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The cave paintings in the Sierra de Guadalupe are one of this region's main attractions. UNESCO declared the huge, complex murals a World Heritage Site, and the locals take great pride in protecting them. You are allowed to visit the caves only with a licensed guide.

The most popular series of caves near Mulegé is in La Trinidad, a remote rancho 29km (18 miles) west of town. Among the representations of the cave murals are large deer silhouettes and a human figure called the "cardón man" because of his resemblance to a cardoon cactus. After your guide drives you there, the hiking begins (count on trekking about 6km/3 3/4 miles and getting wet). To reach the caves, several river crossings are necessary in spots deep enough to swim. Indeed, at one point, rock walls fringe a tight canyon, and there is no way through except by swimming. This river in Cañón La Trinidad allegedly is the source of the river that flows through Mulegé, although it disappears underground for many miles in between.

Another favorite cave-art site is San Borjitas. To get there, you travel down a four-wheel-drive road to Rancho Las Tinajas, where your guide will take you on foot or by mule to the caves.

For 400 pesos per person (6 hr., minimum five people, lunch included), you can arrange for a guide in Mulegé to take you to La Trinidad; San Borjitas will cost around $50 per person (7 hr., two meals included). Check at Hotel Las Casitas for guide recommendations. One recommended guide is Salvador Castro (tel. 615/153-0232) and his Mulegé tours, and Hotel Las Casitas owner Javier Aguiar Zuniga also guides tours locally (tel. 615/152-3023).

The full-immersion cave painting tour is a customizable 1-to-6-day mule trek into the Sierra de San Francisco, offered by Tour Baja's Saddling South. Mulegé Tours  (tel. 615/153-0232; at the Las Casitas Hotel in downtown Mulegé; www.mulegetours.com) guides tours (400 pesos) to the La Trinidad cave paintings. The tour lasts approximately 12 hours and takes you to the foothills of the Sierra Guadalupe, between Loreto and Bahía de los Angeles, where you hike through the desert canyons before you reach the site. There is also an INAH museum in the area, which has displays and additional information about the cave paintings and the research that has been done on them. Near Loreto are a few minor cave painting sites, which you can access in a fun day tour from Sea & Land Eco Adventures for $95.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.