Calling all nature-lovers to the Bat Cave
White sand beaches, lush rain forest, world class waves, breathtakingly beautiful reefs and…bat caves? Yes, that’s right. Bocas has it all, including La Gruta.
La Gruta is located on the main island of Isla Colon, in Comunidad Santiago, about halfway in between Bocas Town and the Boca del Drago beach. To get there you can take an hour bike ride from town, hire a taxi, or take the colectivo bus that goes to Boca del Drago and ask them to drop you off at La Gruta de Murcielagos (literally, the Bat Caves)
There are two caves. Number one takes 5 minutes, the water is shallow and it’s actually quite easy. The second one takes a half hour and the water can get up to your waist. Both are the places to be if you want to hang with bats in cool caves in the awe inspiring natural beauty that is La Gruta.
“It’s adventurous and fun, but yes of course it is a little on the creepy side too. Its pitch black, the water is freezing, and there’s bugs, bats, and critters everywhere, but its good to step outside your comfort zone every once and a while,” says Kaya Kachigian, action-adventurer extraordinaire who “did” the bat caves.
The caves are maintained by the members of the Santiago community. Visitors are encouraged to contribute a $1 donation. You can leave it in the bucket labeled “tips” at the entrance or you can give it directly to the family in the house across the street from the caves. The people in this house can be very helpful. They will lend you a head lamp (very necessary) and can answer any questions about the cave you might have. Roberta gave us some words of encouragement:
“Don’t worry. All those bats do is eat fruit. They won’t hurt you.”
Some suggestions for successful bat cave exploits:
- Shoes are preferable to sandals (water shoes or old sneakers that you can get wet)
- Bring a light (head lamp is the best)
- Don’t be afraid! They’re just flying rodents!
When I first arrived to this enchanted little Carribean Island, I saw myself on the beach or in the jungle. I never imagined I would find myself in a dark cave with bats, but I did, and I found it exhilarating. I recommend it. So as my favorite super-hero would say: “To the bat cave!”