Cueva de San Ambrosio

Cueva Ambrosio - Cueva de Ambrosio

Useful Information

Location: Autopista Sur, Varadero.
Northeast tip of Varadero peninsula, 7 km west of Casa DuPont, 4 km east of La Morla. 200 m walk to the cave.
(23.192731, -81.163121)
Open: All year daily 9-16:30.
Fee: Adults CUC 5.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=300 m.
Guided tours: self guided, D=30 min.
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Odlanyer Hernández-de-Lara (2014): Cueva de Ambrosio: patrimonio arqueológico en una localidad rupestre de la península de Hicacos, Matanzas, Cuba, Casimba, Grupo Espeleológico Pedro A. Borrás, La Habana, Cuba.
Address: Cueva de San Ambrosio, Autopista Sur, Varadero.
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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1961 discovered by Rivero de la Calle and Orlando Parient, two Cuban archaeologists.


The small park called Las Salinas is named after seawater salines, which are now abandoned. In the boundaries of the park are 14 archaeological sites which are freely accessible. Only the most important cave, Cueva de San Ambrosio is closed for its protection. It contains about 47 drawings dating from the pre-Columbian era, more than 500 years ago. But there are also superimposed African-style drawings, which indicate rituals held by local slaves in these caves. The best-preserved paintings are located in the Claraboyas Room, which were made using black and red colours. The cave is illuminated by sunlight through numerous holes in teh ceiling.

The Cueva de San Ambrosio is also called Cueva de Ambrosio or simply Cueva Ambrosio. It is located on the peninsula of Hicacos, inside the Reserva Ecológica de Varahicacos (Varahicacos Ecological Reserve). There is a parking lot right at the Autopista Sur, close to the Cueva de San Ambrosio.

Nearby is the Cueva de los Musulmanes (Cave of the Muslims) where human remains have been found. The remains of an almost complete skeleton of a man between 25 and 35 years old, who died of syphilis, as well as other fossils, were excavated. The human bones were dated to between 500 BC and 500 AC, so they actually reveal that the disease was not brought by the Spanish as had always been believed. The name is derived from Cuban smugglers, who called themselves the Muslims, who used this place as a hideout. There are actually two small caves, close together, which are thus called Musulmanes-1 and Musulmanes-2. Bones of the extinct great sloth (Megalognus rodens) were also found in the cave. They lived on Cuba, Hispaniola and Haiti until probably 4,000 to 3,000 years ago, which is after the appearance of the first humans. So they most likely served as food for the natives of the area.