Friday, 3 August 2012

Cueva de la Pileta

Another hot day was forecast so a reasonably early start this morning on a drive to the "Cueva de la Pileta", a prehistoric cave near to the pueblo of Benaoján, about 50 minutes drive to the south of Olvera (see route here).
Turning right just before Benaoján, clear signs direct you to the cave and a car parking area and the start of a fairly steep 100 metre stepped path to the cave entrance.
The view from the path on one of several "breather" stops.
At the top of the path is a small refreshment hut with the cave entrance open as pictured below.
The cave opens at 10am but there are no set tour times. The guide waits until there are a reasonable number of visitors, usually about 15, then sets off on a tour that lasts about an hour. While a group is inside the cave, the main entrance is apparently closed so if you do turn up it's worth waiting for the next tour.
Just inside the cave entrance is a reception desk where entrance tickets (7€) can be purchased.
As part of the entrance fee, visitors are provided with lanterns to light the way although I would highly recommend that you also take a reasonably powerful torch.

 Unfortunately, the taking of photographs within the cave complex is prohibited so regrettably I'm unable to show any pictures apart from these near to the reception area but take it from me, the interior and cave drawings are absolutely amazing. However, there's a link here to a website that gives a flavour of what to expect and also provides a lot more information.
The cave is completely uncommercialised, with no lighting apart from the issued lanterns. By bringing my own torch, I was also able to view the heights of the caverns and the incredible rock formations created over millions of years, areas that the lanterns couldn't reach.  
Our very informative tour lasted about fifty five minutes and was worth every cent. 
 Upon our return, another tour group was waiting for a great experience. 
My faithful travelling companions awaited my return.
Back out in the heat of the day, we headed to the nearby pueblo of Benaoján for a cool drink.

Passing through the pueblo, we couldn't immediately see any shaded bars to sit outside so we continued on until we reached the nearby train station.  

 The very pleasant "Bar Cantina Estación" proved just the right place for a couple of non alcoholic beers with delicious tapas.

 I was slightly disappointed at not being able to take pictures within the cave but in no way did it detract from an amazing and stunning experience, surely one of the hidden jewels of Andalucia. However, if you do have the opportunity to visit, I would definitely recommend taking a bright and powerful torch to enhance your enjoyment.  

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