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Best cities/countries for cave watching in the world

Updated: Sep 12, 2023


Best cities/countries for cave watching in the world

A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground, specifically a space large enough for a human to enter. Caves often form by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. The word cave can refer to smaller openings such as sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos, that extend a relatively short distance into the rock and they are called exogene caves. Caves which extend further underground than the opening is wide are called endogene caves.

Son Doong, Vietnam

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Son Doong, Vietnam

After further research they claimed Son Doong to be the largest cave in the world. Other spectacular features make Son Doong an amazing place; underground rivers, huge formations, dolines or skylights, ancient fossils, unique species of fish and insects, plants and trees inside the cave. The world-famous Son Doong Cave in central Vietnam has been ranked fourth out of the world's 10 places still not fully explored by Canadian travel site The Travel.


Pak Ou, Laos

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Pak Ou, Laos

Pak Ou Caves, if translated means Caves at the Mouth of the Ou River. However, there is an even older name, one more familiar to the locals. It is called Tam Ting Caves, meaning Caves of a thousand Buddhas.


Pindaya, Myanmar

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Pindaya, Myanmar

The Pindaya Caves, located next to the town of Pindaya, Shan State, Burma are a Buddhist pilgrimage site and a tourist attraction located on a limestone ridge in the Myelat region. The area is part of the ancestral homeland of the Danu people.


The Cenotes, Mexico

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The Cenotes, Mexico

The vast majority of the cenotes are located in the Yucatan Peninsula and have a very porous limestone soil that, when it collapses due to the rain and current of the underground rivers, gives rise to the formation of the cenotes. The word cenote means “sinkhole,” or limestone sinkhole, but they are essentially natural fresh water pools. Many are connected by underground rivers, and located in the Riviera Maya. Some are above ground, and some are underwater caves with unique geological formations.


Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

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Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

The Cave of the Crystals is a natural marvel in Chihuahua, Mexico. Its main chamber houses some of the largest natural crystals ever discovered, hence the name. The magma within makes the cave unbearably hot and humid, and thus it remains largely unexplored. Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed to visit the Cave of Crystals. The hot and humid conditions make this particular cave a hazardous place to visit, and even scientists need a special permit to enter the cave. You can learn about the various formations there at the online Mineralogy Museum of Mexico.


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Oudomxay, Laos

Chom Ong Cave is a cave system located in Oudomxay Province, in the north of Laos. Featuring a length of more of 16 km, it ranks now as the longest cave in Northern Laos and is one of the top 10 in all Laos. The system stretches along a 4 km long mountain ridge and has a parallel running and interconnecting fossil and river passage. In two explorations (2009 and 2010) it was explored to a length of 16.4 km with several wide open side passages remaining.


Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

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Chapada Diamantina, Brazil

Chapada Diamantina National Park is not nearly as famous as the coastal parts of Brazil. Deep inland, surrounded by table mountains, semi-deserts, canyons, gorges and ravines, the region hides one of the most beautiful caves in the world. Two of them - Blue Pool and Enchanted Pool - are filled with crystal clear, intensively blue waters. The other, Torrinha Cave, one of the biggest and most impressive in Brazil boasts with huge chambers full of cave formations and to walk it through takes around 2 hours.


Blombos Cave, South Africa

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Blombos Cave, South Africa

Blombos Cave is famous for its contributions to our understanding of symbolism and cognition in early modern humans. These finds includes the discovery of the world's oldest drawing, engravings and shell beads. Blombos Cave is known as the cradle of human culture. The Blombos Cave was occupied by hunter-gatherers from about 100,000 years ago. Blombos Cave contains the Middle Stone Age levels that show some of the earliest evidence for modern human behavior in southern Africa.


Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

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Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

Famous for their abundance of glow worms, extensive underground river system and stunning stalactite and stalagmites formations, a trip to the Waitomo caves is a trip to another world. If you are pressed for time, the Waitomo Glowworm Cave clocks in at 45 minutes and Aranui Cave takes one hour. Arrive at least 15 minutes before each tour and you've got a perfect half-day of cave exploration, plus time for coffee and cake at the Homestead before hitting the road.


The Blue Grotto, Italy

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The Blue Grotto, Italy

The Blue Grotto, otherwise known as the Grotta Azzura is a cave just off the coast from Capri. More than just an empty rock face, the grotto has become one of the most famous natural attractions in Southern Italy for its enchanting bright blue waters. It is best to visit the Blue Grotto on a sunny day between the hours of noon to 2 pm, during this period thanks to the most intense sunlight, the most intense color comes and it illuminates the interior of the grotto the best.


Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

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Škocjan Caves, Slovenia

Škocjan Caves is a cave system in Slovenia. Due to its exceptional significance, Škocjan Caves was entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural World Heritage Sites in 1986. International scientific circles have thus acknowledged the importance of the caves as one of the natural treasures of planet Earth.


The Marble Cathedral, Chile

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The Marble Cathedral, Chile

While these caves are called the marble caves, they are actually made up of 95% calcium carbonate. The caves are a mineral formation that were eroded by water long ago to form them. The ocean waves lapping at the calcium carbonate over a course of 6,000 years is what made these beautiful structures look how they do. If you want to see some of the most beautiful sculptures in the whole world carved by Mother Nature herself, you need to check out the Marble Caves, in Chile. Known across the world as the most stunning and intricate cave network on Earth, the Cuevas de Marmol is a 6,000 year old cavern made of solid marble.


