Charco Frío. Río Gaduares. Benaoján
- Charco Frío (CANYONING)
- Protected Area: Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
- Watershed: Mediterranean Catchment Area
- Main Watercourse: Río Gaduares
- Municipality: Benaoján
- Coordinates: x: 300273 / y: 4067153 / z: 439 m
- Location: easy
- Access: convenient
- Swimming Potential: high.
How to Get There
Look for the road from Ronda to Benaoján, the MA-7401, and locate the entrance to the Mirador de la Cueva del Gato lookout between kilometres 7 and 8. You can park here and walk down a dirt track to a hotel located on the ancient Campo de Gibraltar drovers’ road (“cañada real”). Opposite, cross the footbridge over the Guadiaro river, where the Gaduares flows, and go under the railway to the esplanade beneath the Cueva del Gato, where the Gaduares gushes out of the cave creating a waterfall which gives rise to a beautiful pool with clear green waters.
The site has been recognised as one of Andalusia’s natural monuments. The Gaduares River, by filtering through the subsoil, has carved an extraordinary subterranean system known as the Hundidero-Gato system. The river flows out of the cave enhancing the Serranía de Ronda’s most picturesque scenery. Around the pool there is a flat area with some barbecue facilities. The area closest to the pool is also the shadiest. The extremely cold temperature of the water has given this pool its name. Following the drovers’ road towards Estación de Benaoján, on the path marked by the Park’s management, you will pass just a short distance from the Charco Redondo, which is large and deep. It was once frequented by the people of Benaoján.
Before jumping in, it is a good idea to splash some water over your arms and legs first, so that you are not affected by the sudden change in temperature. The middle of the pool is very deep and should not be approached if you are not a good swimmer. It is important to abide by the rules of this protected area, especially the rule banning people from entering the Cueva del Gato, which can be accessed via some steep steps.