Cueva Pintada

Painted Cave

Useful Information

Guanche living in the cueva pintada. This is not the real cave but the model in the Museo Canario in Las Palmas.
The artist at work: a Guanche drawing the exceptional geometric patterns. This is not the real cave but the model in the Museo Canario in Las Palmas.
Location: C/Audiencia n° 2, 35460 Gáldar.
In Galdar, Gran Canaria, Canarias. Located at the GC-810, the old national road through the town, south of the center and the tourist information. Signposted.
(28.143523, -15.655024)
Open: OCT to MAY Tue-Sat 10-18, Sun, Hol 11-18.
JUN to SEP Tue-Sat 10:30-19:30, Sun, Hol 11-19.
Closed 01-JAN, 05-JAN, 06-JAN, 01-MAY, 24-DEC, 25-DEC, 31-DEC.
Fee: Adults EUR 6, Children (0-17) free, Students (18-23) EUR 3, Seniors (65+) EUR 3, Unemployed EUR 3.
Groups (14+), Adults EUR 4.
Classification: SubterraneaCave House ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: Ar=5,000 m². Español - Spanish English V=54,190/a [2015]
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography: René Verneau (1883): Las pintaderas de Gran Canaria Madrid: Imprenta de Fortanet, 1883. Español - Spanish
Alfredo Mederos Martin, Gabriel Escribano Cobo (2002): Los Aborígenes y la Prehistoria de Canarias, [The Aborigines and the Prehistory of the Canary Islands].. La Laguna. 182 p. ISBN-84-7926-382-2. Español - Spanish pdf
Address: Parque Arqueologico Cueva Pintada, C/Audiencia n° 2, 35460 Gáldar, Tel: +34-928-895746, Fax: +34-928-55240. E-mail:
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.


1862 discovered by a farmer, some say while looking for a goat, some say while preparing the land for planting.
1873 visited by José Ramos Orihuela.
1876 discovery mentioned by doctor, anthropologist and historian Gregorio Chil y Naranjo from the Museo Canario in his Estudios historicos, climatologicos y patológicos de las Islas Canarias, for which he was excommunicated.
1882 Diego Ripoche Torrens visits the cave, makes drawings, notes the presence of mummies, pots and other utensils.
1884 visited by the British female writer Olivia Stone who made some drawings, wrote about it and suggested that the local government should acquire the site and take proper care of it.
1887 very detailed cave description by the French anthropologist René Verneau.
1967 press campaign started in favour of the restoration of the place.
1970 restoration started by the Comisaría General de Excavaciones Arqueológicas (General Delegation of Archaeological Excavations).
25-MAY-1972 the cave was declared a Historic Artistic Monument, opened to the public.
1974 first scientific work about the cave published.
1982 cave closed to the public to protect the paintings.
1987 excavation started by Celso Martín de Guzmán and Jorge Onrubia Pintado.
1988 Cueva Pintada Archaeological Park project started.
19-NOV-1990 Property of Cultural Interest.
26-JUL-2006 cave reopened, new museum inaugurated.


Cueva Pintada is a small cave with geometric paintings from the Guanche, which is unique on the island. It is located in the small town Gáldar, which was the seat of Gran Canaria's ancient rulers at the time of conquest in 1478. The Spanish city was built on top of the aboriginal settlement and the cave was lost.

The cave has several rooms which were used as cave houses by the Guanche. They dug the rooms with stone age tools out of the soft volcanic tufa. Several walls were built from basalt or tufa blocks without mortar. Bed and seat were also carved out of the soft rock.

In the caves mummies, tools and pottery were found. But the most famous finds were the drawings, that gave the cave its name. These drawings are bleaching by the light, so the cave was closed several years ago. Another problem is irrigation water, oozing though the volcanic ash rock of the cave, is raising the humidity and destroys the paint.

The paintings are red, black, and white squares, spirals, and triangles. The meaning of the paintings is not clear, some imagine symbols of female fertility, or the expression of religious beliefs. But maybe they are just simply for decoration.

The whole site, the cave and the ruins of the surrounding village, were restored during the last years. The paintings were covered by a special glass to protect them. A new museum was created, which shows the findings and - as a part of the visit - the view into the cave. However, it is not possible to enter the cave, just a look through the protecting glass is possible. There are computers in the museum which allow a virtual cave visit, and there is a new website which also allows a virtual visit. However, the information provided is not very good and the virtual visit is a computer animated mpeg file, obviously generated by the architect of the new museum building. Hopefully this will change soon, now the museum is opened.
Our description from 2007.

The site was open to the public for many years without special protection for the paintings. The result was the same as always, the paintings were damaged by too much visitation. As a result the site was closed for several years, again typical for painted caves. And as always, that's not a solution. However, instead of creating a replica nearby, they actually reopened the cave, which is quite exceptional. Massive protection measures were made, and to reduce the number of visitors a 3D virtual tour was created. The first was still a bit strange, but the idea was good. Probably technology was just not accessible in 2005, as it is today. Today there is a very good 3D tour, and the real site is visited by 50,000 people every year, which makes it the most visited site on the Canarian Islands. The site is very professional and successful in protecting the cave, it has received numerous awards during the last years for a reason.