Are you keen to find out about the most amazing caves in Cuba? There is something truly remarkable about descending into the depths of the earth. And to be surrounded by cold ancient rock that has been there for hundreds of thousands of years. Cuba has network of caves that can be easily explored and are perhaps more ‘user friendly’.
The country has recognised the archaeological importance of their cave network and so has protected them. They have also enacted safety measured so that they can be explored by visitors of all ages and fitness levels.
So what are some of the best caves in the country, just waiting to be explored?
Head to Viñales for the Best Caves in Cuba
The sleepy town of Viñales is a few hours from Havana is home to some of the best caves in Cuba. It’s the home to much of the tobacco that goes into those iconic Cuban cigars. However the surrounding national park also draws a lot of visitors. Viñales is at the centre of the Sierra de los Órganos. Home to three of the most popular caves in Cuba. There are also a number of smaller, lesser-known caves which can only be accessed with a guided tour. A great way to escape the heat at the height of summer! Also some of these caves have natural underground lakes in which you can swim in.
Please only explore these caves with a guide. This is a must! Guides can be hired in Viñales if you haven’t already arranged one. DO NOT attempt to find and access caves on your own.
Cuevas del Indio
Cuevas del Indio or ‘the Indian Caves’ is a great place to start. This is because it’s not all that narrow when compared to other caves in Cuba. It has had lighting installed, as well as other safety considerations such as handrails and flattened flooring. This makes this cave an excellent choice if you’re traveling with children or anyone with mobility issues.
El Palenque de los Cimarrones
This small cave system is also an ideal choice when you want to experience being inside a cave without too much effort. Also in Viñales, El Palenque de los Cimarrones is in fact a cave that has been converted into an entertainment venue. There’s a restaurant that allows you to actually eat inside the cave. In the evenings (excluding Sunday and Monday), the cave becomes a nightclub. Cave party anyone?
Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás
Located approximately 15km out of Viñales, the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás is one of the largest caves in Cuba. To explore the cave requires a reasonable amount of effort and is perhaps not suitable for everyone. But if you decide to take the plunge, it will be something you’ll never forget. You will be given a helmet with a headlamp and will be taken into the cave by an experienced guide. The whole adventure should take a few hours, although this will only cover a fraction of its massive length.
Caves Close to Matanzas
There are other caves in Cuba than those in Viñales. Matanzas is also just a short hop from Havana and is sometimes referred to as the Venice of Cuba. Yes, you guessed it. There are a lot of canals and bridges in the town. It’s an extremely pretty place to visit. Once you’ve seen everything above the surface, it’s time to take a peek at what lies beneath.
Cuevas de Bellamar
The grand Bellamar Caves are the main drawcard in this region other than the town itself. They’re estimated to be more than 300,000 years old with some 2.5 km of caves to explore. There are breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites decorating the floor and ceiling. There is also an extensive underground waterway making its way through the caves. It culminates in a pond that is known as the Fountain of Youth.
Caves Close to Varadero
Varadero is a resort town not so far from Matanzas with a number of luxurious resorts. The cave network in this area is not so extensive. Also it generally can only be accessed as part of a guided tour. Again, please do not attempt to explore caves in this area on your own.
This cave offers a truly authentic caving experience during your Cuban holiday. It’s a small cave which features a beautiful underground swimming lake. The water is clean and clear, although also dark and quite deep in some places. It’s maybe not a great idea for anyone who has any phobias about swimming in dark waters! However it’s still an extremely refreshing way to wind down after a hot Cuban day. Even though the water is very clean, there are no fish or aquatic creatures living in it. It’s a steep climb down into the cave, so exercise caution. Be warned this cave might not be suitable for everyone.
Saturn Cave can become a little crowded on weekends during the summer months. Please remember that this is only a cave. There is no visitor centre or even anywhere to get changed into your swimsuit. It’s all very basic and rustic, but this is part of the charm!