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Go Underground at the Rio Camuy Caves Park

El Parque de las Cavernas de Camuy

Ver en espanolView in English Posted on Dec 2nd, 2007 by • Updated on Jul 3rd, 2014
Servicios de Traduccion prestados por la New School of Languages
Entrance to Camuy Cave

Personally, I am not really "into" caves. Coming from the north-east of the US, I have seen my share of cold, dark caves. But there is something about the Rio Camuy Caves that is different (I guess because they are not dark and cold!), and I actually enjoyed this trip.

On a recent trip to the Rio Camuy Caves Park (or, in Spanish, Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy), we arrived early (about 9:30am) and had no trouble getting in. They give you numbered tickets as you enter the parking area. They then call out these numbers to get you onto your tour in a first-come, first-served basis. After you park, head into the visitors’ center to purchase your actual tour tickets. After you buy your tickets, sit tight or visit the gift shop while you wait for your number to be called. You get an audio guide that will give you the info about the cave.

Then you board a trolley and they whisk you away through this pretty park to the cave entrance. The park is nice and lush, and many of the trees are marked with their names. When you get to the caves, your guide takes you into the cave system. Basically, the roof of a cave fell in, exposing this cave. There is a huge opening on both sides, so you shouldn’t get claustrophobic.

Our guide, Marcano, was very interesting and he had some jokes that were pretty amusing, so we were all entertained as we learned about the caves. The guide will tell you when to turn on and off your audio player. Clara Cave is the name of the cave you walk into first and it is huge and beautiful. After about a 15 minute walk through this cave, it opens into another area where you can see the Camuy River running below you and there is a huge overhang above you. They also have the "fountain of youth" – a natural spring you can drink from (we had to try that!). The tour guide answered everyone’s questions very well – he really seemed to know what he was talking about – he had been doing it for many years and still seemed to enjoy it.

Formation in Camuy Cave

We then turned around and went through the cave again, but on the other side, so it looked totally different. Here our guide gave us the less educational version – pointing out more of the amusing looking formations- "the gorilla sitting at a table", a "Christmas tree" etc. It was fun.

We also passed the section where you can hear the river racing below you, and where you can hear (and smell) the bats. They say there is a colony of half a million bats that live in the cave. Luckily, they sleep during the day, so you won’t run into any of them!

As you walk along the concrete path, watch out for all the stalactites hanging down (someone in our group hit their head!). The walkway is wet, and in some parts slippery, so wear sneakers or shoes with good traction, and use the handrails as suggested.

Once out of the caves, you get back onto the tram again and they take you to a huge sink hole where you can see the river again. Then they take you back to the main entrance and your tour is done.

The only bathrooms are located at the main entrance (behind the ticket booth). The tour takes about 1.5 hours, so plan accordingly. The caves are cool, you may want to bring a jacket. You can take all the pictures you want, and the guides point out the best ways and places to get good shots.

Playgound at the Rio Camuy Cave Park

The caves are located in a 268 acre park. This is a very popular site with tourists and locals alike. The park only allows a certain number of visitors in a day. So it is best to get there before 10:30am. They don’t take reservations. Also, they close the caves if it is raining, because the river can cause flash floods.

The park has a wooded area with picnic pavilions, a play area for the kids, walking trails, a little restaurant, and a souvenir shop. The audio guide players are available in both English or Spanish languages.

They say if you have asthma, other medical conditions or are pregnant, don’t go into the cave, or see their health department before going in. I assume it is mainly for insurance purposes as the walking part is easy, just slippery. But the air in the cave is thick with moisture, and a guy with asthma in our group had to use his inhaler.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 4 to 12, and Seniors get a discount, kids under 4 are free. All prices include an audio guide for your touring pleasure. Parking is $3 to $4 depending on your vehicle. Occasionally the audio guide is not available, then there is a $3 discount.

