The Caves of Saint Ignacio

Encantada Cave - Los Picachos Cave - La Cueva Nueva

Useful Information

Location: Guanajuato city, Cerro La Bufa.
Open: no restrictions
Fee: free
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Dimension: n/a
Guided tours:
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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The Caves of Saint Ignacio are three small natural caves. All those caves are connected with Saint Ignacio. On 31-JUL every year the city of Guanajuato has a fiesta called fiesta de La Cueva or San Ignacio fiesta - some just call it Día de la Cueva (cave day). On this day, the birthday of the Saint, the people have fiesta all day, from midnight to midnight. They go to La Cueva Nueva for a mass dedicated to San Ignacio.

Originally the fiesta took place in Cueva Encantada (Enchanted Cave), but this cave was too far away. So it was held for some years at Cueva Los Picachos, but this cave is also not used any more. Today the mass is held at La Cueva Nueva (New Cave) which is located at the summit of the mountain Cerro de La Bufa. It is located at the southern rim of the city. The easiest way to reach the cave is from the Boulevard Diego Rivera, which conects two parts of the city by crossing the hills inbetween. There is a parking lot where the trail to the summit starts. To reach the cave first go to the summit from where a trail leads down to the cave.

There is a local legend about this cave which goes like this: In 1946 a local named Juvencio went on the hill Los Picachos to graze his goats and cows. One of the cow was entereing a cave, followed by the rest of the herd, so Juvencio followed. He found a green landscape on the other side, with grass and many different kinds of trees, a rather strage sight in this semiarid part of Mexico. He allowed his herd to graze for some time, then he tried to return through the cave, but could not find the entrance. When the sun fell, he stopped his search and slept beneath a tree. The other morning he tried again to find the exit, and this time he was able to find it and return home. But when he met the first people he soon realized that he had spent many years on the other side of the cave.

Another legend tells about a virgin which entered the cave and was turned into rock. The only way hw this spell might be broken, is if a boy will carry the rock to the basilica without looking back. Because if he looks back while carrying the rock he will see neither a rock nor a virgin, but a poisonous snake.

There are several other legends, most of them collected by Homero Adame M. in his books Leyendas de México and Don Evaristo, el contador de historias.