What? No bat guano?

John J. Pint

One day our neighbor Bob brought over his Motorist's Guide to Mexico and showed us a mouth-watering reference describing the fabulous cave of El Bandido Lozada, popularly known as El Tigre. The book painted a vivid picture of the cave, with its seven entrances, perpetually filled pool of cool drinking water and endless tunnels and rooms where an entire army -- on horseback, no less -- could easily be hidden.

This better-than-Disney cave was supposed to be located near the town of San Juan in the state of Nayarit, on Mexico's west coast. However, after a very long drive all the way to Nayarit, and after a whole morning of interviewing everyone from the local librarian to the town president, all we came up with was a blank.

Could it be that the reference had been misplaced by a sleepy editor and the San Juan in question was actually in the neighboring state of Jalisco?

Long poring over our maps convinced us that San Juan de Abajo, near Puerto Vallarta, might hold the key to that legendary, yet elusive cave.

One day in mid-December, my wife Susy, two friends and I drove into dusty, sleepy San Juan de Abajo and walked into a restaurant next to the deserted town square. A woman, busy washing dishes, looked up at us.

"Good afternoon, señora, would you happen to know of a cave anywhere near San Juan?"

Glancing back towards an open doorway, the woman shouted out of the side of her mouth, still busily scrubbing away, "Oye, Horacio, someone here's looking for the cave."

At the words "the cave," our eyes opened wide. At last we had found it! And obviously, we weren't the first ones to come asking about it.

Jauntily we sauntered into the next room where Horacio and several buddies were deeply engaged in a hard game of dominoes. "Excuse us, please, but we'd appreciate directions to the cave."

"¿La cueva?" Sí, caballeros... (with a curious glance at Susy)... you'll find it, oh, seven blocks down, one block past the church.

Incredible! The entrance to El Tigre's wonderful cave was actually inside the town limits!

It was so incredible, in fact, that our friend Jesús ventured to ask... "Hmmm, by the way, how deep is it?"

"Deep?" Bueno, it's no deeper than right here... just the same!"

"You mean we don't need ropes to get inside?"

"No, señor, you can just walk in," replied Horacio with a funny look.

"Oh, a horizontal entrance," I said. "So what's inside? Is there a lot of mud? Does it have bats?"

"Look, señor," replied Horacio, slightly exasperated, "I never heard about any mud or bats in La Cueva... just the girls, that's all they have."

Horacio turned back to his dominoes, Susy turned crimson and we bowed out quickly. Ever since then, we've wondered what tales the people of San Juan now tell about the kinky preferences of those gringos who travelled such a great distance just to visit the establishment known as La Cueva.

© 2000, John J. Pint - All rights reserved

Have a look at OUTDOORS IN WESTERN MEXICO by John and Susy Pint