Pinturas Rupestres del Vizcaino

The Rock Paintings of Vizcaino

Art from giants

The Sierra de San Francisco, in Baja California Sur, was the place of settlement of a town between the 1st century BC. and the fourteenth century, which bequeathed us one of the most remarkable sets of cave paintings in the world.

Maintained in an admirable state of conservation thanks to the dry climate and difficult access to the site, these sets have representations of human beings and numerous animal species, as well as the relationship of man with his environment.

Exponents of a highly refined culture, the paintings constitute by their composition, dimensions, line precision, variety of colors and, by their abundance, an exceptional testimony of a unique artistic tradition in its genre. The technique they used is surprising: the background, the outline drawing and the shading, achieved extraordinarily plastic effects.

The cave paintings of Baja California Sur have been recorded in hundreds of scattered sites on four large mountain ranges, of which the most famous have already obtained the title of World Heritage property by UNESCO; We are talking about the Sierra de San Francisco.

Here are two main canyons open to guided tours, the Arroyo de Santa Teresa and the Arroyo del Parral, each with half a dozen top-level sites with huge murals. Of the circuit of galleries of the Canyon of Santa Teresa you can make a tour to three impressive caverns that are: The Cave of the Mouse, The Pintada and the Arrows. The style of the area, unique in the world, is called precisely "Great Mural", and among its conventions are the figures of animals and humans of real size ... and even greater.

The paintings discovered in the walls and ceilings of these caves are located in remote places and difficult to access. As for the caves themselves, they were probably not used as houses, but as places of worship or traps to hunt animals.

The heart of the cave "La Pintada", is one of the most impressive sites because of the diversity and paintings it exhibits. It is located on a cliff about 50 or 60 meters above the bottom of the ravine, and extends for more than 150. Inside a rocky shelter showing the extensive mural, almost completely decorated, with hundreds of images in black and ocher tones, They reproduce human figures wearing strange headdresses, raising their arms and displaying long spears and arrows.

The characters are grouped in complicated hunting scenes, possessing a great rituality in which silhouettes of bighorn sheep, deer, birds, hares, reptiles and turtles can be guessed.

Little is known about the humans who painted these murals, but all the evidence indicates that these painters were part of different groups established in small territories, it is believed that the works responded to religious needs. It is likely that its meaning will never be fully understood.

The Jesuit Francisco Javier Clavijero, considered the discoverer of these paintings, published in 1789 a story about his trip through Baja California, where he states that, according to the legends of the Indians, these had been made by giants.

In the town of San Ignacio there is the local Museum and the offices of INAH, where permits are granted to visit the Sierra de San Francisco; It is also where the preparations are organized with guides and animals to visit the region. We recommend you visit this museum to better understand the area before embarking on your trip.

Baja California extends the invitation to a wonderful excursion, full of indescribable adventures, a succession of fantasy landscapes and mountains that harbor mysterious rock murals of enormous dimensions, showing you a different face of Mexico.

Visit the rock paintings of The Vizcaino with this photos

Pinturas Rupestres de Vizcaíno

All you must know about El Vizcaino is here in our audio guide


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