My Adventures at Nerja Caves in Spain. . .
You are having the same dream again, the one where you are groping in a dark cave, alone and fearful. You have a torchlight in your hand, that lights up the hidden crevices of the cavern. Otherwise, it is total blackness. Your heart is thudding with anxiety. It is so dark that without the light, you would not be able to see your own hand in front of your face. A sour stench of bat droppings makes you cover your mouth with your hand. As you make your way gingerly over the uneven rocks and wind down into a damp tunnel, you lose your balance and the torchlight slips from your hand. The light blinks for a hopeful moment and then falls, tumbling into a large underground avalanche of rocks. Darkness surrounds you, claws at you, and almost seems to smother you. You feel very much alone and more than a little frightened. You put one foot in front of the other, lurching unsteadily like a woman on stilts. You take a deep breath and decide you have no choice but to slide down among the rocks.
You ease your body downward and suddenly there is a glimmer of light. You look around, and you notice you have entered an inner chamber where a thousand lights are dancing and reflecting off the cave walls— brilliant columns and gem-like stalactites are suspended from the dome and illuminating it on all sides. You smile broadly, and you thank your good fortune. This is no dream. You are in the Nerja Caves, one of Spain's most popular and spectacular historical sites.
The magnificent Nerja caves are a series of huge caverns stretching for almost five kilometers and home to the world's largest stalagmite, a 32-meter column measuring 13 meters by 7 meters at its base. The caves have been used as homes for Neanderthal humans, a burial site and in recent times, as an event place for cultural expressions, such as a ballet or theater performance.
There are bones found here testifying to the passage of hunters, gatherers, and fishermen from more than 30,000 years ago! It is hard to believe that something so outstanding is hidden away in the small town of Nerja in Malaga, Spain.
These huge caves were discovered in 1959 when five local lads from a village named Maro decided to go bat-hunting and headed for a pothole known locally as ‘La Mina’ where they spent the night watching a great number of these creatures exiting through the hole in the rocks.
The boys decided to return the next day, taking with them some tools to dislodge a couple of stalactites in the entrance. Once inside, they found themselves able to descend to a huge cavern where they discovered a number of skeletons next to some ceramic pottery.
Excited by their find, they went back to tell their family, friends, and teachers but it wasn’t until the cave was visited by a medical expert and a photographer that the true extent of their discovery became apparent. The caves are now floodlit for better views of the spires and turrets created by millennia of dripping water. Called a natural wonder, you will be blown away by the sheer size and scale of these caves!
The Nerja Caves are a MUST go and see. Tips to keep in mind before you visit:
1. An audio guide is included in the visit ticket price as is a short video shown before entering the caves. Adults: €10
– Children aged 6 years to 12 years: €6.00
– Children under 6 years: Free
2. Wear comfortable shoes (no flip-flops.) Be prepared to walk as there are no lifts as in some other caves. There are a total of 460 steps and good paths to walk on.
3. The tickets are staggered with about 2-hour waits in between purchase and entry so as to not over-crowd the caves. You can make use of the wait by wandering the botanical gardens or having lunch at the cafe there.
These incredible caves are awe-inspiring. You just have to be there because it is impossible to capture the feel and immensity in photos. In a nutshell, its like entering a giant movie set or another world as discovered in a Star Trek episode!