Caves around the world that are worth visiting. Choose a standard tour of the Green Grotto in Jamaica or an adventure option in the Cango Caves in South Africa. Keep in mind that this is just a small pick of caves and that there are many more to explore as a tourist. Here are some of the once we have entered.
PS: It can be cold down in the caves so if you are planning a visit, be sure to bring a thick sweater or a jacket.
First things first… What is what?
Stalagmite = Drip rock formation that forms from the bottom up. Starting on the ground and going upward. Look like inverted icicles.
Stalactite = Drip rock formation that forms from top to bottom. Starting from the ceiling and going downwards. Look like icicles.
Slovenia – Postojna Cave
The world’s longest cave that is open to the public with its 5.3 kilometers to explore. The visit begins at a railway station which takes you 2.5 km into the mountain. Then you walk around with a guide that provides you information about the cave and its history. Inside the cave there is a concert hall that can accommodate up to 10 000 people and there is also a post office. If you want to see a very strange animal, Proteus, this is where you need to go. This is the only cave in the world who have the Proteus living inside the cave.
Poland – Wieliczka Salt Mine
During World War II the Germans used this salt mine as storage and for the production of war materials. In 1978 the salt mine in Wieliczka became one of the first World Heritage sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. That it has been in use since the 1300 and up until now makes it one of the world’s oldest salt mines still in operation. Get down 130 meters below ground and join a guided walk for three kilometers. During this tour you will see the endless sculptures made out of salt. The highlight is the ballroom where everything from floor to ceiling is made out of salt, even the chandelier.
Slovakia – Dobšinská ice cave
Slovakia’s biggest cave and one of the world’s most famous ice cave. Because it is always cold in the cave, it is frozen all year round and in the thickest place the ice is 26.5 meters thick. All stalagmites and columns formed in the cave are all made of ice and occasionally you go through tunnels where there is ice from floor to ceiling. It takes a while to get from the car park to the entrance of the cave but it’s definitely worth getting there.
Sweden – Tykarpsgrottan
A 10,000 m² maze, all man-made between the year 1700 and 1888. Here farmers and maids used to work and break limestone. Today the cave is open to tourists but it is also the home to several species of bats that come here during the winter months. Join a guided tour down the limestone mine and see what places Tage Danielsson made use of during the filming of the movie Ronia: The Robber’s Daughter in 1984.
Gibraltar – Saint Michael’s Cave
During World War II this cave was supposed to be used as a hospital but for some reason that did not happen. This is a beautiful cave full of stalagmites and stalactites that are very impressive. Here you do not have a guided tour, you just wander around on your own. In the main hall the lighting changes in all imaginable colors and loud music is occasionally played.
Jamaica – Green Grotto
A cave with a very rich history. It was in this cave that the slaves hid and stayed in order to get away from the slave-drivers. The cave was also a place for firearms smuggling. Despite its grim history the cave is probably most famous for being the location for the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die”. The cave is green at some places due to the vegetation outside, hence the name Green Grotto.
Curacao – Hato Caves
Like the cave in Jamaica, Hato Cave on the Caribbean island of Curacao was used as a hideout for slaves and they spend several months at a time down in the caves. To get into the cave outside of Willemstad, you need to make you’re way up the stairs, something that can be problematic if you have limited mobility. Once inside the cave, listen to your guide as you will hear many fascinating and interesting stories about the cave.
South Africa – Cango Caves
If you are daring you are most likely to love this cave. This is a real adventure tour where you pass through several challenging and tight spaces including “the mail slot”, “chimney” and “love tunnel” (where the tunnel becomes narrower and ‘squeezes’ you). For those of you who want to see the cave, but are not quite as adventurous, there is also a regular tour where you are walking a guided tour and get information about this beautiful cave with stalagmites and stalactites.