Cueva de los Guácharos del Rio Claro

Useful Information

Location: Reserva Natural Cañon del Rio Claro (El Refugio), Autopista Medellín-Bogotá #Km 154, San Francisco, Antioquia.
(5.887323, -74.849823)
Open: Only after appointment.
Fee: Adults COP 30,000.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: D=3 h, L=400 m, MinAge=12.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Reserva Natural Cañon del Rio Claro, Autopista Medellín-Bogotá #Km 154, San Francisco, Antioquia, Tel: +57-311-3540119.
Reservation Office in Medellín, Tel: +574-322-96-41, Tel: +574-311-354-0119. E-mail:
Río Claro Reception, Tel: +574-321-775-02-09.
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.



Cueva de los Guácharos (Oilbirds’ Cavern) is one of numerous caves of that name. Oilbirds or Guácharos (Steatornis caripensis) are quite common in the northern part of South America, in Venezuela and Colombia. So we decided to use the name Cueva de los Guácharos del Rio Claro for this one. It is located at the Rio Claro, actually it is the resurgence of a tributary of the Rio Claro. The cave is not developed and and visited on cave trekking tours. The Reserva Natural Cañon Del Río Claro along the river on the other side is very well developed. There is a Visitor Center and a hotel at the Autopista Medellín-Bogotá #Km 154. The Río Claro Antioquia Rafting y Aventura offers hiking, rafting, zip-lining, via ferrata, and spelunking tours.

The Río Claro Canyon is cut into the marble and shows numerous erosional forms, but also rather strange forms which are a result of the layers in the rock and the cracks cause by folding. The rocks are reef limestones which were later transformed into marble by metamorphosis. The marble was folded by the Palestine Fault-System and shows many unusual fractures and folds. The marble is karstified and so there are several caves in the park. The first is only 15 minutes down the trail and named Templo del Tiempo (Temple of Time). The small cave is easy to visit and maybe visited sekf guided.

The Cueva de los Guácharos is the most famous cave in the park and visited on cave trekking tours. The tours are real caving tours and require physical fitness, there is some climbing and walking in the cave river. Participants get helmet and vest. Participants must bring headlamps and additional lamp, closed shoes or gum boots, and comfortable clothes, preferably fleece which keeps warm even if it is wet. It is necessary to book the trip in advance.