Cueva del Palmarito

Gran Caverna de Palmarito

Useful Information

Location: Arroyo Zacarias, Pinar del Río 20100.
(22.643199, -83.733298)
Fee: Adults CUC 1.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=54,000 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Cueva del Palmarito, Arroyo Zacarias, Pinar del Río 20100.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1999 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The Cueva del Palmarito is a small cave with guided tours, there are simple mud paths, but no light. The cave has a cave lake, and many visitors just go there to take a bath. However, the cave is actually underestimated, because the tourist part is not very impressive. The actual name of this cave system is Gran Caverna de Palmarito and it has a total length of 54 km, which makes it the longest cave on Cuba. It is also the 72nd longest cave of the world [2023].

The cave is muddy, and you might get dirty, there are numerous slippery spots. Also, there are only two lamps, one for the start of the group, one for the end, both carried by visitors. We strongly recommend good shoes, preferably gum boots, and bring a helmet with a good headlamp, if possible. The pool, which is frequently praised as crystal clear lake, is actually a rather small, water filled rimstone pool, and because of the numerous visitors the water is muddy. For western tourists not very inviting, probably you should wait for the hotel pool in the evening. Fortunately the swimming is not mandatory. But the rimstone pools, water filled and dry ones, are one of the highlights of the cave.

It seems there are horse riding tours in the area, and this cave is a stop on one course, beneath a coffee plantation, a tobacco plantation, and a free cigar. If you wear cowboy boots for the riding, that's not optimal for the cave. We got the impression the people taking part on such a ride are both mentally, and concerning their equipment, not prepared for a cave tour. Probably they know show caves from western countries with comfortable concrete trails and electric light, and are caught off guard by the semi wild cave.

This cave is listed on the Unesco World Heritage list, however, the listing is the whole Viñales Valley which includes two show caves. The valley was listed for its tobacco fields as well as for its mogotes, which is the Cuban term for karst tower.