Remember watching the movie “Journey to the Center of the Earth”? Well if you enjoy spelunking or just recreational caving, who knows – you might end up at an unexplored depth of nature. Check out some of the most exciting caves around the world that will have your mind blown.
Mexico – Cenote Caves
Known as the Mecca for cavern and cave diving since 1987, this underground water system of the Riviera Maya is well known to attract divers to explore new varieties of fauna & underground life and students around the continent for a spring break dip.
Divers call it the “Haunted Underworld”, since they have bones and skeletons that date back to the Mayan Empire. Before the archaeologists begin their dives, a traditional ceremony is performed by the local shaman. Its purpose is to ask the gods for permission to enter the Cenote, and to placate the cenote’s legendary guardian—an enormous feathered serpent with a horse’s head that the locals believe will snatch children who get too close.
Best time to Visit : March & April
Vietnam – Son Doong Cave
Recently discovered in 2009, the Son Doong is known as the largest cave in the world. Located near the Laos-Vietnam border, the biggest chamber is more than 5kms long and 600 feet high. It is so large that a Boeing 747 can fly through this cavern. As you approach the jungle just outside the entrance, the rush of cool wind that cascades out brings everything to life.
A local hunter once came across an opening in a limestone cliff. On noticing clouds billow out of the entrance, and hearing the sounds of a river raging from somewhere inside the cave. He never visited the place again as he forgot its exact location. Later in 2009, when two members from British Cave Research Association were visiting on a cave expeditions in the area, they were led by the same hunter who re-discovered the path the previous year while he was on a similar hunting trip.
Best time to Visit : February – April
Iceland – Skaftafell Ice Cave
Ice Caves are only found during the wintertime when the glacial rivers retract and the water freezes. Located at the foot of Vatnajökull glacier, Skaftafell is the gateway to the largest national park in Europe. The cave is accessible through a 22-foot entrance on the shoreline and are safe to enter only in winter when the cold temperatures harden the ice.
Or does your anatomy not support cold and freezing temperatures? No Problem Iceland still welcomes you to explore one of the majestic waterfalls such as the Svartifoss waterfalls which is surrounded by dark lava columns. There are also similar formations throughout Iceland, including a small cave on the beach of Reynisdrangar.
Best time to Visit : April – June
New Zealand – Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Known as the top most attraction in the North Island of New Zealand, the Waitomo Caves are just a 2 hour drive from Rotorua. Marvel at Mother Nature’s light display, as you cruise past this galaxy of tiny living lights.
Best time to Visit : February – August
Alaska – Valdez Glacier Cave
Here is another reason to have Alaksa as a part of your bucket list apart from viewing the Northern Lights and the whales of the Bering sea. Known for hiking across numerous glaciers and ice caves, the Columbia & Worthington Glaciers at Valdez attracts travelers and hikers from around the world to take a kayak on hire and row amid these caverns of ice.
Best time to Visit : December – March
Croatia – Blue Grotto
Located in the central Dalmatian archipelago, the Vis Island serves more than 10,000 tourists every year an enjoyable and relaxed holiday. The grotto is one of the best known natural beauty spots on the Adriatic sea, and can be used as a base to explore other islands along the Split belt. Similarly these grotto’s can also be viewed and explored at other places like Malta and Capri.
Best time to Visit : May, June & September
Slovenia – Postojna Cave
This 24,000 m long karst cave system in southwestern Slovenia was created by the Pivka River. You can take a train through the underground world and explore the magnificent caverns and glistening stalactite formations.
Located 9kms away is the Predjama Castle of the Renaissance period which is built into a cave. This picturesque castle is only accessible from one side and was also featured in the 1986 classic movie “Armour of God” starring Jackie Chan.
Best time to Visit : May – July
China – Reed Flute Cave
Marked almost on all itineraries to China, the Reed Flute Cave is a landmark attraction in Guangxi. Inside this water-eroded cave is a spectacular world of various stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations created by carbon deposition. It is a Chinese habit to give each formation a legendary or poetic name such as Crystal Palace, Dragon Pagoda, Virgin Forest, etc.
Best time to Visit : March – May
Jamaica – Green Grotto Caves
One of Jamaica’s most prominent natural attractions, the Green Grotto Caves is every speologist’s dream to explore. Located in the northern coast, the publicly accessible section of the cave has an undisturbed ecology. This is why it is also called as the “wild caves”.
Best time to Visit : July – September