Cueva El Encanto

Distance: 8 kms return     Duration of hike: 5 hours    Degree of difficulty: Moderate to strenuous.

Cueva-el-encanto-02Some hiking experience recommended. Initial 2 hours is downhill following trails through forest and farmland. This is followed by a 10 minute steep scramble over limestone rocks to the cave entrance using foot and hand-holds. The descent into the cave is by means of a timber ladder and the cave floor is muddy and slippery. You´ll be fine if you are relatively fit and agile.

 

Cueva-el-encanto-03Montaña de Santa Bárbara is the biggest limestone massif in Central America, riddled by caves and underground streams. On this adventure, we hike or ride by horse to a small but charming cave with an underground pool and fascinating formations, with the chance to see some interesting critters that call the cave home.

 

Cueva-el-encanto-04After a traditional breakfast with a local family, we set off along local trails through fields that showcase an ideal mix of agriculture and forests - a good example of what sustainable agriculture should look like.

 

Descending between forest-clad hills there is a good chance of seeing toucans, hummingbirds and many other birds along this trail as well as chatting with locals tending their fields.

 

Cueva-el-encanto-05On approaching the cave we scramble across a steep and rocky slope – the hand-holds are good and with a little caution there won´t be any problems.

 

Entry into the cave involves descending a 4m wooden ladder lashed together with local timbers – it requires a bit of balance but there will be plenty of hands to make sure you get down safely.

 

Once in, you will be greeted by a small family of bats that live in the cave, and we will make our way across the muddy floor to a delightful underground pool, admiring the glittering formations and the phoenix on the roof, as we go.

The return trip is a continuous uphill slog, but lunch awaits you at the top and we're confident that you will feel well-rewarded after a strenuous but exciting day!