Puente del Diablo


Useful Information

Location: La Poma. 190km from Salta. From La Poma follow Hey 40 south for 3.5km, turn right on single lane gravel road.
(-24.767006, -66.187403)
Open: All year by reservation.
[2020]
Fee: yes.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=110m.
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Puente del Diablo, La Poma, Tel: +54-9-3876-11-4077.
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.

History

1999 cave discovered by Luis Carabelli from FADE.
2000 report on the finding presented at the Argentine Congress of Speleology
2009 caving course by the Argentine Federation of Speleology (FADE) held in the cave.

Description

Puente del Diablo (Devils Bridge) is a river cave with many speleothems and several karstfenster which is visited on cave trekking tours. They are not as demanding as canyoning tours, there is almost no climbing, but they are done wading in knee high water most of the time. The cave is located about 3km south of La Poma at the Rio Calchaquí. The valley is located in the Andes and La Poma is more than 3,000m above sea level. As far as we understand there are differen guides/operators, so check the tourist office at La Poma for a guide. Most likely the trip from town to the cave is included.

The formation of the karst caves is a result of volcanism, which is quite unique. Nearby twin volcanoes Los Gemelos erupted and a lava flow covered the valley of Rio Calchaquí. The water was dammed, but is formed its own escape route under the basaltic lava flow in the soluble limestone. The result is a karst cave with erosional history covered by basalt.

The exceptional cave, though not far from the town, is located in the gorge and hard to reach. It was known to the native people since ancient times, they used it as a natural bridge to cross cattle. But they never entered the cave, as the beliefs and legends tell that the Devil lives inside. So it was first explored only 20 years ago, in 1999, by Luis Carabelli, from Argentine Federation of Speleology (FADE). In 2000 he presented the discovery on the Argentine Congress of Speleology. Further research in the area revealed many other caves and finally the Argentine Federation of Speleology (FADE) organized a course on water cave exploration in 2009. Several locals were participants and are now very competent cave guides offering cave trekking tours.