Thrihnukagigur, Iceland

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Thrihnukagigur, Iceland

Thrihnukagigur is a dormant volcano in the volcanic system of Brennisteinsfjöll near Reykjavík, Iceland. Covering a 3,270 square metres area and a depth of 213 meters, it has not erupted in the past 4000 years. It was discovered in 1974 by cave explorer Árni B Stefánsson, and opened for tourism in 2012. Thrihnukagigur Volcano is the only spot on earth where it's advisable to explore a magma chamber from the inside. The volcano has not erupted for 4.000 years and shows no signs of coming to life anytime soon, so it is safe to enter.


Musanze Caves, Rwanda

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Musanze Caves, Rwanda

The Musanze Cave is 2km long and the most frequently visited. It is on the Innes University grounds and lies in the volcanic region dating back 65 million years, where the lava flows contributed to the Albertine Rift Valley. The cave is part of the lava basaltic layers from the Bisoke and Sabyinyo volcanoes. The cave has 31 entrances, most being roof collapses. The main cave has an entrance the size of a cathedral and is home to a sizeable bat colony. The collapses create an incredible array of coloured shafts of light shining into the cave.


Fingal’s Cave, Scotland

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Fingal’s Cave, Scotland

Fingal's Cave owes its modern reputation to an 1829 visit by composer Felix Mendelssohn, who was overcome with the cave's incredible acoustics. After returning from his trip, he wrote the opening piano melody from his concert overture The Hebrides on a postcard, which he sent to his sister. Known as Uamh-Binn, or The Cave of Melody, in the common imagination it has always been linked to the Giant's Causeway of Northern Ireland. According to the legend, the two places are the opposite ends of an ancient bridge built by the benevolent Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill.


Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA

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Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA

One of the seven wonders of the new world, the cave has been attracting visitors for more than 125 years. Mammoth Cave played an interesting part in the early American history. Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the world's longest known cave system. Mammoth Cave is a limestone labyrinth with more than 400 miles of it explored, and the park estimates a potential for another 600 miles in its system. It's hard to beat the majesty of Mammoth Cave, but the park is close to several other attractions that are well worth a visit, especially if you're traveling with kids.


Carlsbad Caverns National Park, USA

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park, USA

These caves exhibit worldwide significance due to their size, their unique origin, and the abundant diversity and beauty of the decorative rock formations. Carlsbad Caverns is one of the best preserved and most accessible cave complexes in the world available for scientific study and public access. However, with 412 miles mapped, Mammoth Cave is the longest surveyed cave in the entire world. By comparison, Carlsbad Cavern has about 33 surveyed miles, nowhere near the size of Mammoth Cave. So each cave is bigger and smaller than the other.


Sarawak Chamber, Malaysia

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Sarawak Chamber, Malaysia

Sarawak Chamber is the largest known cave chamber in the world by area and the second largest by volume after the Miao Room in China. It is in Gua Nasib Bagus, which is located in Gunung Mulu National Park, in the Malaysian Territory of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Sarawak Chamber stretches 600 m in length by 415 m wide and 80 m high.


Sarawak Chamber, Malaysia

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Reed Flute Cave, China

The cave has a great number of various exquisite stalagmites, stalactites, stone pillars and stone curtain, which have been forming since 180 million years ago. So it is also known as "the Palace of Natural Art". The Reed Flute Cave boasts bodies of water, extraordinary stalagmite and stalactite formations, as well as a number of ink inscriptions dating back to the 8th century. The sheer number of rock formations, paired with their variance in form and color, has led to the cave being deemed The Palace of Natural Arts.


Eisriesenwelt Cave, Austria

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Eisriesenwelt Cave, Austria

Eisriesenwelt is literally translated as "World of Ice Giants". It is a natural monument located near the small Austrian town of Werfen, 15 miles from Salzburg. It is a real hidden treasure, nestled just within Tennengebirge massif at 1,641 meters above sea level. The cave is a 26-mile-long maze of caves, made of rocks and ice that offer one of the most amazing spectacles of nature. It is the largest ice cave in the world, extending more than 42 km and visited by about 200,000 tourists every year.


Caves of Meghalaya, India

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Caves of Meghalaya, India

The Caves of Meghalaya comprise a large number of caves in the Jaintia, Khasi Hills, and Garo Hills districts in the Indian state of Meghalaya, and are amongst the longest caves in the world. Of the ten longest and deepest caves in India, the first nine are in Meghalaya, while the tenth is in Mizoram. The longest is Krem Liat Prah in the Jaintia Hills, which is 30,957 m (101,600 ft) long. The word "Krem" means cave in the local Khasi language. The exploration of the Caves of Meghalaya is currently undertaken for both scientific and recreational pursuits, and there are still many unexplored and partially explored caves in the state.


Caves of Sagada, Philippines

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Caves of Sagada, Philippines

In the mountain town of Sagada is where more than 60 caves can be found, and one of them is the well-known attraction called Sumaguing cave. You'll witness numerous rock formations inside that slowly formed nature. The Sumaguing Cave is the biggest one in Sagada. Sagada is known for its scenic and calming mountain valleys, rice fields, limestone caves, refreshing waterfalls, and cliffs that come with a sea of clouds. Add to that the friendly Igorot locals, fresh servings of food, coffee, and lemon pies.


[From sources across the web]



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