During my university years, one of my friends tried to convince me to join the cave-exploring group she belonged to. Days later she showed up in class pretty banged up after one of her exploration trips. Whatever desired I had of lowering myself into caves hanging from a rope ended there.
Except for that popular Santo Domingo disco, I shall stick to the surface.
For those like me for whom National Geographic-level adventures are out of reach, Dominican Cueva de las Maravillas (Cave of Marvels) is the perfect day-trip.
Without any doubt, it is one of the most interesting natural sights I've been to in our country.
Inside, the cave resembles a cathedral, with high ceilings, stalactites, and stalagmites that look like ancient marble statues. The comparison to a cathedral is made more apt by the fact that it served as a place of refuge and funeral sites for the Tainos, the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the island. Wall paintings serve as the witness to their existence.
The place is impressive, and at the moment I lack the words to describe it. Unfortunately, and for very understandable reasons, photography is not allowed in the most impressive parts of the cave. The few photos I did take was in a small area designated for that purpose.
The cave extends nearly a mile [1km] underground level, only a section is open to the public, although still quite large. The gardens are well-maintained, and there's a small refuge for native iguanas on the premises.
Cueva de las Maravillas is on the road from La Romana to San Pedro de Macorís, admittance at this time is RD$300 for adults. The park is open every day except Mondays.
Coming back home we stopped in Bayahibe, a cute beach town for adventure travelers, where we had a great lunch by the beach, then stopped to have shaved ice at a friend's shop.