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Hiking and Camping in the Florida Jungle Puerto Rico
Camping in the Florida jungle visiting Zumbo Cave, Wind Cave (for those vertically proficient), and La Escalera.
We will be setting up our sleeping bags inside this cave
This Cave is a great cave large enough to comfortably shelter 8 -10 people. This cave was used years ago as a gathering place and even a place of worship. This cave is dry and is open at both ends so a nice breeze comes through.
We may also opt to set up our tents in the Jungle off the side of a mountain so a tent is required even if we don't use it.
I will be bringing a tent that comfortably sleeps 3 people just in case.
We will be flying to PR on Thursday evening after work and flying back on Monday Night so you will need to take Friday and Monday off. We will be meeting the first night and driving to Florida PR where we can opt to spend the first night in a hostel or just immediately hike in to the cave and set up camp. After lunch we will begin our hiking and cave exploration which will consists of two or three smaller caves on that very first day.
Entrance the first of six caves we will be seeing, this one involves a little rock scrambling at the entrance. Nothing we haven't done before!!
This is my hand next to a harmless cave cricket, they are elusive and stay away from you so I felt fortunate to have been able to pose with this cricket if only to show scale!!
Descending into the caves is an amazing experience as we enter giant chambers with amazing formations of Stalactites, Stalagmites, Columns and Flows of many shapes and sizes. Because the area around the caves is made of red soil the cave formations take on a hue not seen in caves in the US.
Face to Face with one of those formations!!
After a 1 hour hike of varying degrees of elevation we reach another cave entrance, this one has the largest entrance and the largest rooms with amazing formations on the walls and the ceiling.
The picture below shows this same cave from the inside facing out.
This cave is long and has huge rooms as well as tight crawl spaces which gives you a chance to experience all aspects of caving.
We will be spending each day hiking from one cave to another, some hikes are short others are long but we are hikers and hiking the jungle by itself without the caving is worth the trip. You can see and hear the wonderful sounds of the native life in the jungle including elusive Coqui, (pronounced ko kee) which is a very small tree frog which only exists in Puerto Rico and makes a whistling like sound which gave it it's name. When it rains and at night you can hear thousands of them as they sing you to sleep. Hearing them is very soothing, some say almost therapeutic.
This is a tropical rain forest so raining throughout the day is to be expected. Be prepared to see things like raining on one side of the trail and sunlight on the other side. Also much of the hike is a bushwhack hike but you may see a faint trail from previous trips.
Faint trail from previous foot traffic
Another Cave entrance
After another long hike through a beautiful valley and then a bushwhack we will reach another Cave entrance, Escalera Cave.
This is the best cave entrance which is a long climb down a rope into the cave
In this photo Jerry makes his way down the entrance, you can can see a rope ladder on the side which was left behind by another group.
Jerry still making his way down
In this picture if you look carefully you can see a tiny white helmet of one of our cavers going down into the cave.
Looking up after our long Descent
Some of the caves are wet caves so you will be in water at times.
Now inside the longest of all caves on the other side of the jungle we reach a cave that involves rappelling.
It has a 50 foot rappel to get to the bottom after a 2 hour trip into the cave, this part of the trip is optional and only the vertically proficient can do this but getting to this part still takes you through the entire length of the cave. So those who aren't vertically proficient still get to experience the entire cave with the exception of the lower chamber. We will be setting up a vertical workshop for those going on this trip to become vertically proficient. We will also be helping you purchase your own frog system so that everyone can do this part of the cave
Our Guides are Abraham who has over 40 years of Caving experience in the area and is the person who named most of the caves. Jesus is our English speaking guide who also doubles as a chef.
In this photo from left to right is Abraham our guide through the trails and inside the caves, He is a 66 year old survivalist, marathon runner and one of the strongest people I have ever met. Next to him is his brother Jesus our English speaking guide and cook. Abraham is holding a wild Yam found in the Jungle which Jesus cooked for us and it was awesome. To the right is my good friend John Phillips
After our more muddier cave we can hike to a water fall and take advantage of a shower under its cascading waters.
