The Treasure Cave / La Cueva del Tesoro

La versíon en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I MENTIONED IN YESTERDAY’S POST that San Geraldo and I were off for a great adventure. These days, anything can qualify as a great adventure. Two weeks ago, we went to the outlet mall and that excitement kept us going for several days. Although yesterday’s adventure was just a 35-minute drive from home, it was a major trip.

We visited Cueva del Tesoro (Treasure Cave) in Rincon de La Victoria, a municipality of about 50,000 people. Cave paintings date back to the Upper Paleolithic era and relics have been found of the Neolithic period (burials, pottery), as well as Phoenecian and Moorish remains. The finds are all housed in Madrid’s Museum of Archaeology.

At times in history, the caves were submerged under the Mediterranean Sea, but now they’re high and mostly dry (except for stunning subterranean fresh water lakes), about one km from the coast. There’s even thought to be treasure hidden somewhere within, gold that is said to have been left behind in the 12th century by either five Moorish kings or by the Emperor of the Almoravids, Tasufin Ibn Ali. In the 13th century, some precious stones were found.

Plutarch wrote in the 2nd century of Marco Craso who is said to have remained in hiding inside the caves for several months in 86 BCE during the first civil war of Rome. There’s even a Phoenician sanctuary of the goddess, Noctiluca, along with an altar that still contained the ashes of animals when it was discovered in the 20th century. I hope I haven’t bored you with too much history, but I found it all so fascinating.

Across the street, we were told, is an excellent restaurant with a rooftop terrace providing spectacular views. And the town has a Paseo lined with great seafood restaurants and other historic sights. The weather was damp and a bit chilly (it ended up raining), so we couldn’t eat outside and we weren’t comfortable mingling or sitting inside. So we instead went directly home for lunch, which was a bit of a letdown after the caves. Still, what an outing.

Although photography was permitted inside the caves, the use of flash was of course not. So my photos are not the best quality. But I think they give you a sense of the size and surfaces. We shared the space with less than 10 other visitors and about the same amount of staff (although a few of the visitors were, sadly, loud enough for a busload). I tried to include San Geraldo in some of the shots to provide a sense of scale — and also because I like him, a lot.


MENCIONÉ EN EL POST DE AYER que San Geraldo y yo íbamos a una gran aventura. En estos días, cualquier cosa puede considerarse una gran aventura. Hace dos semanas, fuimos al centro comercial outlet y esa emoción nos mantuvo activos durante varios días. Aunque la aventura de ayer estuvo a solo 35 minutos en automóvil desde casa, fue un viaje importante.

Visitamos la Cueva del Tesoro en Rincón de La Victoria, un municipio de unas 50.000 personas. Las pinturas rupestres datan del Paleolítico Superior y se han encontrado reliquias del Neolítico (entierros, alfarería), así como restos fenecios y moriscos. Todos los hallazgos están alojados en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional de Madrid.

En ocasiones en la historia, las cuevas se sumergieron bajo el mar Mediterráneo, pero ahora son altas y en su mayoría secas (a excepción de los impresionantes lagos subterráneos de agua dulce), aproximadamente a un km de la costa. Incluso se dice que hay un tesoro escondido en algún lugar dentro, oro que se dice que fue dejado en el siglo XII por cinco reyes moros o por el emperador de los almorávides, Tasufin Ibn Ali. En el siglo XIII, se encontraron algunas piedras preciosas.

Plutarco escribió en el siglo II sobre Marco Craso, quien se dice que permaneció escondido dentro de las cuevas durante varios meses en el 86 a. C. durante la primera guerra civil de Roma. Incluso hay un santuario fenicio de las diosas, Noctiluca, junto con un altar que aún contenía las cenizas de los animales cuando fue descubierto en el siglo XX. No era mi intención contarte tanta historia, pero lo encuentro todo tan fascinante.

Al otro lado de la calle, nos dijeron, está un excelente restaurante con una terraza en la azotea que brindaba vistas espectaculares. Y la ciudad tiene un Paseo bordeado de restaurantes de mariscos así como lugares de interés histórico. El clima estaba húmedo y un poco frío (terminó lloviendo), por lo que no podíamos comer afuera y no nos sentíamos cómodos mezclándonos o sentados adentro. Así que en lugar de eso fuimos directamente a casa para almorzar, lo cual fue un poco decepcionante después de las cuevas. Aún así, qué excursión.

Aunque la fotografía estaba permitida dentro de las cuevas, el uso de flash, por supuesto, no. Entonces mis fotos no son de la mejor calidad. Pero creo que te dan una idea del tamaño y las superficies. Compartimos el espacio con menos de otros 10 visitantes y aproximadamente la misma cantidad de personal (aunque algunos de los visitantes eran lo suficientemente ruidosos como para un autobús lleno). Traté de incluir a San Geraldo en algunas de las tomas para dar una sensación de escala, y también porque me gusta mucho a él.

• The visit includes an excellent audio tour.
• La visita incluye un excelente audio tour.
• Stalactites near the freshwater lakes.
• Estalactitas cerca de los lagos de agua dulce.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

38 thoughts on “The Treasure Cave / La Cueva del Tesoro”

  1. Hola, gracias. Es muy interesante. Algún día visitaremos. Este es un articulo que ira a mi carpeta de aprendizaje de español.

