Exploring Caves in Puerto Rico
Get off the beaten path on an underground adventure.
The caves of Puerto Rico offer adventurous visitors the opportunity to go hiking, spelunking, rock climbing, rappelling, or rafting in some of the less visited parts of the island.
Wade through narrow rock openings waist deep in an underground river with only a headlamp for illumination. Rappel through the mouth of a cavern alongside a giant waterfall. Discover indigenous hieroglyphs after a climb. Or, if you're looking for an easy hike and some stunning pictures, that’s readily available, too. Visiting the caves of Puerto Rico offers diverse and unique ways of experiencing the island which not many tourists or even locals know about. Here are some of the best caves you can explore while visiting Puerto Rico.
One of the most recognizable caves in Puerto Rico isn't underground but instead looks out over the Rio Grande de Arecibo valley, creating a window-like opening on the sheer rock face of a mountain. This unique framing of the valley, river, and town below earned the cave its name, Cueva Ventana (Window Cave), and both locals and visitors eagerly snap photos of the Instagram-worthy view from the cave's opening.
Aventura Cueva Ventana is the ecotourism company that offers guided hikes of the cave, with a special rate for residents of Puerto Rico.
Cañon de Tanamá
Deep in the mountainous region of Puerto Rico is the Tanamá river of Utuado and over millions of years its flowing waters have carved a network of caverns, canyons, and tunnels in the limestone cliffs. Several ecotourism companies lead caving, cave tubing, rappelling, hiking, and rock-climbing tours in this area, among them Aventuras Tierra Adentro, Tanama River Adventure, Tanama Tours, Cacique EcoAdventures, and others. All will require participants to be in excellent physical condition, but level of difficulty and type of activities varies according to the operator and the tour you choose.
Cueva del Viento
Located inside the Guajataca State Forest in the northwestern town of Isabela, Cueva del Viento, the Wind Cavern, is easily accessible via trails originating at the parking area and ranger station at KM 9 on Route 446. Once you reach the entrance of the cave, there are steps leading down but inside there is no illumination or guardrails, so bring sturdy footwear and flashlights, if you want to explore the cave. The cave is made of limestone, with beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations. Be warned the cave is also home to many, many bats.
This cave in the small municipality of Florida is the entryway to an elaborate cavern system that spans several of the northern towns of the karst region of Puerto Rico. Underground the Rio Encantado, which translates to the Enchanted River, has created a surreal landscape of stalactites, stalagmites, giant rock columns and subterranean waterfalls that follow the flowing water for miles. This cave is an area protected by The Puerto Rico Conservation Trust and visits to the cave are managed by the organization Para La Naturaleza, so you’ll need to book a guided trip to see this place.
Cuevas El Convento
The caves and gorges that compose Cuevas El Convento, including their namesake Cueva El Convento (Convent Cave), are part of the El Convento Natural Protected Area. The caverns are wide and full of stalactites and stalagmite jutting out of the floor and ceiling like jagged teeth. The bats who call this cave home are the only native mammal left in Puerto Rico. Visiting Cuevas El Convento is also organized through Para La Naturaleza.
Cueva del Indio
Right on the roaring Atlantic coast is Cueva del Indio, or Indian Cave, named after the indigenous hieroglyphs found carved into the rocks. The entrance fee is $5 and will give you access to impressive cliffs, views of crashing waves, and a natural bridge formed from rocks. Prior to Hurricane María, there was a ladder leading down to the cave which is now gone. Experienced climbers can still make the descent down to the cave where there are rock carvings made by the Taínos, the tribe that lived on the island before the arrival of Columbus and the Spanish.
Note: Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy, which offers access to the largest cave network in the Western hemisphere, is currently closed. A potential reopening date has not been set. However, there are many other exciting and beautiful caves to visit throughout the island.