5 Must-See Caves Around the World
If topside adventures aren’t enough to cure your lust for adrenaline, spelunking may be the sport for you. The perfect activity for globetrotters everywhere, spelunking simply refers to the exploration of caves. Whether you’re in it for the naturally-forming structures, the underwater lakes or the unique critters that thrive in darkness, there’s plenty to see and do in these hidden caverns that cover the globe. Ready to dig deeper? These top five caves are must-see spots for every adventurer.
Thrihnukagigur Volcanic Cave
Located in Reykjavik, Iceland, this dormant volcano is the only volcano in the world where visitors can descend into the magma chamber. The magma that normally would fill and seal the chamber is believed to have drained away. Today, tourists from all over the world come to hike to the crater’s rim and plummet beneath the earth’s surface.
Nearly 150 miles east of San Francisco, California sits Moaning Cavern, named for the spooky, echoing moan that has long enticed people to its entrance. While walking and rappelling tours are available in the largest area of the cave, adrenaline-seekers will appreciate the guided tours into the darker depths of the cavern. The cave extends to a depth of 410 feet and features plenty of passageways and tunnels that require some creative finagling and brave spirits.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Whether you find the natural lighting of the worms creepy or romantic, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand are a site worth seeing. The glowworms are about as big as mosquitos, and they completely fill the cave with a soft, glowing yellow light. Tours can be taken through the cave, as can boat rides along the underground river. You can sit back and enjoy the experience as you take in the incredible view of the glowing caverns.
Cave of the Crystals
Located in the Naica Mine in Chihuahua, Mexico, this cave is relatively unexplored for good reason. Although it’s filled with giant selenite crystals, creating an incredibly unique caving experience, it also reaches temperatures of 136° F with up to 99 percent humidity. Because of this, the deepest parts of the cave are only open to scientists, but you can hire a guide to take you into the unrestricted areas for a maximum time of 20 minutes.
Named for its title as the longest known cave system, this cavern located in a national park in Kentucky and extends more than 400 miles. Chock full of underground rivers, lakes and canyons, this location has a wide variety of tours available for everyone from young explorers to hardcore adventurers.
Where’s the best spot you’ve gone spelunking? Let us know in the comments below!
Credits: Photo by Olikristinn [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], Alexander Van Driessche on Wikimedia Commons & 2il org, highlander411 and Gary Tindale on Flickr & Lê Tân on Unsplash
- Outdoors Staff