#1 Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
Its massive size is almost beyond description at 5.5 miles long, with an entire forest growing inside alongside a river. Interestingly, it was only just discovered in 1991 when a local farmer stumbled across it while seeking shelter from a storm. Amazing!
#2 Cave of Crystals: Chihuahua, Mexico
Do those explorers appear extra tiny?! The scale of these monstrous crystal formations is what science fiction is made-up of! The cave’s natural crystals were actually formed from various water and earth minerals. It reaches temperatures of 136 °F, with 90 to 99% humidity! Unfortunately, they’re deteriorating and scientists are rushing to document them.
#3 Huanglong Cave: Hunan, China
A stunning walkway bridge gives us a great perspective of the size of this cavern. Covering over 120 acres with depths unverified, the CITS website amazingly mentions that its entrance is just about 6.6 feet wide. Visitors have to descend vertically into the cave on a timber ladder! It’s also known as a “Buddha Cave”, as it houses three Buddha statues built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644).
#4 Reed Flute Cave: Guilin, Guangxi, China
This psychedelic wonderland in China is a limestone cave of surreal shapes and natural colors. Being a popular tourist destination, it’s enhanced further with the help of an artificial light show. The cavern dates back over 180 million years, and contains written inscriptions from as far back as 792 AD, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
#5 Eisriesenwelt Cave: Werfen, Austria
It’s known amongst the world’s largest of caves, and the name translates into the “World of the Ice Giants”! It’s an underworld ice phenomenon located in the Alps and was created by the Salzach river flowing through it nearly 100 million years ago. Before its discovery, locals thought the caves’s entrance led to Hell, so it remained unexplored until in 1912.
#6 Cave of Swallows: Schwalbenhöhle, Mexico
Cave of Swallows is so deep, it’s often said that the Chrysler building could easily fit within it. Its opening is the largest known in the world and entering it is not a small feat, hence the skydiver! Deceptive of its name, there are an abundance of various bird species living in holes on the cave walls.
#7 Marble Caves: Puerto Río Tranquilo, Chile
Swaths of turquoise almost appear like a painting in this incredible spot! The way to view this breathtaking vision is on a hired boat from December to February during Puerto Rio’s high tourists season. Located on Lake General Carrera, there are a series of watery marble caverns that cross over Chile’s border into Buenos Aires.
#8 Lechuguilla Cavez: National Park, New Mexico
Doesn’t it look like a scene out of a Dr. Seuss story? Actually, it’s the fifth longest cave in the world, and famously known for its rare mineral formations of gypsum and lemon-yellow sulfur deposits. Most folks will have to experience the cave through pictures, as it’s only available to approved scientific researchers and exploration teams.
#9 Crystal Cave: Skaftafell, Iceland
Wow, how is this possible? Believe it or not, the ice cavern is formed when a lagoon above it freezes over. Additionally, it sits within a glacier and is created by waterfalls melting holes into the ice while the water drains down to lower elevations, all the while forming long tunnels and ice caves. Beautiful!
#10 Glowworm Cave: Waitomo, New Zealand
These mini lights may look like twinkling stars, but they’re bioluminescence worms! Actually they’re larvae and adult female larviform that are about the size of a mosquito. The Waitomo caves are filled with the glowworms, which are unique to New Zealand and quite a tourist attraction.