"Yes, we were in La Cueva Cuata for six hours and never got to the end of it – finally crawled out at two in the morning!"
Inspired by this report from a friendly stranger, we began our search for La Cuata Cave, which we had been told was set in a precipice overlooking the Santiago River in the Santa Rosa Valley, located about 50 kilometers northwest of Guadalajara.
It was January of 1990, “the dead of winter,” but as we drove down the winding road into the deep Santa Rosa Canyon, we were pleasantly surprised to find all sorts of tropical fruits already ripening. We made our way through sleepy pueblitos with strange names like Achio and Chome, past tamarind trees, golden fields of corn and enormous mango trees drooping with fruit. Throughout the dry season, the many springs in the area keep the vegetation eternally green ... and the roads eternally muddy.
A local resident named Arnulfo had heard of the cave and was willing to take us there, though he had never actually gone inside and was none too anxious about doing so now. Leaving our Jeep under a shady mango tree, we hiked northwest along a narrow trail that passed banana plants and papayas until suddenly we caught sight of the majestic barranca in the distance. “The cave is right at the edge of the precipice,” explained Arnulfo. “I just hope I can find it ...”