If you’re a serious outdoor adventure lover and you haven’t yet tried caving, this summer is a great time to remedy that situation. Caving (also known as spelunking), inherently comes with a real sense of danger, so it’s certainly recommended that you start out with smaller, well-traveled caves with experienced cavers. However, as your experience and comfort levels increase, you may want to start checking off some of the world’s best caves on your spelunking list. Here are some of the best caving destinations on the planet.
“The Cave Connection”
Sagada, in the Philippines, has plenty of gorgeous sites to see above the ground, but below the city, you’ll find the famous Sumaguing and Lumiang caves. An intricate network, known as the “Cave Connection,” links the two caves and provides hours-long treks where cavers can explore the tunnels and cathedral-like tunnels that lie beneath the city. If you can, try to visit during the dry season, which runs from December to May.
Thrihnukagigur has the honor of being the only volcanic cave that you can actually explore. Cavers will need to hike for nearly an hour to reach the top of the volcano’s rim, then drop 400 feet into the center of the volcanic chamber by way of a cable lift. From there, they can explore the cave’s chambers. This particular excursion comes with a bit of a price tag, though, and you can plan to spend at least $300 (USD).
California, United States
Caves can be inherently spooky places. If you easily get the jitters, you might want to skip Moaning Cavern in Vallecito, California. The cave’s most intense tour will send cavers down to a depth of 410 feet, with some portions requiring you to get on your hands and knees and crawl. All the while, you’ll hear mysterious moaning sounds emanating from all directions, making this option one of the creepiest experiences you’ll ever encounter underneath the ground.
If you’d rather skip the creepy stuff and move right onto gorgeous scenery, Crystal Cave in Mexico is probably more your speed. Crystal Cave is home to some of the world’s largest gems and crystals, making it one of the most beautiful natural sights you’re likely to encounter. There is a trade-off for that beauty, though. The cave lies below a major magma deposit, so temperatures in the cave frequently exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, cavers are required to wear special spelunking suits that are insulated with ice packs and special respirators. Plus, they’re only allowed in the cave for 20 minutes at a time.