Cueva de los Guácharos

Cueva de los Guácharos


Location: Huila and Caqueta Provinces Map

Area: 90.78 km²


Description of Cueva de los Guácharos

Cueva de los Guácharos is a natural underground system situated in Huila and Caqueta Provinces of Colombia. Cueva de los Guácharos is protected by Cueva de los Guácharos National Park that covers a total area of 90.78 km². This geological formation was named after goacharos nocturnal bird (Steatornis caripensis) also known as oilbird that usually spend days hiding in the cave and leaves to hunt by night. You can see them leave the tunnel at the dusk and return at dawn.


The Cueva de los Guácharos park protects the sub-humid forested biotopes, between 1200-2300 meters above sea level and andean, between 2300-3800 m of altitude (tropical humid broad-leaved forest biome) and the humid wasteland biotope, (tropical grassland and chaparral mountain biome), located above 3500-3800 m. The vast and quasi-intact areas of Andean oak (Quercus humboldtii Bonpl., Fagaceae) and Colombobalanus excelsa Lozano, Fagaceae, a new species of oak, described in the park in 1979, are one of the fundamental riches of Cueva de los Guácharos.

The park owes its name to the Guácharo (Steatornis caripensis, order Caprimulgiformes, Steatornithidae family), frugivorous, nocturnal bird that inhabits caves and cavities. Its name is onomatopoeic, it is derived from Quechua huach and means to scream or cry, for its characteristic song. This same species gives its name to another natural park: El Guácharo, located in the eastern interior mountain range, northeast of Monagas state, Venezuela.


Colonization for agriculture and livestock; sawmill, firewood, poaching, pasture management and cultivars with fire, clear cut.
Sowing and processing of coca and poppy.
The lack of maintenance and preservation of the access corridor, where horseshoe roads and footpaths are mixed, are a constant threat due to the risk of falling and slipping. There are no shade sites for rest or natural hydration points. The transit inside the caverns is not suitable for people without sufficient training and strength that allows them to use poorly designed cat stairs, without protection or pass, with a risk of falling from heights above 20 meters.