Visit Cuevas de Bellamar

This place is highly recomend, for you vacation in Cuba. Located very close to the city of Matanzas, one of the main attractions.

Cuevas de Bellamar

Origin Bellamar Cave

The galleries and passages of the Bellamar Caves are estimated to have begun to form about 300 thousand years ago. According to scholars, the plain in which the caves are located was originally under the sea, forming part of Matanzas Bay. Throughout the so-called Failure of Bellamar the underground water, in combination with carbon dioxide, was dissolving the calcareous rock and in this way was creating underground chambers in the subsoil; under the seabed.

While they remained below sea level, these caverns were full of water. The tectonic movements caused the area to rise, to the point of forming the marine terraces that can be seen in the city of Matanzas and its surroundings.

With the passage of time these caverns dried up, even some cavities that are deep below sea level were drained and leaks began to take place between the rocks. On the roof of the caves, of water with dissolved lime carbonate that were leaving residues when dripping and, thus, form the stalactites from the ceiling and the stalagmites in the ground.

When was the discovery:

The Bellamar Caves were discovered by chance in February 1861 when a slave lost his bar by opening a hole in the ground, trying to remove a rock of lime. The slave and the foreman imagined that the earth had swallowed the bar.

Don Manuel Santos Parga, owner of the farm, asked for explanations and when he did not receive any answers. He went to the place of the events, ordered that it be dug there, and as soon as a space of little more than one yard had been opened, a great current of disgusting smell came out through the hole, hot and as smoky. Then the entrance to the cave was exposed.

Mr. Parga, who was knowledgeable about mines and caves, realized what the discovery meant and began to prepare the cave so that visitors could enjoy it. They took out many stones; they made masonry stairs that are still in use; they installed handrails; and as soon as it was a reality, he installed electric light. He or one of the guides under his employment took the tourists through the passageways of the cave while explaining what they were seeing. Two years after the event, José V. Betancourt from Matanzas, narrated what happened.

Originally called the Cuevas de Parga in homage to its discoverer, the point changed its name to Las Cuevas de Bellamar, in the plural, (although specialists indicate that it is a single cave with several rooms) due to its proximity to the Homonymous beach in western Matanzas.

In the first two years more than two thousand people visited her. In those days it was a resounding success, both tourist and scientific.

Characteristics Formations Stalactites

The stalactites are cylindrical, and as their size increases they become conical while the stalagmites are conical or flattened, as if melted. Both grow until they join and form columns.

In some cases several relatively close stalactites are joined, giving rise to formations called matos. Others run next to the wall forming waterfalls. In the Bellamar Caves you can see all these formations.

Very interesting in the Bellamar Caves are their crystalline formations of transparent and shiny aspect which do not originate in the same way as other named structures. They have their origin in geodes full of water. And more interestingly, in certain caves of the caves the sedimentary formations are covered by a crystalline layer, indicating that after drying, these chambers returned to flood completely, or at least partially.

Gallery and rooms

Access to the caves

In the main hall is the rock formation known as Manto de Colón. This is the largest and oldest that comes in the form of a waterfall and has a height of 12 meters.

Divided into four sectors, its galleries and halls are upholstered with stalactites, stalagmites and helictites, the latter of capricious horizontal shapes.

Designed by nature and baptized by man, there are the tunnel of love, the chapel of the 12 apostles, the Garganta del Diablo, the Paso de la Lluvia, the Salón de las Nieves, the San Pedro and Gothic temples.

Gothic Room:

In the Gothic room, some of the formations have been named; among others is El Huerto de las Carrots, The Chapel of the Twelve Apostles, Doña Mamerta and the famous Manto de Colón. But the Bellamar Caves are not just this room, the cavity extends to the east and west achieving a length that exceeds three kilometers long; and it is known that it is much bigger, with cameras still totally flooded.

Other Salons:

Other cavities include the Gallery of the Two Lakes, the Hall of Sponges, the Gallery of the Dwarves and the Gallery of the Megalocnus east of the Gothic Hall.

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