Top 7 Coolest Caves in South America
By Shelly Clemente
Cuevas de Mármol, Chile
The Marble Caves of Chile are a stunning set of caves carved into marble. They are located on a peninsula of solid marble along Lake General Carrera, which touches Chile and Argentina. The cavern walls were formed by over 6,000 years of waves washing up against them. The caves are on the Chilean side of the lake: the Chapel (La Capilla), the Cathedral (El Cathedral), and the Cave (La Cueva). The cave walls now reflect the beautiful blue waters of the lake, which change in intensity and hue depending on the time of year. These unique geological formations are accessible only by boat or kayak.
Caverna da Tapagem, Brazil
Also known as Caverna do Diabo, meaning “Devil’s Cave,” is located within the Jacupiranga State Park. It is the second longest cave in the state of São Paulo and also the highlight of what the local guides call “Circuit Disneyland,” which is a series of family attraction that people enjoy of all ages can enjoy. The most interesting formations can be seen in the hall called “The Cathedral,” where there are iconic formations with strange names, such as Snow White, Temple of Doom and Devil’s Cauldron. There are legends that suggest that the noises heard at the entrance of the cave were groans of lost souls who had been punished by the devil.
Gruta Rei do Mato, Brazil
Gruta Rei do Mato means “Cave of the Forest King” in Portuguese. The area around Sete Lagoas has many cave systems, of which this cave is the most famous. It has four large chambers with numerous beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and rimstone dams. In the “Rarities Hall” are nearly identical parallel columns of carbonate crystals of calcite. In addition to the marvelous rock formations, the Gruta Rei do Mato also features paintings and cave drawings dating back more than 6,000 years ago. This cave in extremely interesting because it seems to have been carved by humans, but everything is natural!
Cueva del Fantasma, Venezuela
Cueva del Fantasma, which is “Cave of the Ghost” in Spanish, is a giant cave 250 metres high in southern Venezuela. It is located in a remote region, along the slopes of Aprada Tepui, one of the most biologically rich and geological ancient parts of the world. There is a spectacular waterfall that comes down from its wall that forms a pond at the floor, creating a surreal atmosphere. The cave is located in Canaima National Park, where there are gorgeous waterfalls and the amazing Mount Roraima. Interestingly, the landscape around the cave is the place where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World takes place.
Gruta do Lago Azul, Brazil
The Blue Lake Grotto is part of one of the largest flooded cavities on the planet and is littered with prehistoric animal bones. It was discovered in 1924 by one of the local Terena Indians. This large cave is filled with a pool of mesmerizing clear blue water. It is thought to be over 60 metres deep and the water changes to a beautiful blue when the sunlight shines through a hole in the ceiling of the cave and makes the water shimmer in the light. The belief is that the lake is fed by an underground river that still has not been located.
Abismo Anhumas, Brazil
This is one of the top eco-tourism destinations in Brazil. It is a submerged cave that was discovered in 1984 and was officially opened in 1994. The cave is 72 metres deep and the only safe way to get in is by rope. As you descend, nothing can prepare you for the view that is waiting for you. Once you reach the bottom, you board a little boat that takes you for a ride around the perimeter of the lake. The water is incredibly clear and there are stalagmites and stalactites in all different shapes, which you can only see by the natural light coming from the small opening of the cave.
Kururu Kua, Paraguay
When a group of explorers travelling to Ojo de Mar accidentally discovered the Kururu Kua in 2007, they called it a “freak of nature.” This aquatic cave is hiding in the heart of Amambay is a geological miracle because, unlike most caves in the world because it consists of sandstone instead of limestone. This breathtaking network of tunnels and underwater caves has been open to divers who seek the ultimate adventure. The caves are 100 metres deep and 300 metres wide, surrounded by a blue lagoon of transparent water. You can also explore the 1000 year-old fossils in the pitch-black abyss of the caves.