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