Caves are generally exciting. They are dark, mysterious and untamed. Well not Rio Camuy. This cave personifies some of USA’s worst traits – it’s tame, commercialised and all about not being sued.
From Rincon, the caves were a little over a 1.5 hour drive (with traffic). When you arrive there is a man reading a newspaper on a plastic chair who stops you to tell you about several other attractions included in your ticket and also encourages you to stop at a nearby restaurant on your way out.
We got there about 10:30am, waited for one bus in front of us, paid $3 for parking and then walked in. The ticket booth is on the right hand side where I paid $40 for tickets. $15 per adult, $10 for Mia, under 3 were free.
Our ticket numbers were then called at 11am, before all the students thankfully who had not yet bought tickets. It all happened very fast and we had no waiting time at all.
After collecting our audio headsets we walked down to a trolley that was waiting for us and hopped on the last available seats. This was my favourite part of the whole experience. A beautiful, winding, scenic road led through the forest, down, down, down.
At the bottom we were let out into a small bunker which led down 2 flights of steps to the cave entrance. Our guide continually stressed the kids had to stay with us and everyone had to hold the handrails. Unfortunately it wasn’t the last time, she was like a broken record every couple of seconds pressing people to hold the rails, walk carefully, and watch the kids. Honestly you think she was afraid of being sued or something – it was way over the top.
The group walked on into the cave and it’s pretty. It’s just humanized. There are well light concrete paths the whole way through. There is no room for exploring or deviating from the path as your guide pushes and prods and insists at each sign-posted station on pressing play on the headset to hear the cheesy pre-recorded audio bite.
Given the ability to actually look and explore, it would be a magnificent cave, but with the lights on and the tight schedule the guide was on, I found the whole attraction less than ideal.
We did manage to experience a fake little story about how we are not allowed past the gate to the fountain of youth, “but please press number 8 now”… kind of ruined the thrill since it was an act.
The water was fresh and cool… and I did feel a little younger after sipping it.
The walk back through the caves was rather hurried, which was okay since my daughter was dying to go to the toilet. It really was rather hurried and tame. The only upside about the paved walkway is that if you have a young toddler, then you can push a pram or stroller around fairly easily.
Once we were out we waited for the next trolley for 5 to 10 minutes and then the beautiful journey back up to civilization. They collect the headsets and we were walking past a gift shop and back into the parking lot.
We decided to try the recommended restaurant since we were hungry and unfortunately we regretted it. A nicely designed tourist trap with some of the most awful food I’ve ever had. My chicken lettuce was reheated hot chicken on a bed of wilted lettuce for over $12!
If you have seen caves previously like us at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia or even the caves in Australia then you don’t need to see this one, and save yourself $40. It will not add anything special to your list unless, of course, you can sneak in when the lights are out and see the bats are flying around, and then perhaps you will see something cool.
Reader Comments..."I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" - Josh Bender
That's one thing I definitely loved about caves in Thailand. You're free to actually EXPERIENCE the cave, not just "view" it. I love nature and want to protect it...but it goes a little too far sometimes when it comes to avoiding liability, reducing impact, etc.
Ashame it was not that interesting but the pics look real good
It's too bad that these caves have become this way. When we went to Rio Camuy a few years ago, there were no audio headsets. You still had to go with a tour, but I remember that we had time to dawdle if we wanted to. Our guide specifically told us to NOT hold the handrails since they had bat guano on them. It seems that your experience depends on which guide you get. We also had to put on hardhats before boarding the trolley. I thought that was overkill for safety but fun to wear.
We went 2 summers ago and absolutely loved it. Even the headsets were good for us, as we could go at our own pace and get away from any crowds. We had been to caves before and yes, I guess you could burn out on them. I just loved the vastness with the sun peeking in off to the side here and there. You could also hear the roaring underground river as you walked along in the near dark. I thought they were great. Of course, our kids were a bit older, 6 and 8 at the time, so they were very fascinated.
It seems that you were literally just looking for something to complain about. Lol. How sad.
BRITT - I tried to email you, but your email bounced. If you know anything about us we rarely write anything negative so it took a lot to really make us have an unpleasant journey. So unfortunately your comment couldn't be further from the truth, but thanks for taking the time to comment.
I am ave been to many caves around the world, 90% were not child or handicap friendly. So it warmed my heart to see so many families with little one as well as those with minor disabilities able to navigate such a beautiful wonder. Do not allow this poor review to steer you away from this gem. Great for families. My suggestion, pack a lunch as there are very few options for dining.
Hi Jae, it'a nice to hear your experience was different to ours. However this was not our experience and just because it was different to yours does not mean our review was "poor". We did note that it was good for prams in bold text so can agree with you on that. Great idea about lunch though, like we mentioned the restaurants were not great.
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