Cueva Ventana


Useful Information

photography
Outlook, Cueva ventana, Puerto Rico. Public Domain.
Location: Near Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Route 22, exit 75B at KM75. Follow road 10 south about 10km to El Derrame, KM 75 (or km 58.7).
(18.375054, -66.692224)
Open: All year Wed-Sun 10-16.
Tours on the full hour.
Please arrive 30 min earlier.
Online booking recommended.
[2020]
Fee: Adults USD 19, Puerto Rico Residents USD 10, Two People USD 33, Three People USD 49, Children (0-2) not allowed.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Explaincave with a view.
Light: helmet and torch provided.
Dimension:
Guided tours: D=90min. English Español - Spanish
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Dawn Ryan (2005): The Enchanted Island - Puerto Rico Expedition '05, INTERCOM, The Iowa Grotto, Volume 41 Issue 1, Jan-Feb 2005. pdf
Address: Cuva Ventana, PR 10 Km. 75, Hato Viejo, Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00612, Tel: +1-787-322-3554. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

2005 explored by cavers of the Iowa Grotto.
FEB to MAR-2009 Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie filmed in the cave.
2012 British TV miniseries Treasure Island filmed in the cave.
2012 filming of Runner, Runner.
2013 daily admission fee was established, and immediately raised.

Description

F090-029
Outlook, Cueva ventana, Puerto Rico. Public Domain.

Cuva Ventana translates Window Cave, the name is obviously with the picture from the entrance portal. The cave entrance is located high above the valley of the Rio Grande de Arecibo. The outlook on the valley is breathtaking, probably the best part of the caves. The caves ticket office is located at the Carretera 10, behind a gas station, which seems to have change its name multiple times during the last years. The tours are on the full hour, but you should arrive at least half an hour earlier, to get helmet, lamp and safety instruction. And to sign the liability waiver. Be sure to wear appropriate walking shoes.

The caves have trails, mostly stamped earth, railings, but no electric light. The guides are said to be trained biologists, because of the multitude of cave animals. It seems they actually extended the rather short cave tour by an additional 30 minutes forest hike to make it worth the rather steep price. There are insects, snakes, and bats in the caves and much more on the walk to the caves. Quite impressive are the amblypygi, an ancient order of arachnid chelicerate arthropods also known as whip spiders and tailless whip scorpions. Large cockroaches, isopods and gobas also populate the cave. Actually there are two separate parts of the cave passage, as the ceiling collapsed. The first part is a small through cave, which is crossed on the way to the main cave. It has many roots of the plants above, which grow into the cave, a sign that the ceiling is not very thick. Cueva Ventana is also a through cave, it is entered on one end and at the other end is the famous window. Its not possible to leave the cave here, because in front of the window the cliff face drops to Rio Grande de Arecibo.

The cave is long known to locals and was visited more or less without permission by the owner. In 2009 scenes for the Disney movie Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie were filmed in the cave. In 2012 filming of the British TV miniseries Treasure Island and the 2013 film Runner, Runner in the cave. The popularity increased and finally the owner of the ground who is also the owner of the gas station introduced daily fees in 2013. For some reason there were different fees for different days of the week, probably because Saturday and Sunday are more popular. Security measures like wooden boardwalks, restrooms, and a parking lot behind the gas station were financed with the fee.

The helmet provided by the operator is a simple one, intended for construction workers. It has no chin straps abd no headlamp, the lamp provided is handheld. If you have a real helmet with a headlamp we suggest to bring your own. You will have your hands free for other things. Probably the reason why they provide handheld lamps: it makes it difficult to touch the formations.

There are numerous comments on the web about the dramatic increase in price between 2010 and 2014. First the cave was free, then there were USD 3 for parking, then USD 5, soon after USD 10, and now its USD 19. It seems the prices are partly meant to distract visitors as the popularity is currently so high, groups extend 5o people and its hard to get a ticket. Also the cave was developed in 2013 and most of the money is spent for protecting the cave and its surroundings. Others were annoyed that locals pay much less, which is actually quite common in countries where locals earn a fraction of what tourists earn at home. Such separate prices are sometimes the only way to allow the locals to visit tourist sites in their own vicinity.

There is a geocache in the cave, which can obviously only be found during the guided tour. However, if you are a GPS fanatic, here are some more locations:
parking on Route 10: (18.374716, -66.692229)
trailhead: (18.374845, -66.692451)
back entrance to cave top cave: (18.371177, -66.692249)
main entrance and steps leading to top cave: (18.371535, -66.691550)
bridge on Route 123: (18.367398, -66.683893)