It’s no secret that Mexico has many destinations that fascinate tourists, and the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is a good example.
This National Park is located in the southern part of the Sierra Madre, between the municipalities of Pilcaya and Taxco, in the north of the State of Guerrero, near the town of Cacahuamilpa.
With almost 1600 hectares, this site was declared a Protected Area in 1936 by decree of former President Lázaro Cárdenas.
The main attraction of the caves is the number of rock formations that have adopted curious shapes, along with a gallery of 19 illuminated halls for the enjoyment and comfort of the visitors.
How to get to the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa Caves
If you are driving from Mexico City, you have three options to go to the caves: via Cuernavaca, Toluca, or Chilpancingo.
The first is the shortest. The Toluca route makes it possible to reach the national park via Ixtapan de la Sal and the Chilpancingo route via Taxco.
Depending on the route chosen, the trip can be between 150 and 260 km.
The shortest route from Mexico City to the caves is by road to Cuernavaca and then to the national park, approximately 145 km.
The Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park climate is very pleasant, with an average annual temperature of 20 °C (71 °F).
The hottest months are May-August, with 28 °C, while the coldest period is December – January, with a 17 °C average temperature.
The rainy season is between June and September. For the rest of the year, rainfall is scarce.
Things to do in Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa
The main attractions are the caves, where you can admire the stalactites and stalagmites that have acquired whimsical shapes.
A fun activity is to kayak down the rapids of the Amacuzac River during the rainy season.
The rafting tour is 3 km long, ending in one of the national park caves that are not regularly open to the public, where the rock formations are shaped like melted candles.
This activity is organized by the adventure tourism operator Terra 3, based in Cuernavaca.
Other excellent occasions to visit Cacahuamilpa are in May during the Jornadas Alarconianas and November during the Silver Fair.
The caves have a cafeteria, souvenir store, restrooms, and parking lot.
These two events are held near the Magical Town of Taxco, and their program includes musical concerts in the caves.
Two celebrities who have sung at the Cacahuamilpa Caves are Miguel Bose and Andrea Bocelli.
What to see in the Cacahuamilpa Caves
The rock formations of the caves are distributed throughout the 19 halls that make up the grand gallery.
The multicolored illumination of the halls creates impressive effects on the rock structures.
The halls are illuminated and have been identified according to the colloquial names given to the striking silhouettes of the rock formations among them.
The names of the halls are: El Pórtico, Los Enamorados, Aurora, Los Tronos, El Panteón, Plaza de Armas, El Volcán, Pedregal del Muerto, Trompa de Elefante, La Botella de Champán and La Gloria y El Infierno.
The halls have widths of over 42 m and heights exceeding 20 m. A landslide blocked part of the gallery, which according to a local legend, its total length is several kilometers.
The cavern was formed by an old subway riverbed of the San Jeronimo River, a subsoil current flowing about 100 meters below the cave.
Lodging in Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa
The best hotels near the caves are located in the Magical Town of Taxco de Alarcón in Guerrero.
- Hotel Santa Paula, located at Lucia Alcocer de Figueroa, Huajojutla, has a beautiful colonial style in harmony with Taxco’s architecture. It has a spa room and free Wi-Fi
- De Cantera y Plata Hotel Boutique is Taxco’s most exclusive accommodation, with fantastic, beautifully decorated rooms, two restaurants, and a café-bar, spa, swimming pool, golf course (9 holes), tennis courts, and cable car
- William Hotel: this beautiful property is adapted in one of downtown Taxco’s old houses. It is highly praised for its fine and rustic accommodations and amenities
Where to eat
There are food stands on the outskirts of the caves to enjoy various dishes and typical Mexican cuisine.
There is an area with grills if you prefer to prepare something yourself.
Like the hotels, the best restaurants near the caves are also in Taxco.
El Taxqueño restaurant is located in the Hotel Montetaxco and serves the best Mexican food in an incomparable atmosphere.
The restaurant Punto 925 is located in the boutique hotel De Cantera y Plata, a cozy gastronomic space with contemporary Mexican and international cuisine.
They have the best wines in Mexico, and their cocktails are first-class.
