The Cascada de Cueva del Gato was an interesting waterfall that originated from a stream spilling out of the mouth of the Cueva del Gato (Cat Cave). I thought of this as our waterfalling excuse to check out this intriguing cave, but it turned out that we were only able to self-tour up to the mouth of the cave. Beyond that, we needed to book an organized tour, where they'd equip us with hard hats and lights to spelunk even deeper into the dark confines of the cave itself. Interestingly enough, when viewed from afar, Julie and Tahia thought the multiple openings of the cave were such that it resembled a face with two eyes and a large mouth. On the other hand, I had read that the large opening of the mouth of the cave resembled that of a cat's face so the cave might have taken its name from this notion.
I understand that this waterfall would typically be a very popular swimming hole, especially given how hot it can get in the south of Spain. That said, since it was raining on and off during our visit in late May 2015, we were one of a handful of people that showed up until after lunch when a huge group of kids showed up. Fortunately for us, we had our fill of the falls before they showed up so we managed to experience the place in relative peace.
We started our excursion from a roadside car park (see directions below). From the car park as well as a short distance below, there was a grassy mirador (lookout) where we were able to get a contextual look at the cave opening (where Julie and Tahia thought it looked like a face). Then, we walked along a paved ramp leading down to some cafe before we followed a foot trail that then traversed a series of wooden bridges crossing over the Río Guadiaro before continuing on a footpath that went beneath a railroad then towards the fringes of the really clear plunge pool of the Cascada de Cueva del Gato where we were able to get the view you see pictured at the top of this page.
Beyond the view of the falls, the trail continued past a small cave-like alcove before ascending steps towards a ledge that looked out towards the plunge pool below while clinging to the cliff itself. There was some mild dropoff exposure here, and we had to be real careful about the wet surface, which made the ledge potentially very slippery and dangerous. A few paces closer to the cave opening, we then encountered a little catwalk that ended right above the stream and stopped short of going inside the opening of the Cueva del Gato. Signs were put up here to show what you could do inside the cave with a guided tour. However, since we didn't book such a tour (and we still had to get to Sevilla that day), this was our turnaround point.
Overall, we spent a little less than hour to take in the whole place. The walk itself probably took no more than 15 minutes in each direction. And it was probably as a result of this ease of accessibility as well as close proximity to Ronda that this was said to be one of the more popular waterfalls in Andalucian Spain.
From the city of Ronda, we drove north towards the entrance to the A-374 autovía, where we then drove for a few kilometers until we got off at the MA-7401 road (Calle de Benaoján) and followed it for about 6km to a signed car park for the Cueva del Gato on our right. This drive took us 25 minutes from the Old Town of Ronda, where we had to cross over the New Bridge and navigate the streets of the New Town before getting onto the A-374.
According to our GPS records, our route involved going north on Calle Nuevo then Calle Doctor Fleming before turning right onto Avenida Victoria then left onto Calle de Sevilla, which eventually hooked us up onto the on-ramp for A-374.
Finally, for some context, Ronda was 128km (about 2 hours drive) southeast of Sevilla (or Seville), 101km (about 90 minutes drive) west of Málaga, 180km (over 2 hours drive) west of Granada, 164km (about 2.5 hours drive or about 2 hours by trains) south of Córdoba, and 551km (over 5.5 hours drive) south of Madrid.
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