Rio Camuy, Puerto Rico


On April 15th, 2017;  Becky, (my wife) and I visited and toured Puerto Rico.  We were on our yearly Cruise during our Spring Break.

Puerto Rico Map 2017

     While there, we visited one of the largest and most dramatic cave systems in the world.

Becky posing in the front entrance of the Rio Camuy (Clara) Cave in Puerto Rico; (she has headphones on, listening to the self-guided tour provided)

     Rio Camuy Cave Park of northwest Puerto Rico has a network of caves, sinkholes, and cathedral-sized caverns, as well as one of the world’s largest underground rivers.

From inside of the entrance of the Clara Cave, Rio Camuy Park in Puerto Rico

     We entered the Clara Cave portion of the larger Rio Camuy Cave System. This cave is part of the ancient course of the Río Camuy and is higher than the present river level. The main passage is a diagonal tunnel 115 m long and 52 m high.  A secondary passage extends 30 m to the west.  The primary entrance is shown in above; there is also a vertical shaft entrance at Empalme Sinkhole shown below.

Inside Empalme Sinkhole (with a view of Cueva Alta del Norte), mesophytic forest & Río
Camuy is at the bottom.

    

Empalme Sinkhole (“Sumidero de Empalme”) is a 99-m wide doline with a
125-m deep vertical shaft, connecting directly to Clara Cave, (pictured above and below) and to the conical-shaped “Cueva Alta del Norte”.  At the bottom, and along the upper reaches of the Río Camuy, numerous collapsed blocks are present, along with top soil composed of clay or dirt, leaf litter, mosses, and rocks with lichens.

Inside Empalme Sinkhole and the mesophytic forest.

    

     Overall, Becky and I rode a trolley down a 18m sinkhole, walked through the vast beautifully-illuminated Clara cave—which contains many impressive stalactites and stalagmites—and tramed to a platform overlooking the 120m deep Tres Pueblos sinkhole, (picture below) with views down to the Camuy River.

From within the Clara Cave in Puerto Rico
Entering the Tres Pueblos sinkhole

     Sumidero Tres Pueblos” is a giant sinkhole measuring 195m wide. The Camuy River can be seen 120m below from three observation platforms that are located at different points alongside the opening of the impressive crater. The sinkhole is located where the borders of the towns of Camuy, Hatillo and Lares meet.

Looking up and out of the sinkhole in the Rio Camuy Cave System
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