Just a few kilometers from Arenal Volcano is one of the best day trips from San Jose Costa Rica for lovers of adventure. Venado Caves (Cavernas del Venado) is a fantastic attraction for those who don’t mind getting wet or dirty and who wish to experience the fun of spelunking for themselves!
Venado Caves - History
The Venado Caves are believed to be between fifteen and twenty million years old and feature underground beauty including stalactites, stalagmites, prehistoric marine fossils, underground waterfalls, and exotic fish, spiders, insects, and bats.
The caves were only discovered in 1945 when a local hunter stumbled across the first two caverns. The caves were first explored in depth by French spelunker Robert Vergennes in the 1960s; however, he only managed to traverse the first 350 meters underground.
In 1969, the caves captured the interest of US Government Organization the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and formal exploration of the caverns was launched. There have to date been ten caverns mapped, totaling more than two and a half kilometers in length underground. Explorers can remain standing in each cavern; some are very tall at thirty-five meters in height.
Exploring the Caves Today
The Venado Caves are located just three kilometers east of the town of Venado along a gravel road (or a 45-minute drive from La Fortuna), situated in the middle of a tropical rainforest.
The Venado Cave Tour is an adventurous guided expedition into the limestone labyrinth. Small groups are taken on a two-hour trip through dark caves, seeing rock formations, squeezing through narrow passages, and passing four species of local bats.
Visitors to the caves are advised to wear clothing they are willing to get wet, as well as a change of clothing, hiking or tennis shoes, a towel, knee pads, insect repellent, and a waterproof camera if desired.
Entrance fees include cave entry, flashlights, boots, helmets, a bilingual cavern guide, and access to the natural swimming pool. Those who don’t wish to explore the caves can enjoy the pool on its own for a small fee. A shower is provided for after the Cave Tour. A meal is also available at the Venado Caves.
Costa Rica Volcanoes is your specialist travel company for volcano tours including Arenal Volcano, day trips from San Jose Costa Rica, and much more. Contact us today to help you plan your trip to this amazing Central-American nation.