Go Deeper: Caving into Costa Rica’s Underworld

Caving into Costa Rica’s underworld is an uncommon yet exciting way to explore the country’s deep caves and dark abysses. Formed for about 20 to 70 million years ago when parts of the country were still submerged, some of these caverns have now been unearthed and continuously explored by first-time explorers and spelunkers alike.

While Costa Rica is certainly more popularly known and flocked for their beaches, nature reserves and parks, the caves of this country are surely one of the treasures that would still leave you breathless. So if you’re done with zip-lining, kayaking, hiking or riding your 4×4, caving into Costa Rica’s underworld should be one to be crossed off your to-do-lists.


Caves Tour

Barra Honda Caverns Tour

The most famous in all of Costa Rica, the Barra Honda Caverns are a good spot for spelunkers. With different caves of pure limestone foundations, climbers and explorers of all levels will get to enjoy the natural silence and encompassing darkness only caves can give. The Nicoya, Santa Ana, Terciopelo, La Trampa and Pozo Hediondo caves all vary in depth and size so it’s up to you which ones you’d like to explore in the Barra Honda area.

An extraordinary experience awaiting cave explorers is a chance to see multitudes of bats leaving the Pozo Hediondo caves 30 minutes after sunset.

Rates in this area are quite pricey considering the popularity of these caves. Even if it’s priced at $99 per person, the experience of witnessing astounding stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as diverse wildlife is simply priceless.


The Venado Caves Tour

Situated near the Arenal Volcano–Costa Rica’s most active volcano, the dripstone Venado caves are also a hotspot for delving into the dark and thrilling unknown. These Costa Rican caverns which were first discovered in 1942 by two hunters are wet but delightfully warm.

Getting to the entrance of the caves can be quite a challenge because you have to brave your way through thick, high-rising trees, climb over rocks and do a bit of swimming. You know you’ve reached the entry when it’s between two big trees with a small river flowing right through it.

Caving into Costa Rica’s underworld through the Venado Caves is very exciting considering majority of the caves are not illuminated and are still as aboriginal as they can get. Another thrilling experience is you get to see fossilized seashell formations on the cave walls as well as four different species of bats.

At a cheaper rate of $65 per person, the Venado Caves are as equally satisfying as exploring the Barra Honda Caverns.


Tour Inclusions

If you’re not a spelunker and a rookie at venturing into caves, you don’t have to worry about the equipment because they have it there. An expert and bilingual tour guide will be escorting you throughout the adventure, explaining the formations, sights and wildlife you’ll be encountering along the way. A tip is it’s best not to turn your flashlights off as the enveloping darkness and deafening silence can be quite a scare.

Costa Rica’s caverns are becoming more and more appreciated along with all the other activities and sights offered by this coastal country. Caving into Costa Rica’s underworld is a rare opportunity thrill-seekers shouldn’t miss if ever they’re in town.


Getting There 

Barra Honda Caverns. Take the Interamerican Highway to the Tempisque Bridge all the way to Santa Ana. As for public transportation, there is no direct bus that will bring you there. You can get a bus from San Jose to Nicoya and take the one bus that goes all the way to Santa Ana which is about 30 minutes away by foot from the park.

Venado Caves. From San Jose, you can take the blue route going through San Miguel, Muelle all the way to La Fortuna. The roads are quite easy, just follow the signs and before you know it, you’re already within the vicinity.



Places to Stay Near Costa Rica’s Caves 

Harbor Reef Hotel

La Mansion Inn Arenal

Arenal Lodge





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