Caving Vacations: 4 of the Best Destinations in the World

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Want to explore the underworld? Fortunately, hundreds of cool spelunking trips and cave tours can give you a thrilling experience and allow you to explore the most remote corners of the earth. Getting to create memories from going somewhere new – isn’t that what life is about? Expect to enjoy your trip thoroughly, because with the tour guides, everything for your future caving vacations is organized exceptionally well.

Below are our top 4 picks. You will see that you can plan safe caving vacations, run by experts and special companies filled with like-minded caving enthusiasts.

1 – Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

A Tour guide and group of cavers gaze at the rock formations inside the Carlsbad Caverns caves.

Carlsbad Caverns is a world-renowned national park in southeastern New Mexico.

In Carlsbad Caverns, the Guadalupe Mountains rise to heights of 8,749 feet (2666 meters). The show cave, opened almost everyday of the year, is the primary attraction of this park. It is also one of the oldest cave systems in the world.

Due to Covid-19, these days entrance tickets may be limited. You have to arrive early, as the tickets often sell out by 9:00 AM.

If you are concerned about the risks, don’t worry. The authorities at the park ensure social distancing for visitors by allowing only 25 visitors to enter the cavern every 15 minutes.

If you are new, opt for ranger-guided cave tours. These are very helpful for mitigating challenging situations and still providing an exciting experience. However, there is high demand for the ranger-guided tours as well. It is pertinent to plan and reserve your spot early.

Apart from this, there are a few things to remember. You can’t participate in the cave tour if you don’t have proper footwear. Avoid sandals or tennis shoes, since these shoes cannot typically handle the rough surface of the cave. You will require hiking boots with good ankle support.

This cave system also has an enormous chamber which is around 4,000 feet (1220 meters) large, the third-largest in North America.

Along with your boots, water, and other gear, don’t forget your cameras! Some of these chambers are the best spots for photography, and you will want to show all your friends once you’re back.

2 – Ape Cave, Washington

Picture of stairway inside the Ape Cave.

Looking for unusual hikes and caves in Washington? Check out the Ape Cave.

The Ape Cave is an interesting name, because it’s actually a lava tube. You hike up a lava tube and return via a surface trail. The trail takes you through forests with mesmerizing views, but keep in mind that once you are in the lava tube, a good headlamp and lack of claustrophobia are necessary.

You might feel locked in a windowless room, or walking on a congested highway. The formation of the lava tube and the tight corridors might be uncomfortable for some.

Apart from this, thousands of bats used to live in Ape Cave. Fortunately, only a few remain. But their mere presence and unexpected noise could startle you. How often do you ever see a bat, really?

Don’t worry too much, though. They often fly by if bothered, but they usually won’t get tangled in your hair or touch you in any away. They do their best to avoid you, rather than come directly at you.

If you’re up for excitement and possibly reenacting Bruce Wayne’s childhood scene in Batman Begins during one of your cave tours, this is the place to go.

“I’m going to build an Ape Cave” doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?

One good aspect about the Ape Cave is you can either go uphill or downhill. If you feel experienced and want to take the longer and more difficult option, go uphill. Its trail is paved to the opening of the cave. The downhill trail is a relatively short distance. There will be an iron stairway that will take you to the bottom of the cave.

Having these options will make this one of your more memorable caving vacations, because you can come back when you are more experienced and try something new.

You can learn more about the Ape Cave here.

3 – El Capitan Cave, Alaska

Entrance to El Capitan Cave and a Warning sign posted outside

Are you sick of sitting at home in hot, dry weather? El Capitan Cave in Alaska is a chilly, wet, and muddy experience – everything you want (perhaps without the mud).

This is one of the longest caves in the world and has more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of passage mapped from the center. There are many other caves near its location but none of them offer a hands-on experience like El Capitan Cave.

It is a magnificent sight, and also gets pretty tough as you go deeper.

The Forest Service employees give free guided tours of this cave to protect it against vandalism and possible damages, often caused by inexperienced cavers. They can answer all your questions and direct you towards the best sites so that you can have a personal look at its exceptional formation and features.

This cave also attracts many passionate and experienced cavers since archaeologists discovered some prominent fossils inside.

Recently scientists discovered a 10,750 year-old skeleton of a large female black bear. If these kinds of discoveries interest you, you will surely enjoy the experience at El Capitan Cave.

Experts believe the cave is 400 million years old, and contains marine fossils, limestone compositions, and more. It’s no wonder that this made our list of top caving vacations.

4 – Great Blue Hole, Belize

An aerial view of the Great Blue Hole of Belize, with the vast blue sky and ocean behind it.

Last but not least, is The Great Blue Hole. It may sound strange, but it is aptly named. We’re talking about a giant marine sinkhole, that goes 400 feet (124 meters) deep!

This sinkhole is near the center of Lighthouse Reef. According to scientists, it formed during glacial events when the cavern was above sea level.

Fortunately, many outfits offer a tour to this diving spot. People are lured by the opportunity to dive in and find many fish species, such as the Caribbean Reef Shark. You will love going for a full-day trip. If you visit the Great Blue Hole with coastal tourist communities, you will have the opportunity to dive in the Blue Hole and swim through the Half Moon Caye Wall as well.

A scuba diver admires the scenery underwater at Half Moon Caye Wall.

Apart from fish, you can see some other great things in this hole too, such as ‘Stalactites‘.

These are minerals shaped like icicles. However, to find them , you have to dive roughly 407 feet into the hole. Other than the interesting rock formations, one of the craziest things you can find is the hydrogen sulfide layer. It cuts out the light incredibly well – not so good for those who are afraid of the dark!

It goes without saying that a voyage to the deep is not something most cave tours can boast, so expect to create a memory you can cherish for the rest of your life.


In all the above caves, you’ll find lots of sparkling mineral formations.

Some of them have underground waterways, rare plants, and wildlife too. In the guided tours, you get to learn everything about them, including the history and how the first spelunkers made their way to them, or how they were originally used. But make sure you try a guided tour before you plan any caving vacations on your own, for maximum safety.

All these destinations are incredible for either a first trip or a more experienced spelunker. It should prove a good getaway during this uncertain climate, something we could all use. Which one will you go to first? Make sure you take a lot of pictures, and if you’ve already been, please tell us about your experiences in the comments!

And once you’re even more experienced, and want to take your spelunking underwater, we’ve got some of the most famous underwater caves listed here for you.

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