Cave Drawings

While staying in San Ignacio village (Baja, Mexico), we took a day trip to the nearby San Francisco mountains. Our destination? Hike a trail up into the mountains to view some ancient cave drawings. Control of the cave paintings falls under the guidance of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). All visitors to the cave paintings must purchase a special permit and must be accompanied by a registered guide. The necessary permits and guides can all be arranged in San Ignacio.

Although the exact age of the cave paintings is unknown, recent studies (early 2000’s) indicate that they may be 7,500 years old, making them perhaps the oldest North American rock art known! But don’t rush out to go see the drawings, at least without looking at all the factors. After obtaining all required permits, you must drive through the desert to reach the “visitor’s center” (which looks more like a dilapidated old wooden building):

The San Francisco Mountains


Then, you must walk up the mountainside for nearly 3 miles (in scorching heat!) to reach the drawings. Or, you can ride a mule to ride on. Here is one our group members, on a mule and ready to conquer the mountain!

Caballero (cowboy) guide to the cave paintings

Riding a Mule to see the cave paintings

When we left the meeting area and started our trek to the cave drawings, I started walking and walked about 80% of the way up. By then, the temperature was in the mid 90’s and I was starting to empty my water bottles I had brought along with me. So, I gladly accepted the next available mule for the final 10 minutes of uphill climbing … boy, sure glad I did! Once I reached the drawings, I first took a few minutes to rest and rehydrate … in the shade, of course … before walking around and photographing the beautiful drawings. Here are a few of the drawings that I captured:

Cave Painting in Baja, Mexico

Cave Painting in Baja, Mexico

Cave Painting in Baja, Mexico

Cave Painting in Baja, Mexico

And here are our 3 Caballero (cowboy) guides that helped us up and down the mountain:

Caballero (cowboy) guides in front of the cave dwellings

This was a wonderful experience and I was very glad I made it to the top! By the way, here is a photo that I took from the cave drawings, looking back down the mountain (I believe we started our trek somewhere behind the mountain, on the lefthand side of this photo):

View of the San Francisco Mountains, from the cave paintings


Once we all reached the meeting area, we took a few minutes to hydrate, and cooled off, before boarding our vans and heading back to “Rice and Beans”. On our drive through the desert, we got to see a new reptile for me … a Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber)!

Red Diamond Rattlesnake


Coming up … more posts from the landlubber’s viewpoint!




Posted in Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Reptiles and Amphibians, Travel Photography.
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