Shrouded in the verdant tropical forest mists of North Side lies Cayman Crystal Caves, Grand Cayman’s newest — and oldest — attraction. Formed over the course of millions of years by tiny droplets of water (yes, you read that correctly), this Governor’s Conservation Award–winning eco-attraction has become the hottest destination for seasoned spelunkers and neophytes alike.
Getting your feet dirty
The wonder of nature is on full display at Cayman Crystal Caves with guided walking tours provided for all guests. Adventurers begin their 1.5-hour expedition in the lush forest above with one of nine professional guides who are all experts on local wildlife (and yes, there are bats).
Guests descend into the caves, where low-voltage LED lights illuminate truly breathtaking stalagmite and stalactite formations once prowled by ancient creatures and pirates alike. The tour concludes at a crystal-clear underground lake, which was untouched by man for thousands of years.
Future plans include zip lines, electric quad ATV tours and an on-site farm where guests can sample local fruits and juices. What truly sets this park apart from similar attractions, however, is its unyielding commitment to conservation.
Exploring the future whilst protecting the past
“Eco-friendly” and “sustainability” are not just buzzwords to describe Cayman Crystal Caves; they are philosophies that have guided every aspect of the attraction since its inception in 1997. For example, Cayman Crystal Caves repurposed 150-year-old farming paths through the forest and natural flow channels in the caves as the walkways. The reception site is constructed of wood and built around trees rather than contributing to deforestation.
Before the site could even open, Christian Sorenson worked with an entirely local Caymanian staff to meticulously clear feet of dirt from the cave floor by hand so as not to damage the surrounding rocks.
But that’s not all; remember those LED lights from before? These are not your everyday string lights. These “cave-friendly” LEDs have been specially designed to limit algae and moss growth that could harm the delicate ecosystem of the caves. The LED lighting used in the Crystal Caves requires one-third less energy than a standard light bulb, operates at much lower temperatures and showcases the true colour of the subterranean world.
With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why Cayman Crystal Caves ranks 8th on the list of the top 300 attractions in the Cayman Islands. To schedule your own underground adventure, visit caymancrystalcaves.com.
Author: Brian Edwards