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A Review of the Camuy Caves in Puerto Rico

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A Review of the Camuy Caves in Puerto Rico Photo © Zain Deane

The Bottom Line

Not to be missed, the ancient limestone cave system of Camuy is one of the natural wonders of Puerto Rico. An easy day trip from San Juan, you can visit Camuy on your own or take one of many tours that combine a trip to the caves with a visit to the Arecibo radio telescope nearby.

Pros

  • Beautifully lit caverns, stalagmites and stalactites make for a memorable experience.
  • Ask about the nocturnal tours of the caves, offered from 6 pm to midnight once every three months.

Cons

  • Make sure to call ahead before making the trip, as the caves can be closed on short notice.

Description

  • The caves are open Wednesday-Sunday from 8:30 am until about 5 pm (last tour at 3:30). Call 787-898-3100 for more details.
  • Driving from San Juan, take Route 22 West to Arecibo, Exit 77b, Route 129. Go south to Km 20, and follow the signs.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as the trail winds through and around a few slippery spots.

Guide Review - A Review of the Camuy Caves in Puerto Rico

For a small island, Puerto Rico has no shortage of impressive rankings. The most bioluminescent bay in the world; the only subtropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service; and the cave system that runs through the third largest subterranean river in the world. This last marvel is what give the Camuy Caves its glory.

A tour of these magnificent caves begins with a short movie about the cave and -- a relatively new feature -- audioguides in the language of your choice. Leading each tour is a guide; I had the pleasure of having superintendent and biologist Carlos Morales on my trip, and he proved a fountain of knowledge about the caves and the land around them.

After receiving your audioguide, hop aboard a bright orange mini train that will lead you down through the dense foliage to the cave entrance.

The quarter-mile trail from here takes you past limestone caverns that have been formed over millennia. From the awesome breadth of Cueva Clara to the curious natural formations interpreted by human imagination, the easy-to-walk trek lasts about an hour and offers plenty of "ooh-aah" moments. The Taíno Indians once used these caves to shelter in, and they have left behind traces of their occupancy. Even now, what you see is only a glimpse of the ten miles of tunnels formed by the Camuy River.

You can head to Camuy on your own by car, or take one of many tours that make the trip there. Most tours give you the added benefit of a trip to the equally magnificent Arecibo telescope, which gives Puerto Rico another ranking to be proud of: it's the largest single dish radio telescope in the world. Among the tour companies that come here are Sunshine Tours, Eco Action Tours, and Countryside Tours.

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