Perú - About the Country

Peru holds several superlatives with its caves. However, this kind of statistics may change rather fast when new discoveries are made. It seems Sima Pumacocha with a depth of -638 m is South America's deepest cave. Millpu de Kaukiran, also known as Sima de Millpu, Sima de Racas Marca, Grutas de Guagapo or Gruta que Llora, is -407 m deep and second in Peru and third deepest of South America. The shaft SP1 in Sima Pumacocha is 282 m deep, which makes it deepest shaft in the Andes and second deepest in South America.

Peru has also the world's highest surveyed caves. Qaqa Mach'ay, 125 m deep, lies at 4,930 m asl, Cueva Puyo at 4,585 m asl, Tragadero Puyo at 4,570 m asl, and Sima Pumacocha at 4,375 m asl. As always, this list is preliminary and also result of the interpretation of existing information. However, it is impressive, how many caves in Peru are amongst the highest caves of the world.


Peru is the third largest country in South America, lies entirely within the tropics, and has three major regions:

  1. A narrow coastal belt, which is mainly desert.
  2. The wide Andes mountains area, which contains most of the caves, which is up to 6000 m high.
  3. The Amazon rain forest.


Caves in Peru were first made famous by the visit of the great German explorer, Baron Alexander von Humboldt in 1802 and later by Raimondi in 1868. In 1932 Cesar Garcia Rosell visited many caves and in 1965 published Cavernas, grutas y cuevas del Peru. The most significant finds have been made by the London based Imperial College Karst Research Expedition in 1972.