Cueva de los Guacharos

Cueva de San Andrés

Useful Information

Location: San Andres de Cutervo National Park, district of San Andrés de Cutervo, province of Cutervo. On the western edge of the Cutervo National Park, 4 km west of San Andrés, in Pajonal.
(-6.23010, -78.74843)
Open: Authorization from the Municipality of San Andrés required.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring caving gear
Dimension: L=1,234 m, VR=145 m, A=2,520 m asl.
Guided tours: local guide
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: J.L. Guyot (2018): Mission sur les karsts du Nord Pérou 1- Région de Cajamarca (15-19/02/2018). Infos GSBM.
Address: Cueva de los Guacharos.
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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1880 whole area owned by a single person.
1947 discovered by Dr. Salomón Vilchez Burga.
1977 survey by the ERE-CEC of Barcelona.
1979 survey by the GSBM, drawing Y. Sammartino.
1961 San Andres de Cutervo formed.


The Cueva de los Guacharos is one of numerous wild caves in the San Andres de Cutervo National Park. It is the most interesting cave and thus the cave which is most visited. You need to obtain a permit from the Municipality of San Andrés (workdays 9-16) where you can also ask for a guide. It is two hours walk from San Andres and best visited with a local guide. The cave is interesting for its nocturnal bird called guacharo (Steatornis caripensis), hence the name. The cave also has a cave river, where cave catfish (Astroblepus rosei) live. However, both species are in danger of extinction and must not be disturbed.

The cave was discovered by Professor Salomon Vilchez Murga in 1947 who explored 400 m of galleries, identified the guacharos and excavated many ceramics. His research was one of the main reasons for the creation of the Cutervo National Park. The reseach was continues 30 years later with the Millpu 77 expedition of the Equip de recerques espeleologiques (ERE) of the Center Excursionista de Catalunya (CEC) from Barcelona, Spain. Subsequently the exploration was continued by the Pérou 79 expedition of the GSBM and by the by the Pérou 82 expedition of the CBIS. The last exploration was in 2018 by the ECA group from Lima.

The area of San Andres de Cutervo National Park was owned by a single landowner since 1880. This is a result of the encomienda, the system founded to finance the reconquista of Spain from Muslim (Moorish) occupation. It was transplanted from Castilia to Peru and a means to oppress the indigenous population. Anyone who lived in this area worked for the landowner, there was no money paid but goods from the landowners store and the right to grow vegetables on a small piece of ground. The land was then purchased by Felipe Santiago Diaz Perez and his brothers. After the 1968 military coup the country was reformed by the military junta, and in 1969 the land reforms gave the land to the people who worked it.