Cavernas del Venado

Caverna Gabinarraca - Venado Caverns

Useful Information

Location: 2 km west of the small town of Venado, Province of Alajuela, Northern Costa Rica.
Highway CA-1 to San Ramón, turn off on CR-702 to Fortuna and Tanque. On the road to San Rafael de Guatuso turn left to Venado, signposted. 180 km from San Ramón to Venado.
(10.553594, -84.768438)
Open: Cave: daily 8-15.
Day trips from San Carlos: daily.
Fee: Cave: Adults USD 28.
Day trips from San Carlos: Adults EUR 100.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. Miocene limestones.
Light: helmets and lamps provided
Dimension: L=2,741 m, VR=35 m, T=22 °C.
Guided tours: D=2 h, MinAge=7.
Photography: no
Accessibility: no
Address: Cavernas del Venado, Solís Sánchez family, Venado, Province of Alajuela, Tel: +506-506-2478-8008, Cell: +506-506-8653-2086. E-mail: 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.


1932 discovered by two hunters, Laën Herrera and Manuel Arrollo.
1968 first exploration by the GE.CMCR.


Cavernas del Venado (Deer Caves) is a huge cave system with four entrances, two of those are vertical pits. It is still not completely explored, exploration is done by the Grupo Espeleologico Anthros (GEA). There have also been explorations by the National Speleological Society (NSS) and the Société Suisse d'Spéleológie (SSS). Cavernas del Venado are named Caverna Gabinarraca (Gabinarraca Cave) among cavers and in the Costa Rican cave registry. This is because this is the original name of the cave given to it long ago by the Indian natives.

The tours are rather wild, as the cave is not developed. The visitors are equipped with helmets and lamps and enter the cave through the lowest entrance. They explore most of the dry section of the cave and part of the wet section with its cave river. Guide, torch, a surgical mask, and a bath after the trip are included in the entrance fee, the rental of rubber boots goes extra. The surgical mask is provided by the owners to avoid possible complications. Obviously there are medical dangers in visiting tropical caves, especially if they are almost undeveloped. In this special case there is the danger of getting Histoplasmosis which is caused by pathogenes in the air, or better in the dust of bat guano in the air. Histomplasmosis has about the same symptoms as a flu, so if you get sick despite the mask just tell your doctor. It is not difficult to cure with antibiotics. Taking pictures is not allowed on the tour, as you will be wet most of the time the camera is in great danger to get broken.

The cave starts with the wet part. During rainy season there might be problems with visiting the cave, as the underground river swells and blocks the passage. If a group is in the cave they can be cut off for hours.

The area around the cave is tropical rain forest with an average rainfall between 3,500 and 4,000mm per year. The temperature ranges between 20 and 31 °C. The area is very heavy karstified, the GEA has so far discovered and explored 27 caves. The deepest cave is 77 m deep.