Cuevas de Bellamar

Bellamar Cave


Useful Information

Location: Matanzas. 2 km south of the city of Matanzas.
Open: All year daily 9-17.
Tours at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 13:15, 14:15, 11:15, 16:15.
[2012]
Fee: Adults MN 10, CUC 5, Children MN 5, CUC 5.
Photography permit MN 20, CUC 5, Video permit MN 20, CUC 5.
[2012]
Classification:  Karst cave.
Light: electric
Dimension: L=3,225m, T=27°C.
Guided tours: D=45min., L=1,500m.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: General Frederico F. Cavada (1870): The Cave of Bellamar, Harper's New Monthly Magazine Vol 41, Issue 246, November 1870, pp. 826-834, Harper & Bros. New York.
reprint of original article in York Grotto Nl 19 (2) March 1982 40-44 illus. Online version of this article, see link below.
Iraida Calzadilla Rodríguez (?): CUEVAS DE BELLAMAR, 48pp (Español - Spanish)
Address: Cuevas de Bellamar, Carretera La Alcancma, Matanzas, Matanzas 40300, Neighbourhood: 7540, Tel: +53-5-261683.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:52:59 $

History

 
17-APR-1861discovered by quarrymen.
1948members of the Sociedad Espeleológica de Cuba (SEC) explored the cave.
1989the Grupo Espeleológico Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente began to explore the area and discovered a network of more than 7 km of passages.
11-FEB-1999Cueva de Bellamar Speleological Museum inaugurated.

Description

This is one of Cuba's oldest tourist attractions and is famous for the beauty of the speleothems. The tour includes six halls and seventeen galleries of incredible beauty, fountains, stalactites and stalagmites, crystallised domes and other formations bearing names such as La Fuente del Amor (Fountain of Love) and La Galerna Coco Rallado (Grated Coconut Gallery). The constant dripping of the water that seeps from the caves's inner walls ensures 100-percent relative humidity. The temperature in the caves ranges between 25° and 27°C. Once outside the caves, there is a cafe-restaurant along with shops.


Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.

The description on this cave is rather short, as it is not really necessary. This cave is known for a very long time and well described. For example, there is an excellent description from Harper's New Monthly Magazine which you can find below.

The cave was discovered in 1861 by quarrymen. According to legend a Chinese worker lost his hammer, which fell into a hole. When he tried to open this hole and get his hamer back, he discovered the cave. The cave was well known during the 19th century and visited by most travellers to Cuba. It is sometimes called the first tourist attraction on Cuba.

Despite the fact, that is was often visited and described, it was actually not explored for almost a century. The first detailed study took place in 1948, at the request of the owners. Members of the newly formed Sociedad Espeleológica de Cuba (SEC) worked the geology, hydrology, climate and speleothems and made the first survey.

But the most intensive and successful exploration started in 1989, when the Grupo Espeleológico Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente began to explore the area. They discovered more than 7km of passages, new parts of the Cuevas de Bellamar, fossils of species previously unknown in this province, and an abundance of crystal formations, some not known until now.

In 1999 the Cueva de Bellamar Speleological Museum was inaugurated. This speleologic museum is based on first ideas of Dr Antonio Nuñez Jiménez in 1948, who started to collect some speleothem fragments for a museum. However, it was never realized and only a glass case with some random items existed. The new museum was created by members of the Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente group, who also maintains the show cave.

Because of its really long use as a show cave and the inadequate protection measures, the cave is heavily vandalized. Many spelethems are destroyed, but there are still worthwhile corners to be found. Characteristic are numerous pools dubbed Spring of Love or Spring of Divorce.

During the year the temperature of the cave changes between 19°C and 30°C, which is exceptional. It seems, the cave is rather close to the surface, and the temperature inside is heavily influenced by teh seasons. It is advisable to wear appropriate clothes.


See also


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