Gruta da Lapinha

Gruta Lapinha - Laphina Cave

Useful Information

Location: Lagoa Santa.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=511m, VR=40m.
Guided tours: V=36,000/a[2000]
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.



Laphina Cave is the first cave, the Danish scientist Peter Wilhelm Lund discovered at Lagoa Santa, the place were he lived from 1835 to his death in 1880. When he discovered the cave, he declared: "Never have my eyes seen anything as beautiful in the domains of Nature or of Art". He explored the cave and found numerous minerals and bones, which he sent to King Christian VIII of Denmark. Today they are on display in the Zoological Museum at the University of Copenhagen.

The most important find was the skull of the Homem da Lagoa Santa (Lagoa Santa Man), who lived in this region 10,000 years ago. Other bones in the cave were identified to be from sabre-tooth tigers and the giant armadillo. Unidentified drawers illustrated his discoveries.

Lapinha cave has 16 subsequent chambers, many with beautiful speleothems.

Laphina Cave is a network cave developed in limestone (marble) with a horizontal cleavage. The show cave is "self-guided" with flagstone paths and bench seats made from slate at strategic places. The cave is a network of high fault and joint-guided rifts of varying widths, some up to 20 m+ high. The cave is very dry and quite dusty in places.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.