Staying in a city can make you forget about all the natural wonders Colombia has to offer. But you don’t need to drive off hours and hours into the wilderness to experience them!
What if I told you about an unforgettable caving experience in the Medellin area where you can test your limits in a beautiful outdoor environment?
But how do you get there? And what do you need to do to prepare for a caving excursion? Will you stumble upon subterrain creatures that look like they’re straight out of a horror movie? Read ahead to have all your questiones answered!
A Quick Intro to Caving
Caving is an adventure sport where participants explore caverns and cave systems, often in very small and humid environments.
You may have to climb, jump, and swim to get into these tights spaces: it all depends on the kind of cavern you’re planning on exploring. More extreme caving expeditions can take several days to complete and some caving experts even come equipped with diving equipment to help them pass through underwater portions of the cave.
Luckily, it’s easy to find the perfect caves in Medellin for a day of adventure, or for beginner cavers to give the sport a shot and get some practice caving.
Like most extreme sports or hikes in nature reserves, it’s better to go in the company of an experience guide.
How to Prepare and What to Expect
When hiring an ecotourism agency, you’ll have to sign a participation clause. The agency will then provide you with some things to consider before you partake on the adventure.
It’s recommended for participants to be in very good mental and physical shape, as caving can be as exhausting as it is exciting.
I’ve included a list of things I recommend you take on your tour:
Headlamp – not a requirement, but highly encouraged, as it’s always good to be able to see where you’re stepping while having both hands free.
Snacks – granola bars, nuts, etc
Comfortable, athletic clothes
An extra change of dry clothes
A small first aid kit
Guides recommend leaving your keys, wallet, and cash behind in a safe location. You don’t want to risk losing them in the caves.
Expect a day of hiking through mountains, waterfalls, and humid tropical forests. You’ll be able to see a lot of typical Colombian flora and fauna on your hike to the caves, as well as some beautiful landscapes.
The climate is usually very warm in these places, but the caves’ cool interiors and cold waters will give you an opportunity to cool down.
Getting to Medellin Caves and Caverns
How to get to the caves and caverns of Medellin depends on the ecotourism agency you choose. Some provide transport to the cave and back to Medellin, while others ask you make your own way to a chosen meeting point to begin your adventure.
If you need to provide your own form of transportation, you can rent a car or a book a taxi. If you prefer to travel by bus, search online to find out the best route, schedule, and terminal the bus departs from.
Where to Go Caving in Medellin
You can have an adrenaline filled day in these caverns near Medellin:
Carolina del Principe Caverns
Located 63 miles from Medellin, the journey to the village of Carolina del Principe will take between one and a half to two hours.
I took a tour with the Antioquia al Aire Ecotourism Agency, and I highly recommend their services! You’ll meet with the team in the village’s central park to stretch your muscles out before the tour. After that you’ll hike through the tropical rainforest for a few hours to reach the cave and begin your descent through the caverns.
The caverns are very narrow and full of water – if you’re prone to claustrophobia, I recommend sitting this one out. Once you’ve made your way through the caves, you’ll have the opportunity to rest on a cable car overlooking the organales, the network of waterfalls in the village.
This tour will take you around three to four hours from start to finish, depending on the pace of the hike.
The El Indio Cave is located in San Cristobal, a small neighborhood of Medellin fifteen minutes away from downtown.
You won’t get wet on this tour, so all you need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes.
The guide will take you through a network of narrow tunnels once used by Colombian ancestors to go from one place to another. It’s a magical, historic place that tells ancient stories through marks and drawings on the rocky walls.
The Higueron Caves are located on the Envigado outskirts of the El Salado ecological park, and were traveled a few centuries ago by Indigenas and Spaniards.
There, you’ll find historic remains of what was once an era of slavery. After that, you can visit the Higueron waterfall, and do some hiking through the park.
You’ll also have the opportunity to visit some fincas (ranches or farms), the Ayurá river, and the Santa Isabel hill. The movement of the rock formation over the years has transformed what was once a miles deep cave into a very shallow rock shelter.
Overall, the Higueron Caves are an incredibly interesting destination, and a great place to learn about history and culture while doing some cabin.