Pedro Luca, a 79-year-old man from Argentina is what you would call a 21st century caveman. He has been living in a grotto high up in the mountains of Tucuman Province for the last 4 decades.
Pedro says he had always wanted to live isolated in the middle of nature, even as a young boy. He was born and raised in San Pedro de Colalao, a small town about three-hours walking distance from his current home, but left home at 14 to make a living by transporting coal to Bolivia. When he cam back, 40 years ago, he decided to go through with his childhood dream, and set up camp in a mountain grotto, where he has been living ever since.
“Alcohol and violence can ruin a man,” Pedro says, remembering his days spent in civilization. “I prefer the wild. Now my only family are the animals.” He shares his cave home with 11 chickens and 2 goats who roam the mountainside all day long and return to the cave at nigh, seeking shelter from mountain lions and other predators living in the area.
Photo: La Gaceta
The hermit’s day always begins at 3 a.m., when he wakes up to the crows of his roosters. The first thing he does is light the fire, and after eating his all-organic breakfast, he either picks up his rifle to go hunting through the mountains, or embarks on a three-hour trek to San Pedro de Colalao. For the small tourist town, Pedro Luca is a living legend and an inspiration. “Every town he comes down from his cave, people welcome him with open arms,” his nephew, Juan Carlos, says. “He has never troubled anyone, he is a good man.”
After picking up his pension of around $100, Pedro buys supplies for himself and his animal companions, and mingles with the locals and tourists before heading back up to his mountain home. It’s a long walk, but he enjoys it very much.
Photo: La Gaceta
While most people claim they couldn’t survive without modern technology, Pedro Luca does it without basic amenities like electricity, gas, running water or telephone. His only gadget is an old battery-powered radio, which mostly serves a decorative purpose, as he can rarely catch a signal in the mountains.
Ironically, even though he has always wanted to live in isolation, Pedro Luca gets plenty of visitors. His nephew told The Associated Press that people from all around the world travel to Tucuman just to see famous legendary modern-day caveman, and children from the local school go on organized trips to see him and gift him supplies. Their reaction is always the same: “the legend is real”.
“I never asked myself why I chose to live here, there was another cave nearby but I liked this one better,” Pedro jokingly told AP reporters. “Sometimes, I think that I would have liked to travel the world, see Europe. But there’s a lot of sea in the middle of it all and you have to have the time to cross that sea.”
Pedro Luca isn’t the first cave dweller we’ve featured on Oddity Central, although he’s definitely doing it for longer than most. In 2012 we wrote about Daniel Suelo, who gave up money to live in the caves of the Utah Desert, and last year we posted the story of Du Meiying, a Chinese woman who had been living in a cave for two years. And then there’s the 30 million Chinese living in cave homes known as “yaodong”.