Best Cave Spelunking Destinations in Costa Rica

Go spelunking in Costa Rica on your next vacation. Discover limestone caverns, stalactites, and stalagmites in this mysterious underworld!

Venado Caves, Arenal Volcano

Venado Caves Costa Rica

In 1945, a farmer fell through a hole in the earth and discovered a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites – a cavern that had been hidden for between 15 and 20 million years. Exploration of the Venado Caves revealed an eight-chamber underground maze, a limestone labyrinth carved over millennia by underground rivers and shifting tectonics near Arenal Volcano. This 2700-meter cavern takes about an hour and a half to tour. It’s a great rainy-day activity, but it’s definitely not for the claustrophobic! There are a couple of tight squeezes in the caves, but a bilingual guide is there to help. Your guide will point out interesting bats, spiders, frogs, and fish – creatures that live in this underground marvel. Observe limestone rock formations and a variety of marine fossils – caught from when the Venado Caves were still located below sea level.

If you’re a fan of darkness, eyeless fish, and massive underground spiders, this is the adventure for you. Even visitors who were initially hesitant have found this tour to be fascinating, fun, and educational. The strange subterranean creatures are more afraid of you than you are of them. Visitors to the Venado Caves caves may get a bit wet, thanks to the underground waterfall and river.

Barra Honda National Park Caves, Nicoya Peninsula

About 38 miles (62 kilometers) northeast of Samara Beach on the Nicoya Peninsula is Barra Honda National Park. The extensive network of caves within the park goes as far down as 656 feet (200 meters) deep. Indigenous artifacts and human remains have been found within some caves, but those remain off-limits to visitors. Only one cave, the Terciopelo Cave, is available to the public. The 3-hour tour begins with a descent of 62 feet (19 meters) into the cave’s interior. Explore the mysteries of the limestone cavern: stalagmites, stalactites, terraces, cave grapes, and other natural formations. Tours to Terciopelo Cave are only available in the dry season from the end of November to April.

Spelunking FAQs:

You should bring long pants, closed shoes with traction, bug spray, a change of clothes, clothing to get wet. Helmets and flashlights are provided
Spelunking is recommended for ages 8-65. This may vary depending on the chosen excursion. Consult with a Costa Rica Expert.
The above two tours are half-day tours (about four hours). You can expect to be in the cave from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours - depending on the tour.