If you want to eat something less pricey and traditional, you should go to Cocina Económica IME, on Avenida de Los Plateros 119.
Its menu is read on a blackboard, and everyone leaves satisfied with its seasoning and generous portions.
The food is homemade, the tortillas are fresh, and there are magnificent views of the Pueblo Magico from the top floor.
Toni’s Restaurante, Pozolería Tía Calla, Cocina Económica Tia Male, and El Toque Romero are also good places to eat well at reasonable prices in Taxco.
Guide to Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa
The caves are open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee is 100 pesos for approximately 4 km (two outbound and two returns), which takes about two hours.
Senior citizens pay 20 pesos. The tours are guided and done in groups of 20 people.
The main handicrafts made in Pilcaya and the town of Cacahuamilpa are printed jute rugs and bouquets of dried flowers.
A greater variety of handcrafted products is available in Taxco, especially the nice jewelry of its goldsmiths and silversmiths.
About Taxco Guerrero
Taxco was an essential center of silver production in Mexico, and from that exploitation, the experience in the work of the metal remains.
The silversmiths of Taxco are world-renowned, and in the Magical Town, they make a significant amount of jewelry, ornaments, and silver objects.
Taxco hosts the Tianguis de la Plata on Saturdays, a street market where artisans exhibit their silver products in the open air.
During the last week of November, the National Silver Fair is held.
Taxco’s artisans also work with clay, natural fibers, leather, and wood, molding and making beautiful souvenirs.
What Environmental Activities are there in the Cacahuamilpa Caves?
Speleology or cave research is one of the main activities in the caves.
The national park has a Botanical Garden dedicated to the flora of this region of Guerrero, which can be visited every day of the year for a small fee.
The park’s flora is lowland jungle or tropical forest, and among the most representative species are copales, cuajiotes, pochotes, cazahuates, Palos de Brasil, and amates.
The fauna has been counted in 195 species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Some animals in the national park are rattlesnakes, cacomiztles, badgers, raccoons, iguanas, vultures, ocelots, lynxes, and pumas.
Camping at Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa
The park has a camping area that can be used 365 days a year. The price is 60 pesos per person per day.
Apart from rafting on the Amacuzac River in the rainy season, you can do rappelling, climbing, pendulum, zip line, subway river tours, and mountain biking in the national park.
The above-mentioned tour operator Terra 3, based at Jupiter street, Bello Horizonte, Cuernavaca, organizes extreme sports tours of the caves and other sites of interest.
Terra 3’s packages include canyoning, caving, rafting, hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, and other entertainment.
When were the Caves discovered?
The caves were discovered in 1827, and the first expeditions took place in 1834-1850.
During the second half of the 19th and 20th centuries, the caves awakened scientific, journalistic, and tourist interest.
After the Mexican Revolution, interest in the site grew, and in 1936 it became a national park.
During the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, scientific work intensified to establish the geological characteristics and origin of the caves.
The cavern rocks are limestone of marine origin with an estimated age of eighty-five million years.
It is believed that the cavity was opened by a subway current of the San Jeronimo River that circulated through that elevation long ago.
The stalactitic and stalagmitic concretions and other rock formations of the caves reached their unique shapes through the millenary deposition of mineral salts in the waters.
Who discovered the Cacahuamilpa Caves?
The historical account tells that in 1827, Manuel Sainz de la Peña and Juan Puyadi, two neighbors of the Morelos town of Tetacala, had a quarrel in which the latter was injured.
A chase began against Sainz de la Peña, and he disappeared, hiding in the caves, indicating that the place’s entrance was already known, at least by some locals.
After some time had passed, the fugitive came out of hiding and related his experience to the young priest Mucio Valdovinos, describing the marvelous natural forms he had seen in the caverns.
Father Valdovinos would become a writer and one of the Mexican Academy of Language founders, so Manuel Sainz de la Peña’s story could not have fallen on better ears.
Sainz de la Peña made known the caves’ entrance, and the explorations inside them began in 1834.
During pre-Hispanic times, the caves were occupied by indigenous groups who used them for religious rites to worship their gods.
The Olmecs used the caves and later by their descendants, the Chontales, an ethnic Mayan people who had already begun their decline by the time the Spanish arrived.