www.thetravel.com

25 Otherworldly Images Of Caves That We Need To Visit ASAP

Caves have the power to transport the people who are brave enough to venture inside into a completely different world. There are animals that live their entire lives underground and natural phenomena that can only occur in caves in many different places around the globe.

While some of these caves have been made easily accessible through walkways and boats, there are other caves that require specific equipment and training because of the conditions inside. Although these caves are less explored, they are no less beautiful and their inaccessibility ensures that the natural beauty of Mother Nature remains undisturbed.

One of the most fascinating aspects about caves is that they often take us back to a time when human civilization was just starting out. There are many caves that hold evidence of long term human inhabitants either through bones, artifacts, cave wall artwork, or stone sculptures. These findings tell the story about the kind of environment that our earliest ancestors grew up in and how they worked with nature to survive and thrive.

Below we take a look at 25 caves around the world that are so unbelievably and naturally beautiful, it makes us wonder if we have entered into another world completely.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

25 Reed Flute Cave, China

via handluggageonly.co.uk

The Reed Flute Cave in China is also known as the “Palace of Natural Arts” because of its beautiful and artful light shows that transport tourists to another underground world. Named “Reed Flute" because of the abundant reeds growing right outside of the cave that people have made into flutes, the inside of the cave is full of jaw dropping views of stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations, many of which are lit up in bright and varied colors that are constantly changing and moving so that visitors won’t soon forget their visit to one of China’s most popular natural attractions. (travelchinaguide)

24 Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, New Zealand

via beetpics.pw

Stepping into Waitomo Caves is truly like stepping into a different, glowing world. The name Waitomo is a combination of the words “water” and “hole in the ground". The cave is made of incredible limestone formations and luminescent glow worms that dot the ceilings and walls to make the entire cave glow softly as visitors either walk or ride a boat that takes guests through a grotto that is lit by thousands of tiny native New Zealand glow worms. In addition to the common, but no less beautiful, stalagmites and stalactites that grow in many different places in the cave, there are also helictites which are spiral-shaped decorations to add variety to the natural beauty. (newzealand)

23 Enchanted Well, Brazil

via thousandwonders.net

The Enchanted Well in Brazil is a natural marvel that truly has to be experienced in person. Set in the mountainous areas of the Chapada Diamantina National Park, the region is well known for having rare species of endangered animals such as jaguars and pumas along with several species of parrots, small lizards, and hummingbirds which make it feel like a mythical land of lush nature. Among this beauty lies another gorgeous feature, the Enchanted Well which is located 80 meters inside a cave and stretches to a depth of about 37 meters which feature water so clear that you can see all the way to the rocky floor. (feel-planet)

22 Jeita Grotto Cave, Lebanon

via orangesmile.com

Nicknamed the “Pearl of Nature in Lebanon”, Grotto Jeita spans almost 9 kilometers in total length and is actually made up of two separate but interconnected limestone caves that are both situated in the natural abundance and lush valley of Nahr al-Kalb. The Grotto offers both footpaths to allow visitors to walk through 700 meters of the cave’s total 2,200 meter length in the Upper Grotto. For an even more relaxing tour through the gorgeous cave, visitors can also explore the Lower Grotto by boat and cruise over 400 meters to take in the tranquility and natural splendor that surrounds visitors. (jeitagrotto)

21 Crystal Cave, Iceland

via spotlight.it-notes.ru

One of the more fascinating things about ice caves is that they are constantly in a state of flux because of the continual melting and freezing process. In Iceland, the Crystal Cave is one such cave that may look very different as time goes on. The cave is currently accessible through a 22 foot entrance and although it starts off big, the inside soon tapers down into a space that is no more than four feet high. Ice caves are not for the faint of heart however, depending on the time of year the ice can be unstable and can collapse at any time which is why wintertime is the best time to explore the icy underground spaces carved out near glaciers. (extremeiceland)

