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Cueva Pintada Great Mural-Baja California-Mexico-Arroyo de San PabloThe Great Mural at Cueva Pintada, Baja California, Mexico. Source: The Bradshaw Foundation

One of the must-sees on a visit to Baja California in Mexico are the cave paintings, some dating back to 7,000 years ago. While many are hidden in difficult terrain, others are more easily accessible. With a home base in Loreto, dozens of archeological sites can be visited, including Rancho San Gregorio, Cueva La Palma, Cueva El Borrego, plus Cueva Pintada (Gardener Cave), Cueva de las Flechas, and more in Santa Teresa canyon. 

San Gregorio-Baja California-Mexico-Cave PaintingsA 60-foot wide cave painting in San Gregorio, Baja, Mexico. Source: The Bradshaw Foundation

An easy stop from Loreto is the La Pinguica Mountain Range, which contain many cave paintings that are now UNESCO World Heritage sites. Even closer, albeit much more simplistic stylistically, are cave paintings just off the road from Loreto to San Javier by the Cochimí people, who were native, nomadic people.

Baja California-Loreto-Mexico-San Javier_2

Baja California-Loreto-Mexico-San Javier

Where to Stay: Thankfully, the Loreto area is not overrun with resorts and hotels (hopefully it stays that way) and there’s a nice range of places to stay, depending on your budget and preferences. One of the latest is the all-inclusive Villa del Palmar Loreto which faces the incredible Bay of California and Loreto Bay National Park. Its targeted towards tasteful travelers, so you won’t see Spring Breakers or screaming children here.

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich. Also read about the first Spanish missions in the Americas, right in Baja California. 

3 Comments

  1. Carl Zichella says:

    I just returned from the cave painting site on the road to San Javier and I am sorry to say the site appears to be completely destroyed as a result of the 2013 fall rains and massive landslides in the upper drainages where road construction had been occurring. The entire lower canyon is blown out and buried under what looks to be up to 10 feet of gravel and silt. It is possible the art is just buried and careful excavation could once again reveal it, but the damage is epic, and it is also possible that considerable scouring to the cave and cliff walls occurred prior to burying the site. The creek that flowed in the site has gone underground, and heavy equipment has been run over the former watercourse.

  2. Cassie says:

    Wow, great photos! I didn’t realize some of these cave paintings were so big!

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