The sound of drums filled the air as we approached the entrance to Cueva del Indio in Viñales, Cuba.
Rediscovered in the 1920s, it’s thought that these caves were once used by the Guanajatabey Indians. In fact, Cueva del Indio means Cave of the Indian.
Walking past conch shells, seeds, pottery and weapons, we saw an eagle perched on a stake. It was a reenactment of old times past, performed by two Cuban men, who dressed the part and greeted us with kindness.
Cueva del Indio is a cave about a kilometer outside of Viñales, Cuba.
The entrance fee is CUC$5, and it’s easily seen in about an hour.
It’s a great place to take kids, and they let you hold native animals at the entrance to the cave.
Tour buses start lining up outside quickly as the morning progresses, and the wait can be long, so do arrive early.
We arrived around 10 am and found that we had plenty of elbow room as we explored the geological site.
The approach to the cave had stairs, and it was easy walking as we wound our way down the lighted, paved path into the cave. There was no need for torches.
We made sure not to touch the cave walls as we know how bad this is for the ecosystem, but sadly many stalactites and stalagmites had already been destroyed.
It took us 5-10 minutes to descend into the cave before we arrived at an underground river, a 12-passenger boat and a guide that took us deeper into the underground waterway.
This would be our first time floating the San Vicente River, and this would be our first time boating through a cave.
I was concerned about the pollution of the boats in the cave river, and I did wish that there were canoes available instead. The guide assured me that they do all that they can to keep the environment clean, and we continued.
We boarded the boat and felt the excitement of adventure just ahead. As we floated along, our guide pointed to unique cave formations that, with a bit of imagination, resembled sea horses, crocodiles and even the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria – everyone laughed.
A short 15 minutes later, we exited the cave and entered the sunlight, passing under green curtains of vegetation hanging down from the mountainside.
The sun was bright after being in the dark for the duration of the tour.
There was a dam holding in the water with a beautiful stream below.
Before disembarking the boat, the guide passed around a hat, and we gave a small tip.
On our way back to the taxi, we walked past an area that had snacks, souvenirs, bathrooms and a path to a more extensive restaurant.
Then, we passed old cars parked next to yet another cave entrance.
We really enjoyed visiting Cueva del Indio, but having a Master’s Degree in Geology, I do feel that better regulations is essential for this cave system, especially with all the tourists coming and going.
In all, it was a fun activity and a great place for Bella to experience what it’s like underground, and I think most anyone would enjoy Cueva del Indio – we sure did!
Join us on our next cave stop at Palenque de los Cimarrones.