Cueva del Santo Hermano Pedro

Useful Information

Cueva del Santo Hermano Pedro, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Public Domain.
Location: Motorway TF-1 to the airport, exit San Isidro/El Médano, south to El Médano. After 250 m at the gas station turn right, after 2.2 km turn right. Signposted.
(28.051159, -16.553176)
Open: All year daily 8-12, 14-18.
Fee: free, donations welcome.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church,
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided, D=15 min. V=300,000/a [2019]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Cueva del Santo Hermano Pedro TF-643, 38618, Granadilla de Abona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tel: +34-
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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21-MAR-1626 Santo Hermano Pedro born in Vilaflor, Tenerife.
25-APR-1667 Santo Hermano Pedro dies in Antigua, Guatemala.
22-JUN-1980 Santo Hermano Pedro beatified.
1999 listed as a site of cultural interest by the Government of the Canary Islands.
30-JUL-2002 Santo Hermano Pedro canonized by Pope John Paul II.


The Cueva del Santo Hermano Pedro (Cave of Santo Hermano Pedro) is a cave church dedicated to the most important Saint of the Canary Islands. Pedro de San José de Betancur y Gonzáles (Saint Joseph de Betancury y Gonzáles) is lcoally called Hermano Pedro de San José Betancurt (Brother Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur). Other versions of his name are Peter de Betancurt, Hermano Pedro (Brother Peter), Santo Hermano Pedro (Saint Brother Peter), or San Pedro de Vilaflor (Saint Peter of Vilaflor). The Spanish Saint was a missionary in Guatemala and is the first saint native to the Canary Islands, hence he is quite popular here. He is also considered the first saint of Guatemala and Central America for having done his missionary work in those American countries. It was how Pope John Paul II dubbed him in the homily he read in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. He was also the founder of the Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem.

The Saint was born in the village Vilaflor, which is located 15 km inland on the slopes of Mt Teide, right below the rim of the caldera. As a small child, he worked as a shepherd herding the small flock, which was only source of income for the family. When he had time he went praying in a small cave in the arid region near the present-day town of El Médano. He used the cave as a refuge with his cattle during the winter, as a place of prayer and even as a hiding place to shelter from a pirate raid. His father failed to repay a debt and so the moneylender seized the estate, and he was obliged to serve the moneylender in return for the money he was still entitled to. When he was freed from his period of servitude at age 23, he decided to follow his brother who had migrated to Spain's colonies in the New World. He set sail for Guatemala, from the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

A small cave located at the eastern end of the runway of Aeropuerto Reina Sofia, the airport of Tenerife, is a cave church dedicated to the saint. It is a very popular pilgrimage site, and attracts over 300.000 visitors per year. The Camino del Hermano Pedro, a pastoral route that the Saint traveled to move with his flock along the Chasna region, starts at his birthplace in Vilaflor and ends at the cave. Hundreds of pilgrims travel this route during the festival of the Saint in April. Inside the cave is a wooden statue of Betancourt. A section of the cave is completely surrounded with votive offerings of the faithful to Betancourt. The cave also has a relic of the Saint, specifically a part of a rib.