Before modern houses and skyscrapers, human beings found shelter in caves. It’s no wonder that we’re drawn to them, even today. Below are the world’s top 5 best caves to explore the next time you feel like getting in touch with your inner caveman or cavewoman.
Looking for an eerie cave with walls of ice and limestone? Then head to Austria to see the Eisriesenwelt cave. This is the largest ice cave in the world and it’s located about 40 kilometers south of Salzburg. To get here, you can take a cable car that takes about 3 minutes from the bus station. Or you can take an hour and a half hike to the cave. Once there, you’ll get a chance to explore this 42 kilometer cave on a guided tour.
Cave of the Crystals
The Cave of the Crystals in Mexico is not for your average traveler. This cave is located near a fault line, where minerals spew out of the Earth. Occasional flooding dissolves these minerals, which results in giant pillars of selenite crystals that jut out of the ground and walls like expended booby traps. Due to the location of this cave, the temperature inside is so hot (136 degrees F, 90% humidity) that you can only stay in there for about 10 minutes. To visit this cave, you’ll need to be part of a research or professional team.
Hang Son Doong
Hang Son Doong is the largest natural cave on Earth. To visit this cavernous wonder, you’ll have to travel to Viet Nam. There’s an underground river that runs through it, as well as the world’s largest stalagmite. To visit this cave, you’ll need a permit. Only 1,000 permits per year are handed out and you can only visit between February and August.
Cave of the Hands
Caves aren’t just for spelunking and crawling around with a flashlight on your head. Caves are the world’s first art museums! Head to Argentina to check out Cuevas de las Manos or Cave of the Hands. People thousands of years ago decided to stencil outlines of their hands, along with drawings of animals and hunting scenes, all over the walls and ceilings. If modern art museums bore you, then check out this ancient one.
Has your appetite been whetted by cave art? Stay in the Southern Hemisphere and travel to the land down under (Australia) to see the world’s oldest cave art. Radiocarbon dating puts the oldest piece of art in this cave at 28,000 years old. The figures of animals and people drawn on the ceilings and walls look like something out of a red and white Picasso piece. It’s truly a masterpiece that has stood the test of time, for real.