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Three Spectacular Caves for Your Spelunking Bucket List

Check out these caves that are sure to dazzle any explorer!

Though you might think of caves as only dark and creepy, they actually contain some of the most diverse environments on earth! Here are three caves sure to dazzle any explorer—even those who would usually prefer to stay out in the open.

Grotta Azzurra (The Blue Grotto)—Capri, Italy

The Grotto Azzurra sea cave is only accessible at low tide. Guides bring small groups of people into the cave, guiding their rowboats with a chain attached to the cave wall. In order to fit through the cave’s tiny above-water entrance, passengers must lie flat.

What makes the Blue Grotto so stunning is the blue glow of the water. The above-water opening is small, but directly below it is a second opening ten times as large, which is the cave’s primary light source. The light from below the water creates an eerie glow effect.

Grotta Azzurra Cave

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River—Palawan, Philippines 

The Puerto Princesa cave system is home to the largest underground estuary in the world, at 5.1 miles long. Most tours will take you about 2.5 miles in from where the river meets the ocean. The river and cave system houses its own complex ecosystem, including nine different species of bat.

A visit to the subterranean river will have you gliding through narrow passages, floating in large crystal chambers, and drifting past waterfalls coming down from a “second floor” to the cave. If you’re willing to get out and swim through sections that are too narrow for boats, some tours will take you as far as 5 miles into the cave with a special permit.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Phraya Nakhon Cave—Sam Roi Yot, Thailand 

Inside its two main caverns, the Phraya Nakhon cave cradles its own tiny jungle. If you begin the hike to the cave at 8:30 a.m., you will arrive around 10 a.m.—the perfect time to see a shaft of sunlight pour through the hole in the cave’s roof and shine on the historic pavilion.

The pavilion was built in 1896 to commemorate the royal visit of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), one of Thailand’s most beloved monarchs. Framed by stalactites and stalagmites on one side and lush foliage on the other, it’s a sight you won’t forget.

Phraya Nakhon Cave—Sam Roi Yot, Thailand

These are just a few of the world’s many incredible caves. When planning your next trip, don’t overlook the opportunity for a taste of scenic spelunking!