20 Petra Caves, Jordan

via ani.shah.com

The Petra Caves in the high desert of the country of Jordan are truly a wonder and the town of Petra has been named one of the 7 New Wonders of the World in 2007 along with being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beautiful red color of the caves seems to glow as the sunlight streams in through holes and the Nabataeans people who used to inhabit the area were in a prime location since the surrounding barren desert and mountainous terrain ensured that it was kept relatively well hidden from any invaders. The Nabataeans carved caves to dwell in as well as towering and intricate rock wall carvings, theaters, and temples; all built from the beautiful red and brown rocks! (nationalgeographic)

19 Lechuguilla Cave, United States

via sci-news.com

Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico is the third longest cave in the United States and the 5th longest cave in the world. Cave explorers have mapped out over 136 miles of passages that push about 1,604 feet in depth. In addition to being one of the longest caves in the world, the beauty of the rock formations are no less impressive. Rare structures were discovered in Lechuguilla Cave that were not found anywhere else in the world such as massive chandeliers, hairs and beards, and soda straws, all of which hang from the ceiling and are over 15 feet long! (nps.gov)

18 Batu Cave, Malaysia

via timetravelturtle.com

Batu Caves is both the name of the series of caves and cave temples located in Malaysia as well as the name of the nearby village. The limestone that forms the Batu Caves is incredibly old and has been forming for over 400 million years. There is evidence that the cave entrances were at some point used as shelter by indigenous tribes in the area and the caves themselves did not become famous for their religious monuments and temples until the late 1880s. The caves are such an important site of worship that for over 100 years, the Thaipusam festival has been celebrated inside the caves. (malaysia.travel)

17 Mutnovsky Cave, Russia

via orangesmile.com

Located in the middle of fire and ice, literally, the Kamchatka Cave in Russia sits under a thinning veil of glacial ice above and the cave’s stream is fed by volcanic hot springs below from the Mutnovsky volcano. The cave is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula and unlike many of the other caves that use colorful lighting to paint the walls different colors, these cave walls, ceiling, and ground are all painted by natural sunlight streaming in from above the ice. Because of its proximity close to the volcano, if it were ever to erupt it would most likely destroy the current caves, although it may carve out some more beautiful caves. (huffingtonpost)

16 Jiuxiang Caves, China

via theholidaze.com

Jiuxiang boasts more than 100 karst caves and is also known as “the museum of karst caves” because it is the largest cave system in China. The area is a natural spectacle because it is full of gorges, canyons, and valleys in addition to the popular caves. Many of the caves have distinctive features, for example in “Bat Cave” there are literally thousands of bats hanging from the ceiling along with numerous huge stalactites. In “Lying Dragon Cave”, a dragon shaped underground river winds through the cave and there are also two waterfalls that meet at a pool 10 meters deep. (chinahighlights)

15 Caves of Choranche, France

via hiveminer.com

One feature that is distinctive about the Caves of Choranche in France is the appearance of what has been coined “soda straws” that hang down delicately from the ceiling like delicate crystal straws for visitors to enjoy and marvel at. The cave is located at the bottom of the Presles cliffs which has a 300 meter vertical drop and offers over 300 routes, many of which lead to different grottos in the area. The guided tour of the Caves of Choranche includes a trip to the stunning underground lakes and the luminous light show in place that makes the walls of the caves seem to sparkle. (francevoyage)

14 Carlsbad Caverns, United States

via tes.com

Carlsbad Caverns is one part of a larger National Park in the southeastern part of New Mexico in the United States and is one of over 100 other caves in the park as more are being discovered. In addition to its stunning visual displays of stalactites and stalagmites, the cave also has a “Big Room” that is the largest accessible cave chamber in North America, covering over 8 acres total. There are a variety of trails ranging in accessibility and difficulty that are open to the public, two of the easier paths are self-guided while some of the more difficult ones entail rangers guiding visitors deep into the depths of the caves with lanterns held high. (nationalparked)