Open only Wednesday through Sunday from 8:30am until about 5:00pm, or when they reach park capacity (or when it is raining). Note- they close the parking lot at 2:45pm SHARP- you need to get there before 2:45pm to get in! The last tour is at 3:30pm. The park is closed most major holidays (including New Years Day, Three Kings Day, Good Friday, Thanksgiving, Christmas), lesser holidays they are open.

Allow 1.5 hours for the movie and the tour. If the park is crowded, you’ll spend more time because they put you on tours in the order you arrived at the park.

Call 787-898-3100 for more information. It is best to call before going to make sure park is open (they will close if it is too rainy).

Camping is allowed in the summer (June 15-Aug 15) for $5 per person. Call ahead for info.

From the San Juan area, take Route 22 west to Arecibo – exit 77b. Then Route 129 south to Km 20. There are signs to guide you once you get off of Route 22.

Entrance to Camuy Cave

A mi personalmente no me atraen mucho las cuevas, quizás sea porque vengo del noreste de los Estados Unidos y he visto gran cantidad de cuevas oscuras y frías. Pero hay algo especial acerca de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy que las hace diferentes (Me parece que es el hecho de que no son oscuras ni frías), además disfruto del trayecto a las mismas.

En un reciente viaje al Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy, llegamos temprano (a eso de las 9:30 pm) y no tuvimos ningún inconveniente al entrar.  Los encargados te dan un boleto numerado a la entrada del estacionamiento. Luego te llaman a la entrada dejándose llevar por el número o sea por el orden de llegada.  En cuanto se estacionen pasen al Centro de Visitantes para que puedan comprar sus boletos y “audio guide”, luego durante la espera pueden pasar por la tiendita de souvenirs hasta esperar a que llamen su número.

Ahora, se aborda el tranvía o trolley y se pasa a la entrada de este bello parque.  El mismo posee una naturaleza exuberante y muchos de los arboles están rotulados con sus nombres. En cuanto lleguen a las cavernas, los guías los llevaran dentro del sistema de cuevas. Básicamente lo que ocurrió aquí  hace mucho tiempo fue que el techo de la cueva se desplomó dejando la cueva al aire libre. Hay una enorme cavidad a cada lado de la misma, así que no debe preocuparse si padece de claustrofobia.

Nuestro guía, el señor Marcano, hizo nuestro recorrido muy interesante y nos conto varios chistes muy divertidos, así que la pasamos muy bien mientras tomábamos el tour y aprendíamos sobre las cavernas. (Ahora usa un audio guide). La Cueva Clara es la primera que tendrá la oportunidad de apreciar. Es enorme y muy bonita. Luego de una caminata de 15 minutos por esta cueva, la misma se abre a otra área donde se puede apreciar al Rio Camuy por debajo de donde uno esta y hay una enorme plataforma que sobresale por encima de las personas. También tienen su "propia "fuente de la juventud"– un pequeño manantial del que uno puede beber (¡No podíamos dejar de beber agua de esa fuente!). El guía contesto muy bien todas las preguntas que se le hicieron — se veía muy versado en la materia ya ha estado realizando este trabajo por muchos años y parece que aun lo disfruta.

Formation in Camuy Cave

Luego regresamos a la cueva pero caminando por el otro lado de la misma así que lucía totalmente diferente. Nuestro guía, luego de informarnos cómo y por qué esas formaciones se crean y se desarrollan, nos dio también su versión menos educacional al señalar las formas  tan divertidas que adquieren las mismas – "un gorila sentado en una mesa", "un árbol de navidad", etc.  Fue muy divertido.

También pasamos por la sección donde se puede escuchar el rio por debajo de la cueva y donde se puede escuchar (y oler) a los murciélagos. Dicen que hay una colonia de cerca de medio millón de ellos en la cueva. Agraciadamente, ellos duermen durante el día así que no se toparán cara a cara con ninguno de ellos.

Al caminar por la vereda de cemento, tengan cuidado con las estalactitas.  ¡Una persona de nuestro grupo se golpeó la cabeza! El camino es húmedo y algunos trayectos son resbalosos así que usen zapatos seguros al pisar que tengan buena tracción.

Una vez se llega al exterior de las cuevas, vuelves al tranvía nuevamente y te llevan a ver un sumidero donde se ve el rio nuevamente.  Entonces van de vuelta a la entrada y ese es el fin del tour.
Los únicos servicios sanitarios que hay, están localizados en la entrada (detrás de la taquilla). El tour se toma cerca de 1.5 horas así que planifique con anticipación. Las cuevas son algo frías así que posiblemente quiera llevar un abrigo. Puede tomar todas las fotos que guste y los guías señalaran los lugares idóneos y la mejor perspectiva para tomar sus fotografías.

Playgound at the Rio Camuy Cave Park

Las cavernas están localizadas en un parque de 268 hectáreas. Esta atracción es muy popular para los turistas  y para el público local en general. Es mejor llegar antes de las 10:30 am No se hacen reservaciones. Tome en consideración el hecho de que si esta lloviendo cierran el lugar por el peligro de inundaciones repentinas que pueden ser causadas por la creciente del rio subterráneo.

Este parque tiene un área de madera donde se puede hacer picnic, un área para los niños, veredas para caminar, un restaurante pequeño y una tiendita para comprar souvenirs.  El audio guide era en ambos español y Ingles. 

Se explica que de padecer de asma y otras condiciones medicas similares o si hay una mujer en estado de gestación, no debe pasar a la cueva o debe preguntar en su departamento de salud antes de proceder al interior de las cavernas. Supongo que debe ser por razones del seguro del lugar ya que la caminata es relativamente fácil de hacerse aunque el camino es resbaloso. El aire de la cueva es sumamente húmedo y un hombre con asma de nuestro grupo tuvo que usar su inhalador.

Los boletos o taquillas están a $15 por adultos,  $10 por los niños de 4–12 años de edad y  los envejecientes tienen un descuento. Estos precios incluyen una guía de audio. El estacionamiento es de $3 a $4 dependiendo del tipo de vehículo que usted maneje.

Abren solo de miércoles a domingo desde las 8 am hasta cerca de las 5:00 pm o hasta que el parque se llene o cuando comienza a llover. They close the entrance at 2:45pm- go need to arrive before 2:45pm to get in! El último tour es a las 3:30 pm El Parque de las Cavernas cierra la mayor parte de los días feriados (incluyendo el Día de Año Nuevo, Día de Reyes, Viernes Santo, Día de Acción de Gracias y Navidad).

Separe 1.5 horas para la excursión.  Si el parque esta lleno, posiblemente se tome mas tiempo ya que ellos admiten a las personas en el orden de llegada al parque.

Puede llamar al siguiente teléfono para mayor información: 787–898–3100. Es preferible que llame antes de ir al parque para cerciorarse de que va a estar abierto ese día. Recuerde que el lugar cierra cuando llueve mucho.

Se permite acampar en el verano (junio 15– agosto 15) a $5 por persona. Llame antes para información.

Desde el Área Metropolitana, tome la Autopista 22 hacia Arecibo – salida 77b.  Luego la carretera 129 hacia el sur hasta llegar al kilometro 20.  Siga los letreros  una vez salga de la autopista.

Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

Utilice el siguiente mapa para localizar los lugares mencionados en este artículo. Puede hacer clic en cualquiera de las marcas de posición para ver las coordenadas GPS de ese lugar.

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid ... then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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28 comments
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  1. I am so sorry to hear about the accident. I was planning to visit the park in March. This would have been my first trip there, but I am too scared to go now.

  2. That was the first accident at the Caves in 20-some years. Cave systems are natural environments, and as such cannot be completely controlled. The reason the caves are closed to the public right now is so that they can figure out what went wrong and how to prevent a similar accident in the future.

  3. My wife and I travelled from Dorado to the cave area in the last week of January. We were told of the accident and that the park was closed when we arrived at the park guardhouse/entrance. Tragic event. My question is, why didn’t they simply post notices of the closure on the highway roadsigns along the way? We travelled 90 minutes for nothing. At least we were able to divert to Rincon to watch the surfers and have lunch, so it wasn’t a total waste of a beach day.

