Gruta do Bacaetava


Useful Information

Location: On PR-417 between Serrinha and the limestone quarries.
(-25.231831, -49.206713)
Open: All year Wed-Fri 8:30-11:30, 13-16:30, Sat, Sun 8:30-16:30.
Last tour 30 minutes before closing.
[2020]
Fee: free.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=40min, L=420m, Max=20.
V=23,000/a [2014]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: L. F. Silva Da Rocha, C. Genthner, L. Rabelo (2001): Mapeamento Topográfico e Geoespeleológico da Gruta do Bacaetava, Colombo -PR/Brasil 13th International Congress of Speleology, 4th Speleological Congress of Latin América and Caribbean, 26th Brazilian Congress of Speleology, Brasília DF, 15-22 de julho de 2001
Address: Gruta do Bacaetava, R. Antônio Gasparin, s/n - Bacaetava, Colombo - PR, Tel: +55-41-3656-5669, Tel: +55-41-3656-6600.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

18?? discovered by the Italian immigrant Antonio Gasparin.
1889 first written mention of the cave on occasion of the visit of Olympio de Sá, a former resident of the region.
1965 first survey published by PA Martin and CM Castro.
1976 new survey and discovery of "Bacaita II", an upper fossil gallery by Collet et al.
1994 the Grupo de Estudos Espeleológicos do Paraná (GEEP) discovered the connection between the two caves.
2000 bought by the municipality and transformed into the Parque Natural Municipal Gruta do Bacaetava.
2000 resurvey for the Management Plan and the development as a show cave by the GEEP.
13-MAY-2000 Parque Municipal Gruta do Bacaetava inaugurated.
MAY-2015 trails and infrastructure refurbished for 15th anniversary.

Description

The Gruta do Bacaetava (Bacaetava Cave) is located at the Parque Municipal Gruta do Bacaetava. As you probably mentioned, it is owned and operated by the municipality Colombo. The cave is a river cave and is entered through the resurgence of the cave river. The trail along the river is sometimes only a dirt path because it is flooded regularly. Some bridges across the cave river are removable, so they can be removed before the flood.

The small park is well equipped with visitor center, video room, environmental education room, bathrooms, a religious cave, as well as a recreational space with kiosks and barbecue grills. Especially the so-called religious cave, a small shrine resembling the Lourdes grotto, is pretty impressive.

The guided tours start at the Visitor Center, groups of up to 20 people first see an introductory video, the every participant gets a torch and the walk to the cave starts. The tour includes a 140m walk to the cave and 170m inside the cave, then the tour returns the same way. The cave is entered upstream and the trail follows the main river passage. The rest of the cave and the fossil upper layer are not developed.

The area has many immigrants from Italy, which came to Brazil in the 19th century. The cave was actually discovered by such an Italian immigrant, Antonio Gasparin, who owned the land. He told frieds about the cave and soon it became quite popular. We are not sure how the discoverer named the cave, but today's name is not Italian, its the Tupi-Guarani word for “pierced stone house”. It is pronounced Bacaitava. During World War II Brazil declared war on faschist Italy and the Italians in the country were being persecuted. They used the cave as a hiding place. Brazilians also hid in the cave, they fled the Brazilian army to avoid being recruited for the war.

After the war Antonio Gasparin donated the land to the Mother Church of Colombo, probably an explanation for the Lourdes grotto. So it became the property of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia in Colombo. But the undeveloped cave suffered serious degradation due to more than a century of unsupervised visitation. Finally in 2000 the city of Colombo bought the cave from the church and created the Municipal Park Gruta do Bacaetava. They resurveyed the cave, wrote a management plan, and developed the cave with trails and infrastructure. The site is now part of the Circuito italiano de turismo rural (Italian Rural Tourism Circuit) of sites with a connection to the Italian immigrants.