Most caves aren’t the types of places that also come with a view; by their very nature, caves are dark, musty holes full of rocks, stalactites and bats. But at Cueva Ventana, about an hour outside of San Juan, the dark cave opens to up to Puerto Rico’s best view.
Ensconced in cliffs towering high above the Rio Grande Arecibo, Cueva Ventana is where subterranean suddenly meets surreal. Though there was once a time when it was free to visit, the area today is privately administered to protect against damage and decay. The downside, of course, is the added cost, but the upside is the fact that the ticket price now includes a local guide. Here you’ll hear history of native Taino who left their marks on the cave, and be presented with flashlights for navigating the depths of the dark, guano-filled room.
Scrambling down rocks, tree roots and mud while weaving through dripping stalactites, the adventure is backed by a soundtrack of bats all squeaking in unison above. Thankfully the cave—since it’s open on both ends—doesn’t have much of a smell, and right when the enveloping darkness begins to feel a bit claustrophobic, light filters through the massive window to reveal a framed, panoramic view of the Arecibo Valley below.
Cueva Ventana is open Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm, and from 8:30am-6:30pm on weekends. Travelers can access the site from the trail near Puma gas station, next to PR-10 on kilometer 75. Entry to the cave, which is located on private land, costs $20 per person. Early mornings are the best time to visit, while those who come on weekends should expect crowds. Evening tours are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays.