Hiking the Trail of Cueva Santa
This is a route that can easily be done in one morning.
At first the route is flat and even goes downhill for a bit, but then the path towards Cueva Santa has a steep incline and can be a bit long because there are just few trees, so less shade, but it does gives the route more visual entertainment.
It is not recommended to do this route in summer given the high temperatures and the lack of shade, but the rest of the seasons the walk is especially beautiful and rewarding since the landscape is greener and more alive.
We start this route in the Plaza de la Constitución (1) and from there take several streets that lead us to the foot of the castle (2) where there is a panel that talks about the routes and the area.
From there we take the old sidewalk on the Istán road (3), which will take us on a very varied route that offers climbs, plains and descents to the “Rio Seco”.
The diversity of this section is high since it crosses fields where dry land with olive groves and some almond trees predominate.
Before starting the descent to the stream, it is necessary to stop (4) to observe the landscape that opens before our eyes: in front of us stands the Sierra Blanca, we are facing the Canucha, and to the right you can see the areas of Moratán and Gaimón, with Sierra Real (Istán) in the background and next to it, a bit higher up, the Sierra de las Nieves with the Torrecilla peak (Tolox).
The descent is made by an old path that preserves part of the paving (5)
This path connected our population with neighboring Istán in the olden days.
We continue until we reach the Rio Seco, a thin river bed that is home to different species that adapt to more generous hydrological conditions
Even though it does not carry water for most of the year (hence the name “Dry River”) we will be able to see reeds, oleanders & brambles.
The route continues ascending (6) through the Sierra Blanca massif, where Canucha and Cueva Santa is located.
Here is an old limestone quarry that was closed years ago, this is why it presents a somewhat bare aspect.
Inside these limestone forums, thanks to its geological nature, the phenomenon of cave formation occurs.
The limestone rock generates a special relief called karst relief that happens due the erosion of water in limestone.
You can see erosion leaves, on the surface, very characteristic relief forms, but also in the interior of the limestone mountains, such as caves, shelters or chasms.
Finally we will reach Cueva Santa (7), which in addition to being a small wonder of nature, has been important for the human race for its possible occupation by prehistoric men, but also for having been the place chosen by goatherds to take refuge with their livestock for hundreds of years.
It also served as the hiding place of some fugitives in the past.
Visitors are kindly requested not to touch the stalagmites or stalagtites (the rock formations) , or to run their hands through the speleothems as damage to the growth process, that can take hundreds of thousands of years, can occur.
Above the cave there is a spot (8) on the edge of a ravine from where you can enjoy excellent panoramic views both towards the coast and inland, marked by mountains and hills.