In the mountains of Mexico’s northeastern state of Nuevo León, and only a 30 km drive from Monterrey, are the Grutas de García.
The caves were discovered in 1843 by Priest Juan Antonio Sobrevilla, who stumbled upon them while casually exploring the area. The mountain that contains the caves, El Fraile, or Friar, is named after its most recent discoverer.
Located in Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, Cerro Del Fraile reaches about 750 meters over the ground around it and 1080 meters above sea level. Grutas de García stretches over 3.5 km inside of Cerro Del Fraile. Upon entering, there are two paths, one which is 2.5 km long with 16 separate chambers, while the other is 1 km long with 11 chambers.
Consisting primarily of limestone, the caves feature many stalactites and stalagmites. Many of the formations are named, ‘The Light Chamber’, because of the light filtering in through the rocks. ‘The Eighth Wonder,’ where a stalagmite and stalactite have grown together forming a column. One of the more intriguing formations is ‘El Mirador de la Mano’, a stalagmite growing upward like a giant shriveled hand.
The caves are accessible by a steep pathway or by cable car. The aerial tramway is a smooth, brief ride, considerably more comfortable than the previous method of transport. Before the sleek new aerial tramway was installed by a Swiss firm, there was a railcar that took passengers up the steep slope. Visitors had to exit the railcar while it was fixed at about a 45 degree angle, not an easy task for all.
Know Before You Go
Take Hwy 40 from Monterrey, northwest to Saltillo, and turn off near the Km. 22 marker.