Rincon de la Victoria - Cueva del Tesoro

Water flowing from rocks Treasure Cave, Rincón de la victoria © Max Phythian
Emerald waters flowing from rocks in Treasure Cave, Rincón de la Victoria © Max Phythian

Cueva del Tesoro

Located 15km outside Malaga´s capital, in the town of Rincón de la Victoria, La Cueva de Higuerón, popularly known as La Cueva del Tesoro (The Cave of the Treasure or Treasure Cave) is a significant geographical and historical landmark not only for Andalucia but also for Spain.

History

It is one of only three marine formed caves that have been discovered in the world that are now accessible above sea level, which also contain prehistoric cave paintings and have fresh water running through them. It is the only one of its kind in Europe. Its geographical location and mineralogy show that it was formed in the Jurassic period (200m to 150m years ago), making it stand out both historically and geographically. Its popular name of Cueva del Tesoro comes from the many legends that suggest that the cave holds long lost treasure.

La Sala de la Virgen (Room of the Virgin), first stop on the cave tour ©Kevin George Monterrubio
La Sala de la Virgen (Room of the Virgin), first stop on the cave tour

La Cueva del Tesoro is said to contain the treasure of the five rulers of the Almoravíd Dynasty, rumoured to have been hidden in the cave by Emperor Tesufín ibn Ali, the last of the five rulers, before he was killed in 1145 in the town of Orán in Algeria. Over the years the treasure was forgotten, and it was not mentioned again until the 17th century, when Fray Agustin de Mila y Suazo, a citizen of Orán, unveiled in his manuscript Historia Eclesiástica y Secular de Málaga y su Obispado that the official burial place of the lost royal treasure was the Cueva de Higuerón. Explorers and archaeologists alike have been searching for it there ever since.

Unique passages in the cave where walls were shaped by the sea ©Max Phythian
Unique passages in the cave where walls were shaped by the sea

In the 19th century the first treasure hunting success was reported: Mañuel Laza Palacio, an investigator from Malaga, who spent 38 years searching for the treasure. He found six gold dinars (early Islamic coins made of 4.25g of solid gold) and a selection of ceramics, as well as utensils said to date from the Neolithic period. In monetary terms, the gold is the equivalent of €900; in historic, cultural and archaeological terms, the artifacts are priceless.

Tour around the Cave

The Cueva de Higuerón is well worth a visit for its internal features. After entering an exhibition area, the visitor descends several flights of stairs to find themselves in La Sala de la Virgen (Room of the Virgin). A change in the rock texture on the walls at a certain height can be clearly seen. This is the level at which the 19th century excavations of the cave began. This chamber has two diverging tunnels to the left and the right. Starting the tour to the left, one passes through La Sala del Águila (The Eagle Room) which takes its name from a rock formation in the cavern in the shape of an Eagle. Some very faint cave paintings can be seen in this room, but it is dimly lit and so they are difficult to see. The majority of the Neolithic art is located in La Sala de Pinturas Rupestres (The Room of Cave Paintings) the path to which is roped off to the left just before the Eagle Room, and so unfortunately inaccessible to the public.

Following on from the Eagle room, the next stop on the tour is La Sala de Noctiluca (The Room of Noctiluca) which houses the remains of a temple of the moon goddess Noctiluca. It is thought to have been a temple because of the ash and animal remains that were found at her (or the rock formation's) feet, giving evidence of animal sacrifice. The final chamber down this stretch is La Sala del Volcán (The Vocano Room), so named because it is the deepest room in the cave and therefore has a slightly higher temperature.

Heading back through the other chambers to the Sala de la Virgen where the tour began, visitors are now guided through the passage on the right through into La Sala de los Lagos (The Room of The Lakes). This is the most extensive and the most humid of all the caverns, where fresh water can be found flowing from the rocks at the far end. This room therefore features several underground lakes as well as stalagmites and stalactites from where the water has seeped from above.

The return route is by the same stairs which you entered from or by an elevator.

You can enjoy a nice view in the Room of the Lakes ©Kevin George Monterrubio
You can enjoy a nice view in the Room of the Lakes

Location

The cave is found at Urbanización El Cantal, just above the N-340 between La Cala and Rincón de la Victoria. There is ample parking.

Located in a residential area, there is no café. There is a cold drinks vending machine at the reception.

Opening hours

Summer
15 June to 15 September: 10.30 - 13.00 and 16.30 - 19.00

Rest of the year
16 Septemeber to 14 June: 10.00 - 13.00 and 15.00 - 17.00

Closed 1 & 6 January 24, 25, 31 Decemeber

Entrance

Adults: 4.65 Euros

Children five to 15 years: 2.75 Euros

Over 65s: 2.75 Euros

Visits by audio guide (English and Spanish) included in the price

Contact 

Tel: 952 406 162
email: cuevadeltesoro@rincondelavistoria.es

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