I had some friends visiting in Cayman Islands, so of course I offered to show them around as much as I could. On the Friday morning we agreed to visit Cayman Crystal caves. I picked my friends M and P (Name shortened for privacy purposes) at 7:15 and we headed down all the way by Seven mile, George town , Bodden town and arrived in Old Man Bay in Cayman at 8:20 . Much quicker than expected. We already saw few staff members walking around the entrance of Cayman Crystal caves. At about 8:50 we drove past white gates and parked car by picnic tables behind building. We chilled there and met Chester, who turned out to be our Gide.
Got tickets for 28 CI (residents rate, full rate for non residents is Adults-40 USD, Children 30 USD ). Tour is kids friendly because gide takes break between every cave.And pathways are wide and open.
To visit Crystal caves you need to make reservation, as it gets booked up very fast and groups in tours are small.
Cayman Crystal Caves were opened to public in January ,2016. But locals knew about them long before it. When they made it in to the attraction, workers tried to do as minimal damage as possible and so far, 3 caves are available to public. Soon will be more. Also there is a little relaxing area with few tables, bathrooms and small shop.
Chester -our Gide invited us in little , white van and drove down to the caves entrance in about 5 minutes. There we met 2 ladies in her 30ties who also were residents and all together 5 of us we started the tour.
First cave was “Open ceiling cave ” Small and bit dark , but gave us a good taste of what to expect. It had a little staircase leading in it and down was a cave about 5×5 m in size and tiny tunnels leading to other caves, but too small for us to go. And also too dark. Chester offered to take a funny photos by ropes, that we can pretend that we climbed in the cave instead of using lovely and comfortable staircase. There was a little darker part and Chester had awesome flashlight so could show us all the cool corners and a little rock`s with crystals in them. Sparkly!
Chester: Gide who was there from the beginning, born and raised in Cayman and even helped with cave preparation for tourists. A very warm and funny person. And a true Caymanian.
We took a little bathroom break between caves.
Second cave was much bigger and longer called “Roots cave” . There are some roots from trees above that have passed to caves ceiling and looking for water.
Loads and loads of Stalagmites and Stalactite all around the cave. All caves was light with electrical lights and very bright with wide pathway perfect for tourists. Some stalactites were with fresh drops at the end of them building longer and longer stalactites
And the third cave called “Lake cave”
We walked through lighted pathway for about 15 minutes until we reached main attraction. Main cave with a lake. It really was amazing. German lighting specialist set up all the lights in 2 weeks a while back. And they have done an amazing job.
There were 4 light options and of course Chester showed us all of them .Some very dark ones and some very light ones that almost feel like there is light coming from water (But its not ) And of course on the way he showed us some fruit bats living in ceiling of the caves. They all were tight together sleeping (Or at least that`s what it looked like)
On the way out last photo by the tree that roots pass all the to the ground from caves ceiling and we were done. Tour lasted about 2 hours and was really fun.
Also Chester talked about some Cayman Island plants to keep an eye out for and the last treat at the end of the day, gave us a Pepper Cinnamon tree leaves to taste. Just so you know- not my favorite.
We gathered little tip for Chester and drove off.
On the way out I stopped by the sign to see if the road was clear, where M said : “We have been here “ pointing at the picture! We all agreed that caves looks even better in reality, then pictures.
More information :
Official Cayman Crystal Caves website
Cayman Crystal caves facebook page
Cayman Compass nespapaper story about Crystal caves
A description of caves and tour from other blogger that i found online.
And this is also a blog post about crystal caves that show interesting info
Things to remember :
-Cave is very very humid , so take a towl or something with you to wipe sweat off . Tshit will be fully wet after tour.
-Also its very hot , take bottle of water
-Camera, free to take photos all you want
-I went on 9 AM tour and it was good timing, as its not very hot. They offer tours 11am, 1pm, 3pm .
-wear proper shoes and comfortable wear , like tshirt and shorts.Also sunglasses is a good idea.
History about caves from official Cayman Crystal Caves website :
“Cayman Crystal Caves have formed over millions of years. Fossilized shells and animal life in the caves show us that at one time, the mass now containing the caves was all located under the sea. Over time, as sea levels changed and land began to rise, rooms began to form through water erosion, making caves. Within these rooms spectacular stalagmite and stalagtite crystal structures began to form, as rain water dripping through the limestone ceiling of the caves left calcium deposits behind. The caves are still today continuing to evolve. The process of stalagmite and stalagtite formation occurs as rain water becomes slightly acidic when it first travels through surrounding plants, earth and other organic matter. This acidic water disolves part of the limestone as it seeps through the earth, and re-deposits microscopic calcium layers, as the water drips from the cave celings. Over time these deposits collectively form the crystal structures.
Hundreds of years ago, Pirates used these caves as hideouts, and also as shelters from the elements, including hurricanes. Legend has it that there are pirate treasures buried in some of these caves.
As the Cayman Islands became populated, locals used the surrounding lush lands as farmlands, and mined the caves for rich fertilizer produced by bat guana, as some of the caves are inhabited by bats. In the last half century farming stopped, as the population switched to more lucrative jobs within the tourism and financial sectors.
In the early 1990s, Christian and Ole Sorensen undertook an in depth search and exploration of all caves in the Cayman Islands, and began talks with the Cayman Islands government on developing a cave attraction based on the experience from the family’s development of the very successful Harrison’s caves in Barbados. After a few years, it was realized that the crystal caves of Old Man Bay were extremely unique and stood above any other caves in the Cayman Islands, and for that matter, most of the world. It took almost another two decades to purchase the various parcels which encompasses the caves and surrounding rain forest, as well as devise a route to the landlocked site from the main road. In the last few years of planning the attraction, the Berksoy family, who have vast experience in the tourism sector, joined the Sorensen family in this venture and together they have seen Cayman’s newest and very exciting nature tourist attraction to completion. “
Papau New Guinea