Some of the extreme ecotourism adventures in Colombia involve caving or spelunking. Discover the most astonishing caves you can visit in our country.
Caving is the recreational past time of exploring wild cave systems. In Colombia, Ecotourism is very popular, as the country offers a variety of beautiful landscapes and climates that are welcoming to all types of travelers. Cave explorers, for instance, have found the country to be inviting and attractive as it has beautiful and fascinating subterranean systems in the earth that are sometimes traversed by a source of water. They often range in size from single small rooms to interconnecting passages spanning many miles, and they are mainly composed of limestone. This limestone contains large amounts of calcium carbonate and is so soluble in water that, with favoring rain permeability, its components are diluted over tens of thousands of years, forming karst cavities.
Colombia has over 300 places to do caving that are rich with fauna and flora, with most located in Antioquia, Santander, Boyacá, Tolima, and Huila.
If you are interested in caving these natural beauties in Colombia, we suggest you bring along the following:
- Comfortable clothing and change of clothes as you might get wet.
- Water-resistant shoes or rubber boots.
- Bathing suit.
- Sunglasses and sunblock.
- Water and other hydrating beverages.
- High-carb food for energy.
- Photo ID and health insurance.
- Camera for amazing shots.
- Flashlight and spare batteries.
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Caving in the land of ecotourism and adventure: Huila
The Cueva de los Guacharos National Natural Park is one of the 59 protected areas in Colombia, and is the oldest National Natural Park in the country. Created in 1960, it is part of the Andean Belt Biosphere Reserve declared by UNESCO in 1979, and is located between the regions of Huila and Caquetá. The park got its name from the night birds that inhabit the deep and dark caves which can be seen or heard during the visit. They live in the darkness all day and leave the caves at night to hunt in a similar echolocation system as bats.
To visit this place and do caving, you can stop Bogota and take a one-hour flight to Pitalito, a town located in the Huila region. From there, you can take ground transportation to the municipality of Palestine, and then take a campero service to the Vereda La Mesura. As you can see, the adventure has already started, and you can enjoy a 4-hour hike or do horseback riding to get to the Cueva de los Guácharos and start caving.
Other plans you can consider while visiting this region for caving are:
Enjoy a nice walk and take some cool pictures in the Tatacoa Desert.
- Take a tour of the Tatacoa Desert and enjoy stargazing while camping at night. Also, note that the cacti in this particularly dry tropical forest can reach a height of 4 to 5 meters and be the most Instagram-worthy background for your photos!
- Visit The San Agustín Archaeological Park declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is the largest necropolis in the world, with a large group of monuments and megalithic sculptures.
- Take an ecotourism adventurous bike-ride through the municipalities of Garzón and La Jagua, which will begin on a coffee farm with a sample of delicious Colombian coffee.
El Esplendor Cave, one of the most visited for speleology
Discover all the adventures that await you in the Esplendor Cave.
This place has become one of the most attractive tourist attractions in the region of el Jardin, Antioquia. The hike to the location is spectacular, featuring breathtaking views and landscapes along the way. The green mountains, birds, cows and horses make the trip both enjoyable and entertaining. Doing caving here is magnificent, with a stunning 10-meter waterfall gushing through a large hole in the roof. It is very unique, as you don’t find a natural cave with a waterfall very often. The water is refreshingly cold and invites you to take a dip. The cascade begins about 70 meters above the entrance and it falls in various stages before pouring into a small pool at the bottom of the cave.
If you are interested in visiting this place for caving, you can start from Medellin, and rent a car or take ground transportation to the Municipality of El Jardin. This town is located 3.5 hours south of Medellin. From the terminal, you can take a Jeep to the peak of one of the hills in the area named Alto de las Flores, and then walk for about 1 hour to the cave. You can also rent a private tour from the town’s plaza or take a walk from the village which takes roughly 3 hours to the cave and 3 hours back.
Some of the activities to consider before or after caving this magnificent place are:
- Walk through the streets of Jardín and marvel at its colonial architecture with colorful twists at the doors and windows. Also, it is declared one of the 17 Heritage Towns in Colombia.
- Take a city-tour in Medellín, also known as ‘The City of Eternal Spring’ due to its magnificent weather. We suggest the graffiti tour through the six outdoor escalators at Comuna 13 neighborhood.
- Climb the giant monolith “La piedra del Peñol” in Guatapé. With a height of 7,005 ft above sea level, you will enjoy one of the most wonderful views of the region.
Caving ‘Cow Cave’ or Cueva de la Vaca, a must in the capital of extreme sports: Santander
The ‘Cow Cave’ is the most attractive and adventurous place to do caving in the area of Santander. Located outside the small town of Curiti in the Santander region, it is easily one of the most explored caves in Colombia by travelers. It is a popular day trip from San Gil and is a promising attraction, as it has numerous caverns filled with stalagmites and stalactites. La Vaca is one of the underground jewels for speleology in Colombia where you come across wells of icy water, bats, and giant rooms where you can observe the natural and phenomenal characteristics of the caves. The trip is adventurous, intense, and it is not surprising to find yourself with water up to your hips. It’s important to do caving with hard hats and headlamps.
To arrive to this caving destination you can start from Bucaramanga, the capital of the Santander region, and rent a car or take a ground transportation via San Gil to the municipality of Curiti which is 2.5 hours south. If you are in Bogotá, you can take a 6 hours ground transportation to San Gil and then take another to be in Curiti in 20 minutes.
Some plans to consider while caving in the Santander region are:
Barichara is also known as ‘the most beautiful town in Colombia'.
- Visit the Chicamocha Canyon, and enjoy a wide variety of extreme sports in the second-largest canyon in the world, like paragliding!
- Marvel at the streets of Barichara, another treasure from the 17 heritage towns of Colombia.
- Go river rafting in San Gil and dare to explore other activities like bungee jumping, canyoneering, and mountain biking!
Come to Colombia and enjoy all the wonderful places to go caving. It will be an adventure you will never forget!