Caverns vs. Caves
A cave is a space in the rock that forms underground. Caverns are large caves. If you struggle with being in small spaces, seek out caves that open up quickly into caverns to reduce anxiety. Also, carry water if allowed and always travel with your own light source.
Stalactites vs. Stalagmites
Stalactites cling “tight” to the roof and drop down, while stalagmites “mound” up from the floor. Now that what you’re seeing will have a name, it’s time to look for the best caves to visit.
United States: Kartchner Caverns in Arizona
If stalactites fascinate you, Kartchner is the place to visit. The stalactites in Kartcher are soda straw stalactites, or long, narrow tubes. Like many caves, the Kartcher caves serve as roosting places for bats. Before visiting any cave, check out any visiting restrictions. Bat habitats often require a delicate balance; you don’t want to carry in a toxin or pathogen on your shoes.
United States: Moaning Cavern, California
You can hike, climb or rappel down inside Moaning Cavern in California. This cavern is tall enough to hold the entire Statue of Liberty. Thanks to multiple entrances, wind blowing through the openings into the cavern cause a moaning, sighing sound.
France: Gouffre Berger
The Gouffre Berger is more than 1,000 meters deep. Once you get to the bottom, you’ll find plenty of clear water and even waterfalls. Visiting this cave is risky due to the extreme depth. If you are a strong climber, this cave can be an amazing experience.
Brazil: Serra da Capivara
A trip to Serra da Capivara will allow you to visit the oldest known art in South America. We humans are story-tellers. Imagine viewing cave paintings that date from 25,000 years ago.
Argentina: Cuevas de las Manos
While in South America, consider a trip to Argentina. The hike through Cuevas de las Manos will be guided and doesn’t require strong climbing skills. The rock in this region is volcanic and displays a wide variety of reds, oranges and even pink. The hands on the walls of Cuevas de las Manos are all left hands, indicating that the artists sprayed or blew pigment over their left hands while cupping the pigment in their right hand.
Australia: Naracoorte Caves
The Naracoorte Caves of Australia offer a wonderful chance to explore the fossil history of this remarkable country. Be aware that the Naracoorte Caves also serve as a bat haven, and as dusk fall on every summer day, the bats fly off to feed. Plan to spend plenty of time exploring this remarkable cave.
Many caves around the world have been fortified and modified to make visiting simpler. No matter your climbing skills, there are many objects to see and a great deal of geological and human history to study. Make sure to bring a light, preferably on a headlamp, to get a great look at caves around the world.