After washing off the mud we can just relax a while and meditate surrounded by the soothing sounds of the rushing waters.
On the last day of our trip we will spend a few hours in old San Juan and sample the local cuisine before taking our flight back home. We will cram a lot of activity in our 4 & 1/2 day trip but it will so be worth it. Hope you will join us!!
Be prepared to book airfare by Feb 1st FLYING INTO San Juan
Estimated per person costs:
Vehicle rental: $80 -$100
Guide/camping fees: $200
Vehicle Gas & Tolls: $25
Please note that the above figures DO NOT include the cost of daily meals and your airfare.
$200 total in guide fees.
Everyone will also have to contribute towards our vehicle rental. This usually runs around $80 to $100 per person. This amount may change once I know exactly how many participants we have confirmed.
We will pay equally for tolls and gas by maintaining a "kitty" in our vehicle for common expenses, which will include about $30 for the purchase of some propane canisters for the stove(s) at our campsite.
Finally I will be asking each of you to send me a non-refundable deposit of $100 BY February 15th. This deposit will be put towards guide fees and vehicle rentals expenses.
Deposit is to be made via Paypal as a gift (gift to avoid fees) or via Chase QUICK PAY to
Prior to getting to our campsite cave we will stop at a supermarket to buy all our food and other provisions. Things like propane canisters and plastic trash bags, plastic forks and spoons, etc. (i.e common items) will be paid for out of the above mentioned vehicle kitty.
1 Pair of caving boots (try to double as hiking boots)
2 Pairs of hiking pants
1 Pairs of caving gloves
2 Old T-shirts synthetic
1 Durable long sleeve shirt
1 Primary headlamp (LED with 3 AA batteries) with clips to connect to helmet
1 Spare headlamp (AA batteries)
1 Backup Mag-Light (2 AA batteries)
1 Pair of knee and elbow pads
1 Compass (optional)
1 Space Blanket (optional)
6 AA batteries per each cave day (can buy locally)
1 Glow Stick
2 One-quart plastic water bottles (can buy locally)
6 Power bars or other munchies (can buy locally)
1 Leatherman type utility Knife tool (optional)
SURFACE CAMPING EQUIPMENT:
5 Large plastic bags (can buy locally)
10 Zip-lock sandwich bags (can buy locally)
1 Light weight sleeping bag with compression sack
1 Insulated Back-pad or air pad
1 tarp (ground cloth) for under tent
1 Small mess kit (inc. cup, pot, pan)
1 Water filter (optional)
1 Water purification tablets (optional)
1 Eating utensil tool (i.e. knife, fork, spoon)
1 Two-person tent OR one-person tent and a jungle hammock
1 Bottle of insect repellent (can buy locally)
1 Mosquito Netting Hood/Hat
1 Small alarm clock (optional)
1 15' length of 6mm accessory cord (optional)
1 Small roll of Duct Tape
1 Small roll of electrical tape (optional)
1 Small first aid kit
1 Pack of waterproof matches
Dehydrated food packs (4 days worth)
Extra tent pegs
1 Duffel Bag, equipped with shoulder straps
1 Carry-on bag
1 Lock for the above bags
1 Backpack (pack in a duffle)
1 Backpack rain cover
- Passport, Drivers License, etc.
- Copy of Passport (kept separate from you Passport)
- Emergency Contact List (which I will be sending to you)
- List of equipment in case anything is lost or stolen
2 Pairs of hiking pants
1 light colored Safari style vented long sleeve shirt
2 T-shirts Synthetic
1 Pair of Sandals or track shoes/sneakers
5 Pairs of underpants or you can wash and wear
5 Pairs of socks No Cotton
1 Long sleeve shirt
1 Pairs of polypropylene underwear (in case of a cold night)
-Camera Batteries (optional)
-Small short wave radio (optional)
-Small Spanish-American Phrase book (optional)
-Toilet paper (can buy locally)
-Bar of soap (can buy locally)
-Foot Powder or talcum powder
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