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El Diablito: incredible rock paintings in Tecate
A fascinating day trip for the whole family to the rock paintings at El Vallecito in Tecate, an archaeological site that lets us peek into the mystical world of the ancient Kumiai. Can you find the Diablito (little devil)? And the suns?
If you came to Tecate on vacation, if you would like to share with your children the history of our ancestors, the history of Mexico, and if you would also like to have a great time with a different kind of fun activity, then the archaeological site of El Vallecito, very near La Rumorosa road, is the perfect place for a family outing. Follow the perfectly marked trails to explore caves and shelter where you will find the oldest rock paintings in the region. Don’t miss the famous Diablito!
The rock paintings in El Vallecito had mystical and ceremonial meanings. Today, many people still come to El Vallecito dressed in white during the summer and winter solstices to charge on energy.
A trail amongst sharks, suns, devils and indians
23 formations with rock paintings and engravings were found at the archeological site of El Vallecito. During this walk, which will take you about two hours, you will be able to visit six of them. Follow the directions of the guard and take the 2 km trail that will take you to these fascinating, magical caves. Very soon you will come across the famous Diablito, with his orbit around the head that looks like horns. But there’s a lot more. Look at the rock they call the Tiburón (shark). Can you guess why? Look again and you will see what looks like the head of a giant shark coming out of the water…
Shortly after this point the rock paintings at El Vallecito become even more lively. Think about how these prehistoric people lived as you wander from rock shelter to rock shelter to admire the paintings. Here they hunted and ate. If you look carefully you will find holes in the rock used as a grain mill, as we use mortars or molcajetes. Here they also got together, and performed celebrations and rituals. You will feel them still around us as you walk down the path to find the Solsticio (solstice), Hombre Enraizado (rooted man, he really looks as if he had deep roots), the Cueva del Indio (cave of the indian) and the Solecitos (little suns). You may camp here too, for the site has facilities like parking, campings sites, palapas and grills.
Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes and clothing to walk on mountain trails. Bring water and be careful with the sun and the snakes in the summer. As you visit El Vallecito pay attention to the signs and don’t use the flash, you will ruin the rock paintings. Help us take care of our history!
The interpretative trail is 2 km long. The walking is not difficult but can be challenging for people with reduced mobility.
You may visit El Vallecito Wednesday through Sunday. On Sundays the entrance is free, the rest of the days the entrance is free for kids under 13, students, teachers and people with Inapam credential.
The site offers guided tours or you may walk on the marked trail on your own. If you enjoy nature, they offer palapas and grills, plus a camping site. There are toilet facilities next to the museum.
Check the INAH
page to learn more about El Vallecito
. If you are interested on the Kumiai people you may also visit the Museo Comunitario en Tecate
Location of El Vallecito
The archaeological site of El Vallecito is 58 km from Tecate in the direction of Mexicali. To get there, take Federal Highway No. 2 (Tijuana-Mexicali), and at km. 73.5 you will find the restaurant El Chipo. Turn north to follow the dirt road. If you arrive on the Mexicali-Tijuana highway, at kilometer 67.5 take the turnoff to the right and follow a kilometer along the same dirt road.