For 40 years, Pedro Luca has chosen to live in a cave. Just ’cause he can. The 79-year-old resides 3,600 feet high in the mountains of Northern Argentina surrounded by his squad of 11 roosters and two goats. Every day he’s awakened by a cacophony of roosters at 3 a.m., and he kindles the fire. “Fire is magical. It always turns on,” he told the Associated Press. Sometimes he makes the three-hour trek to the nearest village – San Pedro de Colalo – to buy yeast, candles, and corn using his government pension. Those days, he has a breakfast of mate with rolls, and then he evens out his mustache, files his nails, and wraps his face with a scarf. Other times when he’s hungry, he takes his rifle and hunts.
Though he lives relatively in isolation, Pedro is a legend. His nephew, Juan Carlos, said that Pedro’s mother died during childbirth. “My grandfather raised him,” he said. “He always wanted to live on his own. He never bothered anyone. Today, he’s a legend, an attraction for tourists. People all over the world go up to visit him, and even children go on field trips to see him. They bring him food and confirm: the myth exists.”
Up until age 14, Pedro lived in a town. But he disappeared and didn’t come back until years later. Somewhere in that time, he learned that he prefers nature, because he believes that “violence and alcohol ruins man.” Out there, he’s also lost his fear of animals – probably because he’s woken up mere feet away from vipers.
His only form of technology is a portable radio, but it’s mostly futile, since he can’t often get a signal. But he can’t complain much, because life has worked out pretty well. “In a few days, I’ll turn 80,” he said. “I never asked myself why I chose to live here. There was another cave nearby, but I liked this one better. 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 time to cross that sea.”
Check out Pedro in action below: