Explore Where Few People Have: Cueva Convento / Grayskull
If you are looking for a different kind of adventure in Puerto Rico, try a tour to an underground river. This type of tour is not only an exciting and unique experience, but it also offers a glimpse into the fascinating underground world of Puerto Rico.
Cueva Convento in Toa Alta is located on private property, so you need permission from the owners in order to visit the cave. Tito Maldonado from Puerto Rico Tours for Less has permission and the experience to access the cave, so he is one of the few people that can take you on this awesome adventure.
Cueva Convento (aka Grayskull) is located in Toa Alta in the northern part of the island. Just 30 minutes from San Juan, it is a cool adventure that is filled with a variety Puerto Rican nature experiences — flora, fauna, caves, rivers — in one short, relatively easy trip. additionally, all the necessary safety equipment — helmet, lift jacket, headlamp — is provided, so you can just show up and enjoy the experience.
We have done a number of trips and tours with Tito at #PuertoRicotoursForLess over the years. He is my go-to guy for trips like this. Tito has the knowledge and the experience of going to all the usual and many unusual places all around Puerto Rico.
Before the trip, Tito told the group what we needed to wear and bring with us. Being that we would be going into a subterranean river, recent rainfall could make the excursion dangerous, but Tito was monitoring the weather and told us the day before that our trip was a go!
We met the group at the meeting point, then we followed each other in our own cars to the starting point for the hike. Here, Tito distributed the safety gear and told us what to expect on this trip. The walk to the cave was easy, only about a ½ mile along a grassy path. Along the way, we discussed some of the plants and the birds we saw or heard on our way to the mouth of the cave.
Once you get to the entrance to the cave, you can see why Tito nicknamed this cave Grayskull, as it appears similar to Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull. It really does look like you are entering the open mouth of a fierce-toothed demon! But don’t worry, it isn’t scary inside.
Beyond the mouth of the cave, the water starts out only shin-deep. As you walk deeper into the cave, you encounter all sorts of pools to get in and out of, and rocks to climb over. Sometimes the water is shallow, and in some areas you have to swim because you can’t touch the bottom! It is so variable throughout the trip, it made it quite fun!
You can’t see the bottom a lot of the time, and there are sometimes underwater obstacles, but Tito leads the way to the easiest path and lets you know what to look out for. He helps you up and out of some of the deeper pools. There are a few underwater shin-hits along the way, but totally worth it!
As you make your way through the cave, you’ll see stunning rock formations that have been growing for millions of years in this karst cave. Tito is always in front of the group, finding all sorts of creatures. There are loads of bats! But also shrimp in all sizes, the spiders and bugs, and we even saw a boa constrictor in there! At one point we all turned off our lights and the vast darkness surrounds you, and you hear the water and the bats inside the cave … very cool.
I did not find the rock in the cave to be slippery at all — karst rock is not like the river rock found in El Yuqnue. The trip through the cave is about a ½ mile, so it is a nice amount of time — not too long, not too short. You can get some really good photos inside the cave with “night mode” on your phone, or using the headlamps provided to light the scene. And, of course, the entrance and exit of the cave make great photo spots.
All in all, the whole experience took us about 2 hours. It was really a neat trip, and not too difficult. People with moderate activity level should be able to do it. You do need to be able to lift yourself up out of the water, and be OK with walking or swimming in water over your head, but it is not technically difficult. This cave is sure to provide a memorable and fun journey.
Days and hours are flexible
Wear closed-toed shoes that can get wet, preferable tie-on (sneakers are good). The trail to the cave can be overgrown, and the underwater rocks can scrape you a little if you rub them, so long pants are recommended. Bring a towel and/or change of clothes. There are no restrooms once at cave starting point, but there will be one available at meeting point.
We spent about 2 hours total, including walking to the mouth of the cave and back to our cars afterward. This does not include travel time to the meeting point, nor from the meeting point to the starting point for the hike.
As a tour guide, Tito is licensed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. He can work with you to design custom tours, and he is generally flexible with dates. With notice, he can provide transportation, but it is best if you have your own car.
For this tour, we met in the parking lot of Krispy Kreme in Dorado, just off of Route 22. From there, we drove to the starting point on Toa Alta.
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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!