Caverna de las Brujas

Las Brujas Cave - Cave of the Witches

Useful Information

Location: 71 km south of Malargüe, Mendoza Province, Southern Andean Range. From Malargüe follow Route N° 40 south.
Open: By appointment.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. Jurassic limestone.
Light: none, helmets and lamps provided.
Dimension: L=5,000 m, A=1,800 m asl.
Guided tours: VR=50 m. V=12,000/a[2000]
Bibliography: P. Forti, C. Benedetto, G. Costa (1993): Las Brujas Cave (Malargue, Argentina): An example of the oil pools control on the speleogenesis, Theoretical & Applied Karstology (TAK), vol. 6/1993, pp. 87-94.
Norberto A. Pedemonte (1996): Primeros aportes para el conocimiento del clima de la Caverna de las Brujas, (First Contributions to the Knowledge of Las Brujas Cave Climate). Salamanca 9, GEA, Diciembre 1996, Buenos Aires. p. 5-42. (Español - Spanish)
C. Sancho, J. L. Pena, R. Mikkan, C. Osacar, Y. Quinif (2004): Morphological and speleothemic development in Brujas Cave (Southern Andean Range, Argentine): palaeoenvironmental significance, Geomorphology, v. 57, iss. 3-4, p. 367-384. Elsevier 02/2004.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1992 Italian-Argentinan expedition with Dr. Paolo Forti from the University of Bologna, Italy.


Caverna de las Brujas is located in a relatively large area of Jurassic limestone near Malargüe, with many karst features and several caves. The whole area, called Bardas Blancas, is protected as a nature reserve, the Caverna de las Brujas Natural Reservation, and Caverna de las Brujas is the only tourist cave in the area. It is a sort of semi wild cave, as it is closed with scheduled guided tours, but not developed to an extend which is common in first world countries. The cave has no electric light and no paved paths, the tourist section is a horizontal passage with a continuous ascent, requires sturdy boots but has no special difficulties. Nevertheless Caverna de las Brujas is the most famous cave of Argentina and the only one at least partially prepared for tourism in the country.

From the entrance, a huge portal which is gated with an iron bar gate, two parallel passages of about 2 m height and width lead to huge chamber calleSala de la Virgen. The name of the hugest chamber of the tour, with a diameter of about 50 m, refers to Virgin Mary, because of a stalagmite formation right at the entrance which is called Estalactita de la Virgen. It resembles a pieta. At the far end of this chamber are both the descent to the lower level and the ascent to the upper level. The tourist section is in the middle level of the cave.

From here the path follows a passage to the north, which the far end at the Sala de las Flores after about 350 m. This place is 50 m higher than the entrance, almost circular with a diameter of about 20 m. The main passages always run north-south, with two east west intersections called Sala de los Derrumbes and Sala de los Encuentros. The first is 20 m long and 10 m wide, the second 30 m long and 20 m wide, both have several water filled pools.

The most impressive geologic feature of the cave are the oil pools which control the speleogenesis. Starting with the upwelling of fluids full of hydrogen sulphide from an oil pool the cave development was heavily influenced by processes other than classical karstic. This kind of speleogenesis of limestone areas was proposed before for the region of the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico, USA.