Cueva del Raton

The Cueva del Raton is the most accessible painted cave among those located in the scenic Sierra de San Francisco, in Baja California Sur.

Actually it is more a natural shelter under the cliff than a real cave and, due to its size, it was used as a refuge by groups of prehistoric hunters that decorated the walls with rock paintings.

The drawings, Unesco World Heritage Site since 1993, depict brightly painted  human figures and animals as well as other abstract elements and are in excellent state of conservation thanks to their isolated location.

HOW TO VISIT THE CUEVA DEL RATON

In order to visit the cave, the best option is to stay 2 nights in San Ignacio, a small and relaxed town, 1 hour and half drive north of Mulegé, with a beautiful Jesuit mission dating back 1728.

If you don't have a car, you may consider an organised tour: there are a couple of tour operators in the central square that can sort everything out for you (transfer, guide and tickets). Prices should be around 1000-1500 Mxn $ per person.

But we found the price a bit too high for our budget plus we had a car and didn't need a transfer service. So we went to the INAH office close to the mission, and managed to organise the visit for a much cheaper price.

In fact, there you can pay your tickets (65 Mex pesos per person plus 45 per camera in November 2017) and they will call the site and have a guide ready for you at your arrival (it is not allowed to visit the cave on your own and the price for the guide is 100 Mxn pesos for up to 4 people). We ended up spending a total of 325 Mxn pesos for 2 people and this included as well a tip for our knowledgeable guide.

Leaving San Ignacio, you will have to follow directions for the Sierra de San Francisco on the Mexican Federal Highway 1 for about 44Km. Then you will find a diversion on the right (indicating again the Sierra de San Francisco). The road will take you inside the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, one of the largest protected area in Mexico characterized by an extraordinary biological diversity and breathtaking panoramas.

El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, Baja California Sur Mexico
El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve

El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, Baja California Sur, Mexico
El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve
After approximately 30 Km the road becomes unpaved and in really bad conditions and requires the use of a 4x4. We tried with our rental car (as we were badly advised at the INAH office that it would have been ok), but we had to stop just after 1 Km. There is a rancho on the left side, and we asked them if we could park our car there so we continued walking. It was a very enjoyable and gentle 5 Km stroll, done in less than 1h and half, with the plus side of amazing views on the canyon and a closer look at the local wildlife.

El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve
To visit the cave, you actually have to walk pass the cave entrance and direct to the Hostal Buenaventura where you will find the guides and the INAH office.

The guide will then walk you back to the cave and will explain you the story of the area and the paintings.

Cueva del Raton, Sierra de San Francisco, Baja California Sur
Cueva del Raton


Cueva del Raton, Sierra de San Francisco, Baja California Sur
Cueva del Raton

Cueva del Raton, Sierra de San Francisco, Baja California Sur
Cueva del Raton

Cueva del Raton, Sierra de San Francisco, Baja California Sur
View from the Cueva del Raton
We cannot emphasize enough what a truly amazing experience this visit was in its integrity. And have to admit that this was also thanks to Oscar, our knowledgeable and gentle guide that made our visit special by explaining us about the indigenous people, their culture and traditions and the local flora and fauna.

He also organises tours to the Cueva de las Pinturas and de las Flechas in the Santa Teresa canyon but it takes a 3 days trip and unfortunately we didn't have much time left. We honestly recommend Oscar as a guide and in case you wish to contact him for more info, don't hesitate to send us a message and we will connect you directly.


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