  4. Sorry that you found out too late that the caves were closed. I can’t really answer your question, except to comment that if you were going to Disney, and a ride was closed due to an accident, you wouldn’t see signs posted along the highway to the park notifying you of the closure there either.

  5. I just called the number the number in anticipation of making a reservation or getting information, and was told that the caves are still closed. (March 18, 2008) I am so disappointed.

  6. Any information of the opening of Clara Cave? Is it still closed?

  7. It’s still closed. There has been no re-opening date announced. We’ll update this article once the cave re-opens.

  8. We went to see the cave on May 26, 2010. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the cave because it was full. Guard at the gate told us that you have to be here early to get in and told us to come back at 3 pm. But when I called at 3 pm the cave was closed due to rain. We drove from Fajardo so on the way back we stopped at the prime outlets in Barcelonetta.
    Please keep in mind cave will close if it rains. It was a bad experience for us.

  9. The weather was bad, and all my adventures kept getting cancelled.
    So we went to the Cave and it was so awsome…
    The drive there was scary due to the roads that the GPS told us to go, but on the way there the view was awsome and we got to see some water falls.

  10. We went to the caves in July 2011. We had a great experience! We drove in from Dorado, a 2 hour drive! I called the morning before at around 8:00 am when they open. They suggested to be there early. We arrived on a Thursday at around 9:30 (it is hard to get 4 teenagers out of bed early :) We were the 4th car into the park. We had no line purchasing the tickets, but we did notice a big tour bus arrive just behind us. We waited about 15 minutes to ride down to the caves. The tour was great! Afterwards, we waited about 15 minutes for the tram to come and pick us up. We had a fabulous experience. Disney, eat your heart out!

  11. My family and I have been to a few caves and this one was quite unique! It felt so open and warm. We drank from the fountain of youth and I hope it works! haha The tour guide was awesome with a great personality. The funniest thing happened while we were there. Our tour guide takes us to the opening of the caves where the bats hang out. As he’s telling us about the bats and how they sleep during the day about 5 flew out and flew around causing a little commotion. A few people were petrified but we thought it was funny and added to the experience.

    We got there about 9 and only had to wait for 30 min. I didn’t think that was too bad. We drove from Ponce to get there. Thank goodness for GPS’s because my print out from Google Maps and the roads we were on didn’t match up. The ride was a little scary with the roads being so small and windy but it was nice to see the mountains and the cute houses along the way.

  12. We just visited the caves this last Friday (January 20th, 2011). I was extremely disappointed. The cave itself was pretty cool, but the tour guide we had was obviously sick and tired of being a tour guide there. He obvisouly did it just for the paycheck. He had been there 25 years. He ran through motions and we were short changed on a lot of the above items. We didn’t see a movie and we weren’t taken to any sink hole.

    We were in and out of the cave in about 30 minutes. With the Tram ride we were back to our car within an hour of when the tour began.

    The only positive on the day was that it was extremely uncrowded. Our group had only 4 people in it including me and my wife. Maybe that is why the tour guide simply didn’t care. Not that he wasn’t nice. He was willing to take our picture, etc…..but to spend $33 for the two of us to park and walk through the cave, not to mention the 3 hours and $12 in tolls (round trip) it cost to get there from San Juan and I wouldn’t do it again.

    If you like caves, it might be cool to visit, but don’t go with super high expectations, I’ve been to far more impressive and interesting caves.

  13. My wife and have been to Puerto Rico 3 times in the last 5 years and July of 2011 visited Rio camuy caves and it was truely amazing being in the cave also drinking from the fountain of youth.so if you find time while in Puerto Rico visit camuy cave.

  14. Don’t just visit “tourist trap” San Juan/Condado area. Rio Camuy Caves are open Wednesday to Sunday. It is worth the trip. Enjoy it. Then head downtown Lares for a nice ice cream made of flavors you could never imagine.