13 Marble Caves, Chile

via wildlifearchives.com

Although the Marble Caves in Chile may appear like they are off a set of an outer space movie, they are very real and border Lake General Carrera, which is a remote glacial lake that crosses the Chile-Argentina border. The caves were made over a period of at least 6,000 years as waves washed up against calcium carbonate to form the smooth walls, which are not actually blue themselves but offer a perfect reflection of the deep blue waters where it sits. These caves are not accessible by land, so guests will have to take a boat to enjoy a guided tour and marvel at the light reflecting off the unbelievably vibrant colored walls. (atlasobscura)

12 Crystal Cave, México

via news.nationalgeographic.com

Like many great discoveries in human history, the Crystal Cave in México were accidentally discovered by two brothers who were mining a tunnel under the Naica Mountain in the state of Chihuahua. Buried 300 meters beneath the Earth’s service are the world’s largest crystals, some reaching over 36 feet and weighing up to 55 tons! These massive natural made wonders are intimidating enough just because they are so gigantic, but even more intimidating is the extreme conditions that they grow in which does not allow for tourism since temperatures can reach up to 136°F, with 90 to 99 percent humidity and the air is acidic which means that special equipment is necessary. Although we may not be able to tour the caves anytime soon, we can appreciate the brave souls who went down and caught such a stunning display of crystals. (travelandleisure)

11 Sandy Glacier Caves, United States

via onlyinyourstate.com

For any novice cave explorers, Sandy Glacier Caves in Mount Hood in Oregon, United States should be at the top of the list due to the fact that the tunnels and caverns may not be around much longer. Because they are made of ice, the caves are melting which means that the level of risk when exploring these majestic natural wonders is pretty high. The caves feature ice on the ceiling walls, and floors, as well as spectacles like frozen waterfalls. Brave explorers have mapped at least 7,000 feet of passages and although melting ice does restrict access to the caves for tourism, many interesting life forms such as animals and trees frozen many years ago come to light to tell us more about the area in the past. (smithsonianmag)

10 Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

via travelvietnam.com

Located in the lush vegetation of central Vietnam the 3 million year old cave of Hang Son Doong is well known as the largest cave in the world. Hang Son Doong means Mountain River Cave and was first discovered by a local farmer who was seeking shelter from a passing storm. The caves are actually made of many interconnecting tunnels and the main cavern stretches over three miles long and reaches heights of up to 650 feet; and this is only one of the many caverns in the cave system! The caves are so large that five day expeditions are offered with a guide and to preserve the cave from mass development, only 10 explorers per group are allowed to go in at any one time. (cnn)

9 Blue Lake Grotto, Brazil

via lookingpastnowhere.blogspot.com

Known locally as “Gruta Do Lago Azul”, the Blue Lake Grotto in Brazil is an incredible sight to behold. The cave is a part of one of the largest flooded cavities in the world, and it is filled with water so blue it almost does not look real. It is believed that the water reaches down into a depth of over 200 feet and thought to be fed by an underground river although its exact location has not been discovered. The cave lay largely unexplored until the early 1900s and when it was explored, several bones of prehistoric animals such as giant sloths and saber tooth tigers were found at the bottom of the grotto. (atlasobscura)

8 Cenote Ik Kil, México

via reddit.com

Cenote Ik-Kil in the Yucatan peninsula of México looks like the entrance to another mystical land because of its numerous mini waterfalls and hanging vines that seem to form a beautiful curtain. Ik-Kil is a sinkhole, also known as a cenote which means that light filters down from above, illuminating the stunning natural falls, vines, vegetation, flowers, and waters down below. The sinkhole is approximately 130 feet deep and archaeologists have found jewelry and bones down there, leading them to believe that at one time it served as a sacred, ancient Mayan sacrificial site since cenotes were widely revered to the Maya civilization. (atlasobsucra)

