Montelimar Cave

Useful Information

Location: Montelimar, Department of Managua. 60 km from the capital at the Pacific coast.
Open: no restrictions [2007]
Fee: free [2007]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
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.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Montelimar is a famous tourist destination at the Pacific Ocean side of Nicaragua. The place offers various hotels and resorts, and a good infrastructre with paved roads, electricity, telefone, and internet access. It is one of three such regions which were developed by the Nicaraguan government, in order to draw more tourism into the country. They even offered English courses for the locals to allow them to talk to foreign visitors.

Montelimar Cave is a rather small cave, a sort of overhanging cliff forming a shelter. Ten meters wide and two meters high, it is only three meters deep. It is a typical erosional cave formed by a river. The nearby river, only 35 m away, eroded the foot of the cliff some time ago, when it was much nearer and the valley floor at the level of the cave. The result is always similar, a long but shallow shelter.

Providig shelter for its visitors, the cave also protected petroglyphs, which can be found along the back wall and ceiling. There are engravings, which are also painted. They are of a really rare kind, as they were drawn with red and blue pigments. Typical are black, brown and red, pigments which are common in nature. Blue is extraordinary. Two other sites with engravings lack the colouring.

Unfortunately the cave is heavily damaged and in danger of complete destruction. The cave is not closed and so there are unrestricted visits, which unfortunately often result in vandalism. Another thread is the limestone quarrying nearby for cement production. The vibrations of the heavy machinery only 100 meters away slowly destroys the rock surface and the petroglyphs. And finally there is also a natural force destroying the cave paintings, water seeping through the ceiling is causing the colour to flake off.