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Although cave exploration has been around for more than 40 years in the country, cave tourism or spelunking, in Costa Rica is still relatively new to tourists. If you are comfortable in dark enclosed places, you may catch a thrill exploring one of Costa Rica’s ancient caves. One popular site for cave exploration is the Barra Honda National Park, which is located in the province of Guanacaste. These caves have been in formation for over 70 years and a great amount has remained untouched by tourists. Throughout this realm, only 19 of the 42 limestone caverns have been fully explored. This is mainly due to the old belief that the cavern was actually a volcano and people interpreted the noises of the enclosed bats as volcanic activity. The caves are home to a colony of around 5,000 bats that emerge from their dwellings during the night. There are only two caves in Barra Honda that is accessible to the public, Terciopelo and La Cuevita. To enter the caves, you must be accompanied by two local guides and fitted with proper gear to descend down a ladder into the mouth of the cave. The Venado caves, near Arenal, are also significant in their size and habitat for a variety of wildlife including bats, monochrome frogs, spiders, and crickets. The caverns were discovered in 1945 when a farmer fell through a hole in the ground and found himself in the depths of the caves, surrounded by the incredible limestone stalactites and stalagmites sculptures.
Another chance to explore caves is at the Cuevas de Damas caves, which are outside of Quepos and Manuel Antonio. Many caves here have been altered to accommodate tourists and include lighting, guardrails and man made trails for easier navigation. The cavern gets its name from a river that runs outside of the main entrance.