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“Difficult but worth it!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Venado Caves

Venado Caves
Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
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Type: Caverns/ Caves, Outdoors
Attraction details
Charleston, WV
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Difficult but worth it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

This was one of our favorite things, although not what we expected (because we forgot to look at reviews!). This is a deliberately undeveloped cave, which means no electric lights or fancy footpaths. I guess we thought it would be more like Carlsbad Caverns, and were delighted when it turned out not to be. You WILL get wet, you will get dirty, you will be in contact with bats and spiders and small spaces, but it is fascinating and the guide was terrific. This was a lot of fun. Heartily recommend it to those with a sense of adventure.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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210 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Very different experience. Unforgettable”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

We didn´t pay a tour to take us there, got directions and went in car. Once there you pay the entrance fee and that includes the guide, boots and helmet. If you got a water proof camera take it with you, otherwise it is $20 for the photo package but the guide (Fausto) takes his time to take plenty of pictures. The caves are huge but you can´t go all over as some areas are restricted. If you are scared of bats this isn´t the place for you. You don´t need to be in great shape to do it but if you have a lot of overweight then I wouldn´t recommend you to try it as you gotta slide between walls. I would love to do this with my son.

Visited March 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Different and interesting activity”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

We went on our own to the caves. We paid 22$ per person and a guide (it is mandatory) accompanied us in the caves. The guide was really helpful and interesting. The caves are amazing. You have to be in good shape to go there since you need to crawl and go in small spaces. It was an experience to go there and the caves are not as ''touristy'' as many other places.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Canada
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“This is a must see!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

We booked this tour through Desafio, and they were fantastic guides. There were only two of us in the group, and he was amazing. And also, they will bring a dry pack and tote your camera around, so you won't have to pay a photographer for their pictures like with other Venado tours. The guide will even take pictures for you.

It is absolutely beautiful inside the caves. There are no lights - illumination is merely from your headlamp or camera flash. But it's stunning. Lots of water - streams and waterfalls. The caves can be a bit of a challenge, but the guides can also take you on different routes depending on your body size and your sense of adventure. There are lots of critters to see, too. Spiders, bugs, and lots of bats.

They will outfit you with helmets and headlamps, which is great. They also have rubber boots, but we wore good sneakers, which I would recommend. You will get very wet and very muddy, and will likely come into contact with guano, but there are showers there so you can bring a change of clothes for afterwards.

Go see the caves. Really.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Challenging and unforgettable, but not for everyone”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

This was an amazing experience that was certainly a highlight of the trip, but read on to make sure you're informed before you sign up.

We found out about this activity through the hotel where we stayed and didn't know how challenging the experience would be until we were in the middle of the tour. In my hotel's info booklet that provided information about this tour, there was an image of folks walking upright through the cave. My traveling buddy and I wondered where that picture was taken since walking upright didn't happen that much--expect to do some crawling on all fours, scaling walls, and stuffing yourself through an opening referred to by some as "the delivery." If you are claustrophobic, this is absolutely not for you. If you are not in decent shape, reconsider this activity. If you are freaked out by darkness, wetness, and the inability to see your surroundings very well, stay away. You will be provided with a hard hat fitted with a headlamp, but the headlamp won't make you feel like you are driving with your high-beams on. If the idea of tarantulas, bats, and snakes is frightening, again, stay away, as all of these animals, though harmless, will be along for the ride with you. If you are large-bodied, be prepared to compress yourself feet first through "the delivery." I'm 5'7" and 134 pounds and made it through without much trouble, but I was certainly worried about the 6-foot 200+ man in front of me who really proved the rule about "if your head fits..." You'll be in touch with your inner rodent as you squeeze through that area of rock.

Expect to get wet from head to toe. My guide suggested that I leave my prescription glasses behind if I could see without them, and that was my first indicator that this was no amateur tour, because some swimming was involved (for us, it was more like letting our legs float while we were in push-up position, using our arms as legs to walk us forward...not exactly easy). All that said, we learned a great deal and really enjoyed our experience, though it was challenging. We treated ourselves to drinks that night, feeling that we truly accomplished something by making it through the cave. Oh, and for those afraid of the dark, there is a minute or so where we were asked to turn our lamps off altogether. You will experience the darkest darkness ever - a complete absence of light. If all of this sounds manageable to you, absolutely go...this was one of those experiences that makes you feel as though you are living your life. Bring a change of clothing as you will get soaked and dirty. Rubber boots are provided. Guides are knowledgeable, friendly, and very experienced, and will tell you where to put your feet when climbing (which sometimes involves stepping on them or receiving a boost.)

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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