The other day we went Treasure Hunting. That is easy when you live near a Treasure Cave!
Our Treasure Cave, La Cueva del Tesoro, is in Rincón de la Victoria right next to Malaga city. We go there every year, actually, but always when the weather is hot. (I won’t say in the summer, because it could be in October, and of course, technically, October isn’t summer – but the weather is still hot.)
This year my son, of the Wild Ideas of Hermenegildo fame, wanted to go there in the winter to see if it would be warm in the cave. You see, I had told him that Cave Homes, like the ones that Granada is famous for, are naturally conditioned and they are cool and fresh in the summer and warm and comforting in the winter, so you don’t need heaters or air conditioners if you live in a cave.
So we hopped on a bus for our annual pilgrimage to the Treasure Cave in Rincón de la Victoria. Whether you go there by bus or car, it’s easy to arrive – once you know the way. The problem is that the route isn’t mapped out or indicated with signposts anywhere (that I’ve seen).
Anyways, to get there, you take the big winding main road that passes through La Cala del Moral and Rincón de la Victoria, the coast road (not the autoroute). After La Cala del Moral this road will start winding its way up a large mountain, you will know it is the right place because it is very spirally and coils around a lot.
When you reach the top of this winding mountain road, at its highest point, that is the place to hop off the bus, if you are taking the bus in from Malaga. (Most buses that head eastwards out of Malaga will stop here for you.)
If you are taking the car, take advantage of the fact that you have a car and don’t hop out of it! Instead, veer to the left onto a road. I don’t know the name of the street, and there are no signs to indicate that it’s the right street. It’s just the street at the top of the winding mountain road where there is a traffic light (there aren’t any other traffic lights nearby). Very useful information, right?
When you get onto this street, just keep climbing and climbing and climbing…… and climbing. It’s great exercise for your legs, or for your car motor, if you come by car. You will come to a roundabout. Go around the roundabout and keep climbing.
Even when you arrive at the cave it is very easy to miss it. There is no sign or anything there to point out to you that you have arrived at a cave.
This is what the cave entrance looks like. As you can see, there is no way that you can tell that there is actually a cave somewhere in there!
The lighting was also pretty lousy, because it was, as usual, raining. A Cuban acquaintance once told me, “I dunno why they call this the Sun Coast. They oughtta call it the Always Cloudy Coast, or the Rainy Coast. Now Cuba, that’s a whole different story. In Cuba it is sunny all the time.”
However, one of the reasons I chose Malaga is because it does rain. If I had wanted perpetual sunshine, I would’ve headed off to Almería, which is a desert.
Anyways, the entrance fee is very cheap. And if your kids are members of the Club “La Banda” and have their membership card, entrance is free for them.
The only way to see the cave is with a guided tour. Guided tours are very frequent and run every half hour or so. Take care though, as they do close for lunch and the last tour in the wintertime is at 5 o’clock. (In the summer, I believe it is open an hour later. Which is good because at 5 o’clock in the summer you will die from sunstroke.)
Okay, well I’m not going to wax informational and spit out information that you can read on any website or tourism pamphlet about these caves. I’ll just mention a few bare facts.
This cave is special because it was an underwater cave, and it was formed entirely from the erosion of seawater on the rocks. After the seawater withdrew and the level of the sea went down, this cave emerged. There are only three underwater caves in the world (that is, caves that used to be underwater and are now above ground) and this is the only one in Europe.
It got its name because of the legend that this Roman guy hid away in it for eight months escaping from his enemies, and left an enormous treasure behind inside this cave. Many people have gone a-searching for this treasure, but they’ve all left their fortunes, energies and the health of their backs in the process (I mean, after all, excavating isn’t supposed to be exactly the most beneficial exercise for your back, right? If you want to strengthen your back, I would recommend you take yoga classes rather than spending all your time digging in a cave), without any luck.
The first cavern you will enter is called the Eagle Cave (la Sala del Águila). This is because of this rock formation which looks like an eagle’s back and head. (Sometimes the photos didn’t come out too well because we couldn’t use flash.)
The next cavern is the Cave of Noctiluca. Noctiluca is the goddess of the night, the full moon and fertility. In prehistoric times, people made offerings of the sacrifices of small animals to her. They slaughtered the animals and dribbled the animals’ blood into a basin below her “statue” (in reality, a natural rock formation).
In case you can’t distinguish her silhouette too well, here it is in outline. (At least that’s the way I see it. You know, these things are like constellations, you have to throw in a lot of imagination to see what people say they see.) The large round hole above her head is supposed to represent the full moon.
These are some crystals glistening in the cave walls.
This is the Cave of the Three Lagoons, because it has three natural lagoons in it. (The photo isn’t very clear because these guided tours run around as if they were some sort of marathon instead of a touristic stroll. I usually like to take several shots of everything and then choose the best shot, but in this case, they wouldn’t let me, because they were all galloping about as if the cave were about to crash down upon us or something.)
This is a cave which is still in the process of erosion, because rainwater continues to seep into it and form little streams and, of course, these lagoons.
I had the pleasure of translating the tourism pamphlets for the City of Rincon de la Victoria, and if you go to the Tourism Office in that town, you can read my translations in English. They also offer a free audio guide in English that you can download to your iPhone or SmartPhone and if you do that, you can listen to me, since I did the English recordings.
However, apparently Management at the Treasure Cave didn’t take advantage of my services and had their information panels translated by someone who was obviously not a native English speaker. The result is that you can read such strange headlines such as “The Geological Training of the Caves” instead of “The Geological Formation of the Caves” (La Formación de las Cuevas).
(Oh that is so not nice of me to laugh at someone else’s bad work, isn’t it?)
This is one of the many openings that the cave has into the ground above.
The Cave of the Three Lagoons is the last cavern to be visited in the guided tour, which is fairly short.
And as to the answer to my son’s question, as to whether caves are warm in the winter? Well, we still had to keep our jackets on during the frenzied relay race er, I meant, guided tour. The only area where it was warm enough to walk around in T-shirts was in the deepest cavern (not shown in this post), the Volcano Cave.
Well, just had to end this post with an outdoors pic, instead of yet another dark, lugubrious, underground photo. This is the coastline at Rincon de la Victoria.
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