can only be eaten locally, since when leaving the Cave, the fruits turn into stone and the tamales into sand.