From Tarma city, following the route
towards northeast, we arrive to Palcamayo (20.5 miles - 33 km.), where the
biggest cavern of South America is located: Huagapo (quechua voice: the cavern
that cries), its name based on a legend which story relates that in the
expansion times of Inca's Empire, women
and children of Tarama culture, who ruled the zone, had to shelter in the cavern
waiting to be rescued by their brave warriors when the war had finished.
But as the Incas won, nobody could rescue them and they got trapped into Huagapo
cavern which entrance was blocked up by a huge rock. It is said that they could
never get out and their screams are heard until now.
Although it is still under study by many scientist from all over the world,
the cavern formation might have occurred 80 millions of years ago approximately,
due to a explosion produced by a heavy concentration of energy and gases.
Arriving by road we can see a beautiful waterfall coming from the interior of
the cavern, which waters will accompany us along all our crossing. As you will
observe the outside walls have cave paintings representing persons and animals
(llamas, snakes and frogs) which date from 6,000 years BC. In the interior we
found stalactites and stalagmites produced by the salt concentration, which have
formed figures like the virgin, the lion, the cathedral, etc. The depth explored
in Huagapo cavern reaches 10,006 feet (3,050 meters), being accessible the first
1,312 feet (400 meters) to all people in general, and needing special equipment
for rock climbing and oxygen tank for diving at greater depths. At 5,249
feet (1,600 meters) of depth is located the first siphon and at 9,006 feet
(2,745 meters) is the second one where the blind trouts live.
The Huagapo cavern is a unique place in Peru. It represents an important
source of research for speleologists and scientist of many fields and allow the
practice of adventure sports.