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In English
In English
In English

Spelunking

Cave Trekking


The term Spelunking has been used in the United States for many years. It is the term for visiting wild caves without any scientific interest, just for sports or tourism. The term which is internationally used is Cave Trekking. It is much younger, and is obviously a result of the continuing boom of extreme sports since the 1990s. Many companies all over the world offer not only parachute and bungee jumping, but also cave trekking and canyoning.

There are many people who criticise the companies offering cave trekking. The main arguments are nature protection, the exploitation of a common good, the educational aspects. Caves are fragile and each visit, however careful, destroys a small part of it. Caves used regularly for cave trekking soon show signs of wearing down. Caves are in many countries not private property, the owner may own the entrance and the access, but the cave itself is often in the public domain. Companies earning money with trips into caves are making money from a public property. And if people learn about caving on spelunking trips, they learn the wrong things, for example that it is okay to visit caves just for sports. We dont think tour operators will educate people why their trips are a bad thing.

showcaves.com is dedicated to public caves, show caves and other cave visits. We do not think the touristic aspect to be unethical. However, we have many arguments why you should probably be very careful with what you learn at such trips.

don't trust the operator with your safety:
The problem with cave trekking companies in many countries of the world is the lack of a standardised quality certification. So you do not know if your guide is competent. Even in Switzerland the infamous accident at the Saxetenschlucht could happen. And the company continued in the same way until one year later an American tourist died in a freak bungee accident. It seems people who buy for a guided tour tend to turn off their own brain and trust the guide without any criticism. We recommend, have a brief look at the most important caving rules and check if your guide follows them. They are not negotiable, so if important rules are omitted you should consider to skip this trip before entering the cave.
bring personal gear:
If you do spelunking trips regularly, think about buying your own gear. It will fit better and be more reliable, as you are able to control its state yourself.
be responsible with the cave:
Some operators do not warn their guests about nature protection. Thats no reason to omit it. The three rules are simple:
  1. take nothing
  2. leave nothing
  3. destroy nothing
And probably other participants will follow your example.
think about your health:
Caves in tropical countries unfortunately offer various dangerous diseases. We have described the most important ones in this section. Be careful with cave trekking in such caves, your tour operator might not know about the dangers or ignore them. He will have no problems, as you will be back home when you get sick.

See also


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