Cayman Crystal Caves


Useful Information

Location: 69 Northside Road, Old Man Bay, Northside.
North side, near Old Man Bay, signposted.
(19.340908, -81.181646)
Open: All year daily 9-16.
Tours hourly on the hour.
Reservation required.
Closed Good Friday, 25-DEC.
[2021]
Fee: Adults USD 40, Children (0-12) USD 30.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightLED Lighting
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=90 min, Max=20.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Cayman Crystal Caves, 69 Northside Road, Old Man Bay, Northside, Grand Cayman Cayman Islands, Tel: +1-345-949-CAVE(2283). E-mail:
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

1997 land purchased by Christian and Ole Sorensen.
2016 opened to the public.

Description

The Cayman Crystal Caves is the only show cave of the Cayman Island. However, the cave which was always open to the public as a wild but easy to visit cave, was developed with trails and a high-end LED light system. Actually there are five caves, three of them are developed, two more are planned to be developed. The caves have different character. for example the Roots Cave is very closed to the surface and has several openings. It was named after the tree roots which grow through the ceiling into the cave. The caves have abundant speleothems, in the entrance areas or near karstfensters they are dry and green from algae, further inside the cave they are quite exceptional. There are stalactites, stalagmites, shals and several small pools. Highlight of the tour is a green pool in the last cave, the Lake Cave.

There is a parking lot at the North Side road, a shuttle closer to the cave, a 90 minutes guided walk to the caves and through the three caves. Only about 30 minutes of the tour are inside the caves. As a result you should prepare accordingly. Walking shoes or sneakers, light clothes, sun protection, insect repellent, and a bottle of water are highly recommended. People describe the caves as hot, which is not correct, but the air inside is not moving, while outside there is a cool breeze. Also, the air inside is very humid.

The site is now open for five years, but there is not much info about the cave. The website looks quite good, but there is not much content. As long as we do not have any info on the cave we will share some info about the owner.

His name is Christian Sorensen, and he is a relative of Ole Sorensen who co-owns the caves. Ole Sorensen is well known to us, as he started to develop ShowcaveHarrison's Cave on Barbados in the 1970s. He actually had the idea to develop Harrisons Cave and almost destroyed it in the early 1970s. He was kicked out in the last moment and the real work was done by the Gurnees, a famous couple of U.S. cavers, who also manage the Rio Camuy caves.

The argumentation of the government for the development of the cave was, that the huge amounts of illegal cave visits, cave trekking tours and people dumping their waste or making bonfires inside the cave damaged the cave in an increasing amount. The creation of a show cave generally protects the developed cave, as there is now a management which cares for the protection and earns money which can be invested into security measures. This argument is not new and in most cases it really works this way to the benefit of cave protection.

But the problem is actually not the fact, that the cave is developed, it's the owner. The Sorensens had government approval for their development and were praised by the Barbados National Conservation Committee, the Parks and Beaches Committe, and the Ministry of housing development (sic!). Ole Sorensen was praised for his efforts at Harrisons Cave and the eco awards they received in 2010. That's preposterous, as he actually harmed the cave so much that he had to be removed and is now praised for the work of those who had to fix his destruction. And his work to build trails at Cayman Crystal Caves again included heavy machinery, digging away a large amount of cave sediments in the entrance area. By removing the sediment, two branches of the cave could be connected. On the other hand, cave sediments often contain palaeontological and archaeological remains, and the use of heavy machinery is not really a good idea. Giving him the expertise to develop a cave carefully is like fishing with dynamite. They have won the 2016 Governor’s Conservation Award for the destruction they caused at Cayman Crystal Caves.