    1. David:
      Thanks! They didn’t end up as bad as I thought, and do at least give you a sense of what it was like inside.

  2. Wow, that is amazing. There is still a world of wonders out there to see. Thanks for taking us along.

    1. David Travel Penguin:
      We look forward to going back. A great place to take visitors, too.

    1. Frank:
      I see Gaudi’s inspirations everywhere, even in the sand castles with dripped wet sand.

  3. Gorgeous caverns. Years back we visited Carlsbad Caverns and it was stunning like this. What a great day trip!

    1. Bob:
      We never did go to Carlsbad Caverns. We went to Ausable Chasm when I was a kid. I don’t remember being VERY impressed. But my sister and I loved mispronouncing the name.

  4. Now THAT was an outing! Love the history and magnitude of the place.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Debra:
      The pics turned out well enough. Thanks. We’ll go back soon. It was a huge treat.

  5. Your senses must have been a bit overwhelmed in the caves–having this kind of experience after spending so much time in one place (the condo). What an marvelous space–especially loved the lake scene and, of course, photos of SG. It did help to see him so as to understand the size of various caverns.

    Have to say, I’m with you on folks talking too loudly in places where you’d like folks to show a little reverence or at least be quiet. I remember standing on the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and being furious at the number of tourists loudly jabbering and laughing at a place that should have inspired some quiet reflection on the thousands of lives lost that day…the real cost of wars.

  6. What was the temperature in the caves? Any sense of claustrophobia? Now other than that I loved your trip, historical account and taking the time to share with us. Moe please!

    1. Ron:
      Temp was surprisingly comfortable. We thought we’d be cold, but we just wore jerseys and were fine. As for claustrophobia, SG suffers from it and he didn’t have a moment’s problem. It’s very spacious and no matter where we went we could also see well ahead and well behind… and it was very well lit.

    1. wickedhamster:
      I agree. They really did an exceptional job designing around it.

  7. thank you for sharing those photos. my claustrophobia would not allow me to take the tour in person. but how cool to see something going back thousands of years [and I don’t mean SG]!

    1. anne marie:
      SG suffers from claustrophobia, as well. We knew the beginning was very large and open, so had a plan in case he couldn’t do the rest. But it’s much more open than it appears. Very high ceilings, open spaces, and views to where you were headed to and from. SG didn’t have a single problem. (SG only goes back 100s of years.)

  8. What a strange and bizarre space. You can really see the results of wave and water action on those walls! Bummer about not having lunch out, but I don’t blame you for being cautious.

    1. Steve:
      Lunch out will come one of these days. We drove home on a bit of a downer. But as we talked and thought more about the caves, we were elated again.

  9. Fascinating place made more fascinating with a bit of its history sprinkled in. I think flash might have ruined the photos, which are so evocative and tactile. It must have toasty warm in the caves – I noticed that SG took off his jacket. Too bad the rain kept you away from the restaurant. Next time. We haven’t had an outing in ages, so thanks for sharing this one.

    1. Wilma:
      Flash would definitely have ruined the photos. When I thought my photos weren’t good enough to share, I looked online. The professional shots used for promoting the place are very clear but very unnatural. The colors in my photos are what it actually looked like, so I was glad to sacrifice some blurring and limited views. The temp was surprisingly comfortable inside.

  10. I should be yelling at you for going in here Mitchell!!!!! But I’m glad to hear you didn’t have any accidents!!!!!! What with your track records and all. That would have been hell getting you out of there. I haven’t been in a cave or caverns in ages.

    In that first picture, the formation above San Geraldo’s head looks like a decapitatied angel.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      The lighting and shadows did do a number on our vision. But I was careful, didn’t take pictures while I was on the move, AND I touched the walls at times to get steadied. I love the your sighting of the angel above SG’s head! Angels follow him wherever he goes!

  11. Cool hideout, even if it was just for an afternoon! That underground lake would prove irresistible to me as I love water and swimming, LOL! Your photos are great too, even without the flash.

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      There was so much that was beautiful and fascinating about the place, but the lakes were pure magic. And there were little waterfalls, so the sound was stunning (except for the inconsiderate threesome).

    1. Andrew:
      Thanks so much. An amazing place to visit and learn about. The photos weren’t really too bad. The colors are natural and what it looked like. Flash would have changed that dramatically.

  12. What a cool cave. We went to the Luray Caverns in Virginia once. It was interesting, but very touristy. Not far from where we lived in Maryland, there was a privately owned cave that visitors entered through the owner’s house. The X man took our daughter to see it. I was happy not to accompany them.


    1. Janie:
      I remember Luray Caverns but we never did go. (My mother had no interest in “stumbling around a dark, damp cave.”) This, however, was so different and what they actually know about the thousands of years of history is incredible.

  13. Wow! What a beautiful fascinating place! I can’t wait to get out and see new (and old) places again.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      And SG suffered no claustrophobia! A great adventure so close to home.

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