Puerto Rico - caving

Tags: caving, Puerto Rico

Date: April 2, 2017

The eastern part of Puerto Rico is volcanic and this is the part with the highest mountains and the rainforest. The middle to western part of the island is limestone made from old sea bottom raised by volcanic activity to above water level. The limestone sea bottom is porous and quite easily dissolved by water. This means that the middle part of Puerto Rico is full of underground caves. We went exploring.

The first area we went was called Rio Abajo. Looking for the caves we passed by many gigantic bamboo plants:

We saw wildlife, here a lizard:

One of the caves we found at Rio Abajo had a river running out of it. Bjarne took an artistic photo:

Next we went to the national forest Guajataca. Along the many trails we found five caves. Here is Félicie at the entrance of one of them:

Another view of the forest from inside a cave:

Félicie adjusting her helmet before entering yet another cave:

Large column formations:

The Guajataca forest has a show cave, called Cueva del Viento (wind cave) with a large staircase leading from the trail down into a sink hole where the cave entrance is located. Here is the top of the staircase leading down towards the cave:

Cave entrance with staircase and several tree roots leading down into the cave as well:

Félicie in front of a giant formation right next to the entrance:

Félicie on the other side of the formation with the cave entrance in the background. The long cylinder at Félicie's feet is one the the tree roots leading far into the cave:

Same formation as above, from a slightly different angle:

Finally on our last day in Puerto Rico we went caving with two local cavers, Johnsy and Laura. Johnsy took us to two different caves. The first one had some really crazy stalactites that seemed to defy gravity. Apparently the funny way they grow is caused by wind currents in the caves:

Here is a close up where the strange growth is very obvious:

A formation called the tower of Pisa:

Yet more stalactites:

Going caving with Johnsy was really interesting because he is a biologist and knows all sorts of interesting things about the animals living in the caves - bats (a lot of them!), cockroaches, pill bugs (also known as roly polys) and worst of all tailless scorpions - which look a little too much like spiders in Félicie's opinion: