Nature is a curious cabinet of wonders, and there’s no better reflection of that than the world’s most beautiful caves. Some caves — like Mexico’s Crystal Cave — are so dangerous that only professionals can access them. Others, like the ones Superior Cruise & Travel have profiled in this list, are accessible to the public and perfect companions your travel packages and itineraries. No matter what country you’re traveling to, there’s likely a cave in the vicinity for you. Here are seven of them:
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
A list of the most beautiful caves in the world isn’t complete without mentioning Son Doong Cave. This cave is fairly new, having been opened to the public in just 2013 and discovered in 2009. In fact, more people have managed to climb to the top of Mount Everest than have entered its premises. Currently, it’s the largest cave in the world and is only accessible through one tour operator.
Interesting fact: Inside the cave, there are forests with rich vegetation plots often referred to as the “Garden of Eden” for its majestic beauty. This underground forest is home to several animals, too, including hornbills, flying foxes, and monkeys. It also holds a lake and waterfall.
Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland
This cave, like manyInteresting fact: The south side of this glacier contains so much water that it would take 200 years for it to be ushered out into sea.
of its variety, was formed due to melting glacial icewater. Because it’s completely made of ice, it gives off a stunning, almost translucent marble appearance. There are plenty of other ice caves in Iceland, but this particular cave takes precedence as the largest of its kind.
Glowworms Cave, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Waitomo glowworm cave is a fascinating sight to see. Thousands of glowworms hanging from the cave ceiling make it look as if you’ve stepped into an otherworldly planet on a starry night. The glowworms release long strands of silk used to entrap their prey, and the hungrier these worms get, the brighter they glow.
Interesting fact: This species of glowworm lives only in New Zealand. Additionally, there are other things to see than these glowworm colonies. The cave is also part of a larger system of caves in the Waitomo area, where you’ll find stunning limestone formations and underground rivers.
Tham Lod Cave, Thailand
Beautiful limestone stalactites and stalagmites towering up to 65 feet fill this cave. There are also thousands of bats, swifts, and teakwood coffins (thought to have been carved 1,400 years ago by Lawa tribespeople). If you’re lucky enough to visit this cave during twilight, over the course of an hour, you’ll witness these thousands of animals swoop into the cave.
Interesting fact: Tham Lod Cave is located on the outskirts of Pai, a idyllic no-cars allowed hippie town with a laidback atmosphere.
Marble Caves, Patagonia
This geological formation sits in the middle of the ocean, in waters shared between Argentina and Chile. The smooth marble walls of the caves were formed by lapping lake currents over the course of 6,000 years. But what really makes this cave something special is the way the water reflects against marble, creating a turquoise, ethereal blue color.
Interesting fact: Only very small boats can enter the caves, and the combined estimated weight of the Marble Caves equal 5.5 billion tons.
Antelope Canyon in Arizona
The only stateside cave on this list, Arizona’s Antelope Canyon is a sight to behold. Like the Marble Caves, its walls have a smooth, finished polish thanks to flash floods and winds over the course of millions of years. This cave is separated into upper and lower levels; the canyon walls on the upper level reach 120 feet high, well the lower level is a more difficult , shallow hike, but well worth it for those who decide to take the trek.
Interesting fact: This is the most visited AND most photographed slot canyon in America.