7 Chinhoyi Caves, Zimbabwe

via globalpressjournal.com

The Chinhoyi caves are located in north central Zimbabwe and the name means “Pool of the Fallen” because people were literally thrown into the waters of the pool that held very clear and still water that reached a depth of up to 150 feet. Although the name of the caves might not have a pleasant history, nowadays the caves are widely enjoyed by tourists who are able to get very close to the notorious pool without any fear of being thrown in. The caves are comprised of a system of tunnels and caverns that are slowly collapsing, which is evidenced by the numerous sinkholes dotting the surrounding areas. (zimparks)

6 Jenolan Cave, Australia

via jenolancaves.org.au

The Jenolan Caves in eastern Australia are the largest and most popular caves in the country and are a part of the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve which sprawls across more than 7,500 acres. The caves are among the most ancient discovered as of yet in the world and although over 300 entrances and 25 miles of multi-level passages have been discovered, the complex is still being explored to determine its real size. Although many areas of the caves are accessible to explorers with all experience levels, there are certain areas along the underground river system that are only accessible to experienced cavers. (jenolancaves)

5 Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes, Germany

via en.wikipedia.org

The Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes in Germany have been coined by the Guinness Book of World Records as “the most colorful cave grottoes in the world” because of the countless colorful mineral formations that have formed over many years. Explorers who discovered the caves were so impressed by the dazzling colors and the beauty that they soon after turned it into a show cave and millions of visitors have gone down underground to enjoy the splendor of the caves. The grottoes themselves feature three chambers which are connected by galleries, the most famous being the “Fairy Kingdom” which features colorful stalactites and stalagmites that are reflected perfectly in the still pool of water below them, making them look like castles in a kingdom. (visit-thuringia)

4 Frasassi Caves, Italy

via weddingandeventsfrasassithecaves.it

Frasassi Caves, also known as Grotte di Frasassi in Italy where they are located, seem as if they are out of a winter wonderland movie set. The pristine and abundant white stalactites and stalagmites are a result of the cave being rich in water and the natural spectacle has made it one of the most popular show caves in the country. There are over 1,500 meters of accessible caverns that visitors can stroll through although much of the cave is still unexplored and it is believed that these 15 meters are less than half of the total accessible space. (italythisway)

3 Niah Cave, Malaysia

via wikiwand.com

Located about 10 miles inland from the South China Sea in the country of Malaysia, Niah Cave is considered to contain valuable evidence of prehistoric human existence in Southeast Asia. The Niah Cave was used continuously by humans and is riddled with ceiling paintings that detail the fascinating story of human civilization. In addition to finding tools that date back to 40,000 BC, the most important discovery at the Niah Caves was the skeleton of an adolescent boy that dates back to 38,000 BC, at the time making it the earliest Homo sapiens remains found in the Far East. (britannica)

2 Eisriesenwelt Cave, Austria

via sidelesadventures.com

Eisriesenwelt Cave in Austria is considered the largest ice cave in the world and has numerous icy labyrinth that stretch over 40 kilometers in length and have been steadily forming over thousands of years. Although the cave lay largely unexplored until the end of the 19th century. Once the true beauty and value of the cave was documented however, it did not take long for tourism to start flowing and evidence of simple climbing installations up to and into the cave were built for the public as early as 1920. An interesting fact to note is that the temperature in the caves can sometimes be warmer than the outside temperature and vice versa which just goes to show how Mother Nature truly has her own balance system in place. (eisriesenwelt.at)

1 Onondaga Cave, United States

via reddit.com

Onondaga Cave State Park is home to the Onondaga Cave which is a National Natural Landmark in the state of Missouri also known as “The Cave State” due to its abundance of underground tunnels. The name Onondaga means “People of the Mountain” and the cave itself sits near the Meramec River that fills the natural cave entrance with water so clear that you can see to the rocky floor below. Although the cave itself was strongly considered as a place to mine, instead tourism was favored and now walkways wind around the rocky terrain to offer visitors spectacular views of the various stalactite and stalagmites. (mostateparks)

More in Destinations