Cueva de Morgan

Morgan's Cave

Useful Information

Location: Av Circunvalar Km 8, San Andrés Island.
Follow coastal road on the west coat, at signs turn inland, 250 m.
(12.542607, -81.729354)
Open: All year daily 9-18.
Fee: Adults COP 20,000.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave SpeleologyRiver Cave
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=120 m.
Guided tours: self guided, D=30 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: San Andrés, Av Circunvalar Km 8, San Andrés y Providencia, Tel: +57-318-7124470.
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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Cueva de Morgan (Morgan's Cave) is one of the few sights of the small island, and so there is a museum dedicated to Captain Morgan and even a replica of his ship. Unfortunately the legendary treasure was never found, so it is not on display. The cave is said to be 120 m long but as it is water filled, only the entrance section can be visited. There is a comfortable trail down to the cave lake with a wooden railing.

Morgan was a Welsh pirate who robbed thousands of ships. He became rich and powerful, and King Charles II of England made him a knight. But Morgan became paranoid, that his enemies and even his companions would be jealous of his power and wealth. So he began to search for a place to hide his enormous treasure. One day when he was on San Andrés island he found a huge and deep cave. After a brief inspection he decided that it was the right place to hide all his fortune from the eyes of his enemies. Since this time many treasure hunters tried to find his treasure in the cave, but it has not been discovered so far. The water in the cave has receded over the years. According to legend it will continue to recede, and when it is gone completely, the exact location of the treasure will be revealed.

Today the site of the cave is located 250 m from the sea. As far as we think, this is not a sea cave, it's a karst cave which formed in the reef limestone and drains to the sea. Because of its location at the groundwater level it is water filled. Salt water enters the cave from the sea so the water is brackish, which is probably the reason for the claim that it was a sea cave, which is obviously nonsense. There is also the possibility that the water level changes with the tides. The receding water story is also nonsense, as the level depends on the sea, and with a rising sea level it will rise in the future. Unfortunately the site is managed as a sort of Pirate Morgan theme park and scientific facts about the cave are not available.

The site is easy to find, there are signs at the coastal road. Unfortunately they have no parking lot so the road is normally full of parked cars and tour busses. The site is a small forest with trails in the shadow of the trees, which is quite comfortable. There are shops, boutiques, a cafe, and the Captain Morgan Museum. The ship replica and other wooden structures are obviously intended as a fantasy playground for children. This site is definitely worthwhile for families with children, especially if they are interested in pirates.

San Andrés is a small island about 700 km north-west of the Colombian mainland. Its claim to fame is a sea cave on the west coast of the island, about 6 km south-west of San Andrés town. This is where the Welsh pirate, Henry Morgan is reputed to have hidden his treasure.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.