La Cueva del Gigante

Useful Information

Location: La Estanzuela,
From Marcala north on CA11A, turn left to waterfall La Estanzuela. 700 m walk from the waterfall.
(14.228098, -88.057318)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: Adults HNL 20.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: La Cueva del Gigante, Matasano, Tel: +504-.
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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1994 discovered by archaeologist George Hasemann, head of the Archeology Section of the Institute of Anthropology and History (IHAH) and first excavation.
1998 excavated by Timothy Scheffler, Department of Archeology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Alejandro Figueroa, Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History of Honduras. (IHAH).


La Cueva del Gigante (The Giant’s Cave) is a huge shelter in volcanic rock. The cave was used as a shelter from the archaic period (10,000–4,000 BC) until the formative period (1760–220 AD). The oldest dating of 9480 BC is the first record of the presence of humans in Honduras. The first visitors were groups of hunter-gatherers who very slowly developed into a primitive pre-agricultural culture. It seems there were not that many animals for hunting, probably deer, but they collected food from plum, maguey, avocado, beans and fruit trees. They also fed on armadillo, crabs and freshwater turtles. Later the domestication of corn became the base food. The cave is notable for a large number of baskets, ropes, and textile fibers which normally decay and are rarely found in archaeological excavations. Most of these objects are in the natural history museum of the city of Comayagua.

And the cave has cave paintings, for example a hand and a goose or a swan. The swan is exceptional but probably just depicting prey. The large number of migratory birds which fly through Honduras at certain times of the year, were probably an excellent food source for them. Other nearby shelters also show paintings.

The IHAH is currently trying to get the site listen on the UNESCO WHL. The municipality of Marcala tries to develop tourism projects in the area and plans to open the cave to tourists. Currently, there is a staircase up to a cement lookout in front of the cave, but it is not possible to enter the cave.

The cave is located north of Marcal close to the popular waterfall La Estanzuela.