  15. We went here in February 2011 and loved it! There was no movie, and they were not separating the tours by language anymore. All the tour details were given by headset, the guide would just tell you when to listed to each number. We were in a very large tour – two full trams. It started to rain when we were leaving, otherwise we would have loved to spend more time in the park.

    We also drove up from Ponce. The drive was beautiful, but stressful. In retrospect, it would have been so much faster from San Juan. If the 10 freeway ever gets finished, it would be much easier from Ponce (and the unfinished stretch may be shorter now.)

  16. Thanks- I updated the info.

  17. Excellent article !!!!!! Congratulations. I am a former director of this Park an this is one of the best short
    articles written about a visit. Thanks you

  18. I am going to be at the caves on January 5th which will be a Sunday. Do you think 10/10:30am is too late to show up? We don’t want to have to wait more than an hour. Suggestions? Also is there any trip that takes you on more of a tour of the cave or is this the only one? Thank you!

  19. Being, essentially, a holiday weekend, I would expect it be busy. Be prepared to wait. This is the only tour at Rio Camuy Caves Park.

  20. This was my 2nd home for a lot of years. My dad was the man in charge and the one who opened them, Pedro Hernandez Purcell. I was there every weekend, had a lot sleep overs there too.
    I have not been there like in 20 years.
    Will love to see it again

  21. Before I went to Camuy cave park with a group of my friends, I searched about its information online. On the website it said the park closed at 4pm. But when I got there around 3o clock yesterday, the security guard (he said his name was Ramon Gonzalez )told us that we couldn’t enter because the park was full. But it was not 4 I clock yet and the parking lot was empty. When I told him it was our third time coming to this place but we’ve never entered the park, he was so indifferent with a rude attitude. In general, the guard’s attitude was really unfriendly and we we’re disappoint led about traveling so far but didn’t even enter the park. We thought the guard lied and rejected us on purpose.

  22. That is why you need to look at our website- we had all that information. The park has a maximum number of guests a day they allow in. During weekends and holidays, that number can be reached earlier in the day. The park will also close early if it is raining.

  23. It appears that the entrance gate to the parking lot is closed at 2:45 pm sharp at the latest.

  24. Excellent information update- thanks!

  25. I guess that there are some people that will not like caves, but I love them. The beauty, marvel, and wonder I experience with every visit to this cave park keeps me coming back. The handrails, artificial lighting, and cement walkways take away from the natural feel of the cave, but it also makes it very enjoyable, and easy to experience. Love it. I think the way to have the best and most efficient visit is to arrive close to the 8:30am opening time, and enjoy the experience without having to wait for hours (sometimes), until your number gets called. It’s got to be terrible to arrive there after a long drive, and realize that you’ve been locked out. I heard 1,000 people daily is what they allow. There was no audio option when I visited. The prices were currently $12 for adults, $6 for seniors 60 to 74, and $7 for children from 4 to 12. Seniors above 75, and children 3 or less were no charge.

  26. We saw on the website that getting to the caves early was necessary, the last tour was at 3:30 pm. Got there at 2:10 pm and the gate was closed, It was explained that there were some buses that had filled the capacity for that day. Are bus tours (public or private) so plentiful? If so, then reservations might be a better means of operation since disappointed tourists means “bad feedback”". We will return…and try to leave our home earlier, like about 6 am.

  27. In summertime and weekends locals take trips to their natural wonders, including these caves. So everything is busier than usual. For any summer activity I would recommend going as early in the day as possible.

  28. The experience was high on our list, but we should have not had high expectations. The pre-tour movie didn’t work but we had to sit in the over air conditioned room for 15 minutes while he tried to fix it. Our tour had 30 people in it, too large for all of us to hear the guide. The guide spoke mainly Spanish then quickly (and in much brevity) said it in English. He focused on pointing things out as “this looks like…” instead of actually educating us on what we were seeing. The tour ended 20 minutes sooner than anticipated since part was closed ;no reason why,didn’t know this in advance either).

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