December 13, 2008


The third longest underground river in the world runs through Puerto Rico. The Rio Camuy is covered by an intricate system of caves. Currently the public is not allowed into the caves to see the subterranean spectacle, but other wonders await within the Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy. There are two massive sinkholes in the area. The larger one, Tres Pueblos Sinkhole, is 400 feet deep and 650 feet in diameter. A trolley takes tourists around the sinkhole, stopping in each quadrant for a different view of the gaping void and the river below. Early inhabitants of Puerto Rico used the site as a garbage dump, since they could just toss rubbish into the basin and it disappeared from sight. Now the Rio Camuy Caves Park is a protected area.

The Spiral Sinkhole is smaller and more accessible by foot. A staircase has been built that allows visitors to descend the 200 steps into a lost world. The flora and fauna differs vastly from the world above. A glimpse into a foreboding cavern is available from near the bottom of the sinkhole. Hundreds of bats can be seen, heard, and smelt, hanging from the roof of the cave.

“I am much mistaken, however, if he has not fine strata in his nature. He is capable of rising to heights as well as of sinking to depths.” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of The Lost World