Parque Las Cavernas del Río Camuy

Río Camuy Cave Park


Useful Information

Location: Northwestern Puerto Rico, 2 hours west of San Juan, near Lares, on Route 129, km 9.8.
(18.345828, -66.822366)
Open: Currently closed due to Hurricane Maria.
All year Wed-Sun, Hol 8-17.
[2020]
Fee: Currently closed due to Hurricane Maria.
Cars USD 4, Buses USD 5, Bikes USD 2.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave SpeleologyRiver cave
Light:
Dimension: L=11,000m.
Guided tours: self guided. V=140,000/a [2000]
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography: Jeanne Gurnee, Russel H. Gurnee (1973): Discovery at the Rio Camuy, Crown Publishers; 1st edition (January 1, 1973), ISBN 0-517-50594-0.
Address: Parque Las Cavernas del Río Camuy, Administración de Terrenos, PO Box 3767, San Juan, Tel: +1-787-898-3100, Tel: +1-787-898-3136.
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.

History

1958 discovered by Jeanne Gurnee and Russel H. Gurnee.
1986 begin of development as a show cave.
1987 park established.
SEP-2017 closed due to hurricane Maria.

Description

photography
Entrance to Cueva Clara, as seen from inside, Rio Camuy, Puerto Rico. Public Domain.

Parque Las Cavernas del Río Camuy (Río Camuy Cave Park) protects a karst area along Río Camuy, about 15km south of the northern coast of Puerto Rico. Río Camuy runs north and forms the border between the municipalities Camuy and Hatillo to the north and Lares and Utuado to the south. But close to where the borders of Lares, Utuado and Hatillo meet, the river reaches an area of limestone outcrop, which is heavily karstified, and vanishes underground. After less than four kilometers it reappears on the surface. Inbetween lies the cave system of Río Camuy which is said to be the worlds second or third longest river cave. So far 16 entrances to the system are known.

Some parts of the system were explored first by the Taino Indians, Puerto Rico's first inhabitants. Archaeological evidence has been discovered. Later they were explored by cavers from the U.S.A.. A small part of this cave system was developed as a show cave by Jeanne Gurnee and Russel H. Gurnee, authors of the Gurnee Guide to American Show Caves, and John Ganter.

Actually this karst gem is famous under its general name Río Camuy. And logically the tour into the show cave is only a small part of the experience. There are two huge sinkholes, which were made accessible to tourists by wooden trails. The Sumidero Tres Pueblos (Tri-Towns Sinkhole) is 130m deep and 215m in diameter. The Cueva y Sumidero de Espiral (Spiral Cave and Sinkhole) The caves are home to an endemic species of cave fish which is totally blind.

Numerous caves in the area, like Cathedral Cave, Resurgencia Cave, Yuyú Cave, and Spiral Cave, are guided on cave trekking tours by various tour operators. The park and the show cave are managed by Parques Nacionales (Puerto Rico National Parks). The park rangers offer various walking tours in both English and Spanish.