The hunt for caverns, ice cream, and a hidden beach.

Puerto Rico Travel Blog

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Camuy River Cave Park

It was the day we went underground see rock formation and delve into the caverns, drove to a town just to eat ice cream, and ended the day on one of the best, adorable beaches I have ever seen.

It was just another day in our weeklong vacation in Puerto Rico. Five friends with one car for 6 nights and 7 days in one island in the Carribean Sea.

We woke up to yet another early morning with a plan. Visit the Camuy Caverns, have ice cream at popular ice cream shop with over 50+ exotic (also unusual) flavors, and check out the beach that the lady we chatted with in Vieques has highly recommended to us.

After grabbing breakfast, our first destination was the Camuy Caverns in Lares, just under an hour, northwest of San Juan.

Camuy River Cave Park
We arrived early, around 930am, and bought our tickets ($10 including the audio guide) before being called to join a bigger group. A short documentary about the caves is shown before taking a trolley to the entrance of the caves. Due to the temperature sensitivity of the cave system, only certain number of people are allowed inside the caves at a time. The guide directs our path while the included audio guide provides information on each section of the caves. Very informative and my nerdiness kicked in. 

The Camuy Cave River Park, or Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy, is a vast cave system and definitely has a different feel compared to the other caverns I've visited before (like Luray Caverns in VA). The tropical environment is evident in the atmosphere of the caverns. A tree growing upside-down welcome you to the caves. 

The first cave we entered was pretty impressive.

The Clara Cave is a vast chamber and the roof of the Empalme Sinkhole that almost serves as a window, showcasing the tropical environment in which the cavern is located. The slope of the roof is slowly being covered by green moss. A very enchanting view to see.  Underneath the more than 700 feet chamber, unique rock formations, as well as stalactites and stalagmites can be seen. Large boulders of rocks littered the chamber floor, part of the collapsed ceiling. Various viewing platforms are located along the path before reaching the Spiral Cave and Sinkhole, where the sinkhole provides views of the sky and lush greenery can be seen growing from the roof, down to the 400ft sinkhole. A deep gorge inside the cave hides most of the bats that reside in the cavern, evident by a certain distinctive smell.
Camuy River Cave Park
Throughout the cave, some fo the path can be dry or slippery. Some of the walls were "crying" as moisture seeps outs of the porous rocks. The air is both dry and humid, but cool, with a nicer breeze when near the sinkholes.

After Camuy, we were excited to have some ice cream from Lares. Well known to have over 50+ flavors, we drove to Lares, unaware that it was going to take more than an hour! After a quick stop to buy mangoes and mangosteen on the road to Lares, we finally arrived at this small town just for ice cream! Heladeria Lares had over 50+ flavors, most we don't even know what (they were in Spanish), unique and delicious, we tasted and bought 3-flavor combinations. Across from the ice cream shop, a wedding ceremony was taking place in the church. We almost crashed the wedding - but we quietly sneaked out. Hehehe...

We headed to our next destination - Mar Chiquita, a small crescent cove of a beach, recommended by a local whom we met in Vieques.

Camuy River Cave Park
Located on the north side of the island and about an hour and a half west of San Juan, up and down the hilly coast, we found Mar Chiquita a gem of a beach. There is hardly anything there - so be prepared to bring your own food and drinks and as for facilities, well, umm... just forget it!

The beach is protected from the strong waves by an enclosed rocky barrier - clear waters, it is ideal to snorkel and great for the little kiddies. The view from the rocky barrier was breathtaking, as you can see the strong waves crashing.

We stayed at the beach for about 2 hours before heading back to San Juan.

Of all the beaches we visited on this trip, Mar Chiquita was hands down my favorite!   

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Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park
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Camuy River Cave Park
Heladeria Lares
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