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Carlsbad Caverns

Listed under Caves & Caving in United States.

Photo of Carlsbad Caverns
Photo by UNESCO
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Recommended by Mike Lyvers

Hundreds and thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats live in Carlsbad Caverns and each evening they pour from the cave in an explosion of flapping winds and bat scent. The early morning return of the bats is a more subdued affair, but still dramatic as bats dive back into the cave from high in the air.

Inside the deep limestone cave complex are the fossilised remains of a reef system which has been eaten away by sulphuric acid, so rock formations vary from the standard stalactite and stalagmite arrangement. Massive caverns have been opened up by the collapse of walls, the largest over 25 storeys high and a kilometre wide. Parts of the complex are still being explored, but there are many formations and unique grottos to visit that have been set up as show caves and offer easy access.

The bats live in the cavern between May and October/ November and migrate to Mexico for the winter, but the best bat experiences are between August and September when the newly born bat babies (pups) begin joining in with the adults and the colony multiplies over night.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

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Carlsbad is among the top five most spectacular show caves in the world. Experienced cavers will want to join one or more of the wild caving tours off the tourist route. The trip through Lower Cave is especially impressive, with its incredible "bon… Read more...

Written by  Mike Lyvers.

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

This karst landscape in the state of New Mexico comprises over 80 recognized caves. They are outstanding not only for their size but also for the profusion, diversity and beauty of their mineral formations. Lechuguilla Cave stands out from the others, providing an underground laboratory where geological and biological processes can be studied in a pristine setting.

Copyright © UNESCO/World Heritage Centre. All rights reserved.

Carlsbad Caverns

Within Carlsbad National Park there are over 110 caves. These caves were formed by sulphuric acid dissolving into nearby limestone. The result: some of the largest caves in the United States. The most basic way to see the caves is by a self-guided tour. The Big Room, Carlsbad’s largest room at 33,210 square meters, is easily accessible for handicapped people. Self-guided audios guides are available to accompany visitors while exploring the Big Room’s grandeur.

There are also guided tours but these must be reserved in advance. The guided tours vary in levels of difficulty, ranging from simply walking to crawling through narrow passageways. Another popular and unusual attraction is the bat flights program during the summer. Every evening especially during July and August, 400,000 Brazilian free-tail bats leave Carlsbad Cavern. A program is coordinated before the evening flight and for no charge. Early risers are also fortunate enough to have the opportunity of watching these magnificent creatures return to Carlsbad Cavern.

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