Gruta do Maquiné

Maquine Cave

Useful Information

Location: Lagoa Santa, state of Minas Gerais. 3 hours drive from Belo Horizonte. (19° 7'29.81"S, 44°21'11.65"W)
Open: daily 8-17
Fee: Adults R$5.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=650m, VR=18m.
Guided tours: L=440m. V=47,000/a[2000]
Bibliography: Reinhardt, J. (1888): De brazilianske Knoglehuler og de i dem forekommende Dyrelevninger, [The Brazilian bone caves and the animal remains found there]. E Museo Lundii 1: 1-56. (Danish)
Degerbøl, M. (1945): P. W. Lund og hans Udforskning af Braziliens forhistoriske Dyreverden, [P.W.L. and his investigation of Brazil's prehistoric animal world]. Dyr i Natur og Museum, Aarbog for Universitets Zoologiske Museum, pp. 111-134. (Danish)
Hatting, T. (1980): Peter Wilhelm Lund, Naturens Verden 1980: 179-196. (Danish)
Address: Gruta do Maquiné, Tel: (31) 715 1078.
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.


1825 discovered by Joaquim Maria do Maquiné.
1834 explored by Peter Wilhelm Lund.


Gruta do Maquiné was discovered by Joaquim Maria do Maquiné in 1825. The cave was named after him. But it was first explored by the Danish zoologist Peter Wilhelm Lund in 1834. His discoveries made the cave famous.

Peter Wilhelm Lund (Copenhagen l801-1880) had settled in Lagoa Santa for health reasons when he heard about the cave. He excavated numerous bones, which are today on display in the Zoological Museum at the University of Copenhagen. Some of the bones were described by himself. Unidentified drawers illustrated his discoveries. At the end of the 1840s the bones, the descriptions and drawings were sent to the Zoological Museum and investigation was continued there.

Lund discovered bones of Pre-Historical man named the Homem da Lagoa Santa (Lagoa Santa man).

This is a very large dead-end cave with an entrance high on a hillside. The cave contains large stalagmite deposits and extensive rimstone dams, which are now inactive and have been extensively, modified by condensation corrosion. The terminal chamber is enormous. There are ceiling pockets and pits in the ceiling, suggesting a phreatic origin, but there is no clear evidence as to exactly how this cave formed. A souvenir shop, paths and lighting are installed.

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