Firstly, we traveled in a group of 6 people in our mid 20s. We found out about this place from Lonely Planet and booked a tour with PACZ tours ($75pp). We had a rental car and drove to meet with PACZ tours at the sign off the Western Hwy at 9am. From there it was another 20min drive to get to the parking site where they had us bring our small bookbags to carry our lunches and helmets with lights to hold on to. The hike itself crosses 3 mild rivers, the highest of which came to my mid-thigh (I'm 5'2" if that helps). We crossed the 1st river two minutes into the trip so expect to be completely wet for the entire duration. It took about 30 min to get to a small picnic table area where the only facilities are nature and a questionable outhouse that my guide Oscar didn't recommend. We left our bags hanging in the picnic area. The guide was carrying a waterproof backpack to carry the small things we didn't want to leave behind such as an inhaler, $ and non-waterproof cameras to use for the dry part of the tour. We walked down to the mouth of the cave which is literally just down the hill.
The mouth of the cave is freshwater and blue-green, probably about 20 ft across? For all the non-swimmers, I'd recommend either asking for a lifevest ahead of time or for the weaker swimmers, do what the people in my group did and hang on to a strong swimmer as you propel yourself. Oscar told us the water is about 15 feet deep. Once you're inside the cave, it's several hours of being walking through anywhere from ankle deep to chin deep in cool water and climbing rocks and squeezing through small crevices. To get from the "wet" to the "dry" cave entails scurrying up a large rock onto a platform, then up another ladder to see what the cave is renowned for. Btw, we come back the same way so all that climbing up = climbing down when we're turning back. After another swim across the mouth to get out, we had lunch that PACZ tours provided which included a small chicken sandwich, a small bag of plantain chips, a slice of watermelon, a mini Snickers and a bottle of water. For the guys in our group, they ate some Clif bars I'd brought with me. Then it's another 30min hike back to our cars. All in all, I think the trip took us 8 hours. I absolutely LOVED it!!
- wear closed toe shoes with good grip ie. sneakers you were thinking of throwing away or closed toe Tevas because you do not want to stub your toes on these rocks
- you must bring a pair of socks to wear into the dry part
- bring a waterproof flashlight, the lights on our helmets are not for seeing into distance but for lighting your next step, otherwise the guide will be bringing his light
- bring a waterproof camera if you have one, if not you can ask the guide to carry a normal one until the dry part
- bring a towel and a change of clothes to leave in the car
- use a lifevest if you can't swim
- ask for vegetarian lunch if you are vegetarian
- put DEET on your arms if you're wearing short sleeves, your legs won't matter because they'll always be getting wet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.