Currently in Arenal wanted to do something different. I came across venado caves and having never spelunked it seemed interesting. After viewing photos on Google and trip advisor I was also scared. I contacted some tripadvisor members for their advice and they were all helpful describing the experience (thank you!). Reluctant still, my friend and I drove to venado today. We were greeted by Victor who outfitted us with a helmet and big rubber boots. We walked down to the cave and I'm so happy I didn't back out! What an amazing experience! Our guide Victor was very nice and funny setting my fears aside. He took us into the cave, helped us on a segment of high drops (about 12' with footing) en route to the "birth canal" by letting us step on his shoulder and hands. He also snapped great photos of us. I can honestly tell you now having done venado and happy I did it - it's not scary. It is dark but a flashlight in addition to your helmet light helps greatly. You will see bats, scorpion spiders, tarantulas and maybe a frog. They are more afraid of you and will run away. We went into 4 chambers, each stunning with limestone, coral, calcium. You will get wet. You will duck through a short segment of subterranean river into the 3rd chamber and encounter waterfalls - magnificent! Your head and chest will be above water. Now - for those claustrophobic with a fear of heights like me...the only part that was a challenge but not very challenging at all - the second chamber - that has a rather tall drop (you'll need a boost if you're short like me at 5'2") and the "birth canal". Victor went first and helped me on the other side getting down. From there there's the "birth canal" it is simply a narrow hole you crawl through. You're not crawling for long in fact as soon as you stick an arm through you're on the other side. That's it! Then you pop out right where you started. If you must bypass this you can but I'm telling you from my own experience it was awesome. That is the only time during the 2 hour underground hike you'll encounter that and then you can say you did it! The rest is mostly standing erect walking, a couple narrow passages you walk though sideways and a couple areas where you crouch/duck (or if you need to crawl). Great experice, easy to get to from Fortuna and $23 for a private, easy going guide who will explain details about the cave and help you along as opposed to a $69 tour. Ask for Victor you'll have a great time and lots of laughs!
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