Caves are one of the most fascinating structures in the natural world. They’re often surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and filled with rich history. It’s believed that our ancient ancestors used them as shelter, so in a way, visiting caves is like returning home.
Each cave is unique, with its own set of interesting minerals, climate, and animal life. Here are some of the best caves to visit in the world for their distinct and intriguing properties.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Otorohanga, New Zealand
Waitomo Caves offers one of the most surreal cave experiences in the world. Floating down the underground river on a boat, visitors pass through a cavern in which the ceiling is littered with glowworms. The darkness of the caves highlights the natural lighting produced by the worms and visitors often describe the scene as “an underground night sky”.
The efforts of the people in charge are also quite admirable. They remotely monitor the temperature and carbon dioxide levels to make sure the worms’ natural habitat is not disturbed by the visitors.
Krubera Cave in Abkhazia, Georgia
When it was discovered in 1960, Krubera Cave was known as the deepest cave on Earth – a record 7204 ft. Recently, a nearby cave overtook it, being 7257 ft deep, but Krubera cave is still a marvel to behold. Many describe it as a journey to the center of the Earth. It is now open to the public, as the descent is controlled by a train, so that visitors don’t have to spelunk the old-fashioned way. Once at the bottom, the cave is a world of mystery with a labyrinth of caverns and a frozen underground waterfall.
Sterkfontein Caves, Johannesburg, South Africa
One of the most popular destinations in South Africa, the Sterkfontein Caves are known as the birthplace of humankind. The reason is that several fossils, believed to be from a common ancestor of humans, were found there. Before entering the caves, visitors are taken through an astounding museum explaining the origin of humankind. They then take a tour through these marvelous caves, which is rich in amazing natural structures, complete with an underground lake!
Fingal’s Cave in Staffa, Scotland
This cave was born out of a volcano on the remote island of Staffa in Scotland. It is made up of many, many hexagonally shaped columns that form a beautiful natural arch roof. Waters from the ocean run through the entrance of the cave, adding to the surreal beauty. There is also the chance to spot puffins, interesting penguin-like birds from the entrance of the cave.
Reed Flute Cave, Guangxi, China
Situated right near the popular downtown Guilin, the Reed Flute Cave brings natural beauty to this populated area. It is composed largely of limestone, which at the right time of day changes the color of the incoming sunlight to deep blue. More interestingly, the walls of the caves are home to ancient artworks dating back to 8 B.C.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave in Werfen, Austria
This is one of the few caves that can offer a different experience every year. This is because the formations of the cave change. The waters which enter the cave are frozen in new and unique patterns each year and cover the underlying limestone. Visitors can see breathtaking ice formations which scatter the light in beautiful displays.