10 Most Amazing Caves in the World
#10 - Mammoth Cave (USA)
One of the oldest and most well known caves in the United States, located in central Kentucky. Mammoth Cave boasts to be the longest in the world with over 365 miles of subterranean passageways. The cave was “discovered” by American settlers in the late 18thcentury, but was well known to local Native Americans long before. It was made a National Park in the summer of 1941. Some spectacular sights to see include; a giant sinkhole named “Cedar Sink” or “Frozen Niagara” just to name a few.
#9 - Mulu Caves (Borneo)
The caves beneath Mulu National Park, so far, cover over 125 miles. Though some say that it is possible that there’s three times that distance waiting to be discovered. According to the Sarawak Forestry Department, Mulu Caves has the largest passage, the largest chamber, and the longest cave in Southeast Asia. Tours are offered for both beginners to experienced spelunkers. And who said that there was nowhere left on Earth to explore?
#8 - Luray Caverns, Virginia (USA)
The Luray Caverns reach as high as a ten story building. Filled with clear pools of water, and amazing stalactite formations. The cave’s highlight being a “stalacpipe organ” formed of stalactites that resonate when struck with rubber clappers. A truly unique experience. Discovered in 1878 by Andrew Campbell. Earliest reports read “it is safe to say that there is probably no other cave in the world more completely and profusely decorated with stalactite and stalagmite ornamentation than that of Luray” The Luray Caverns are connected by paved pathways through 11 amazing rooms.
#7 - The Reed Flute Cave (China)
Outside the city of Guilin, the Reed Flute Cave is a popular travel destination while in China. The cave get’s it’s name from the reeds growing inside that are ideal for flute making. Reed Flute has a gambit of miraculous rock and mineral formations, carbon deposits, and stone pillars. The tourist attraction is illuminated by different colored lights giving it an other worldly feel.
#6 - Škocjan Caves (Slovenia)
First writings of this cave date back to 2nd century B.C. A protected national treasure, and a year round tourist destination. The cave itself is just over 2 miles long, but contains the Reka River, which goes underground for an additional 21 miles. The cave stream along with Reka River represent one of the longest karst * underground wetlands in Europe. The Skocjan was entered into UNESCO’s list of natural world heritage sites in 1986.
* Karst topography is a landscape shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock.
On the Slovenia tourism website I found this neat 360 view inside the caves.
#5 - Carlsbad Caverns (USA)
Probably the best known cave in the world and for good reasons. Located in Southeastern New Mexico, this National Park draws over 700,000 visitors each year. With over 20 different chambers, or rooms, 16 species of bats, and an average summer temperature of a cool 58°. With rooms like “The Hall of the Giants”, an amazing 350,000 square foot cave. You could spend countless hours, if not days exploring this national treasure.
#4 - Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves (Austria)
The domestic tours take you through several immense ice caves with spectacular ice waterfalls and amazing formations. Only with special permission from the Austrian government can you explore the other 25 miles worth of caverns beyond, most of which is not ice, but limestone. But the area that you can see is truly magnificent and worth the journey.
#3 - Waitomo Glowworm Cave (New Zealand)
Part of the Waitomo cave system, The Glowworm cave is remarkable for many reasons. But takes it’s name from it’s natural inhabitants. The Arachnocampa Luminosa is a type of fungus gnat species (about the size of a mosquito) that glow in their larval stage. The “glowworms” give off a dim blue light giving the cave a majestic feel. 30 million years ago the entire area was still under the ocean, volcanic and geological activity created over 300 caverns and chasms in the region. With arguably the most impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations in the world. The most well known that being in the Cathedral where some reach nearly 18 meters. Amazing considering that the average stalactite grows one cubic centimeter every 100 years.
#2 - Hang Son Doong (Vietnam)
“Mountain River Cave” is located in Phong Nha-ke Bang National Park. Reportedly discovered in 1991 by locals, who were allegedly afraid to enter the cave due to a whistling sound at the cave’s entrance. It gained international attention in 2009 when a group of British scientists explored the immense cave. Hang Son Doong boasts the world’s largest fast flowing underground river, and is officially the largest cave known to man. It’s largest chamber is about 660 feet high and 490 feet wide, and over 3 miles long. (large enough to hold a city block of New York skyscrapers)
#1 - The Cave of Crystals (Mexico)
One of most recentlty discovered caves of the world, the Crystal Caves were discovered in 2000 after drilling for an aquifer, and pumping out tens of thousands of gallons of water. Scientist were able to see the chasm below. The crystal formations are mind bogglingly large, some measuring over 30 feet in length and 4 feet in diameter. They were formed due to a water source rich in calcium sulphate, heated by an infusion of magma. The scale of the crystals is hard to imagine until you see the pictures of people standing on and near these immense formations. The debate continues about this miraculous cave, some think that the cave should be allowed to re-flood so that the crystals may continue to grow.