Cueva de las Maravillas National Park

Witness stalactites and intriguing rock formations alongside ancient Indian paintings in this 100,000-year-old cave.  

Take a tour of the Cueva de las Maravillas (Cave of Wonders) to explore the stunning scenes of this underground geological phenomenon. Test the acoustics of its echoing main chamber or admire ancient Indian inscriptions on the walls. Bring your camera and capture some of the interesting rock formations that make this cave so wondrous.

The Cueva de las Maravillas has been dated back around 100,000 years and was once inhabited by the Taino Indians, a native tribe on the island of Hispaniola. This ancient culture was suppressed by European colonists, so when the cave was discovered in 1926, the wall paintings left behind became a valuable insight into the Taino lifestyle. Be sure to look for the hundreds of petroglyphs, which depict elements of their origin story, etched into the rock walls.

Join a cave tour and explore the illuminated chambers. Though the areas available to the public take up 2,500 square feet (240 square meters), the cave is actually around four times that size. Paths are marked out by concrete and rails and the tour is appropriate for all ages.

For the most informative experience of the cave and its history, go with an English-speaking guide. Be sure to ask about how the stalactites, stalagmites and pisoliths are formed and what the Taino paintings are depicting.

Visit the nearby iguana farm and watch these cautious reptiles going about their day. Keepers can answer any questions about these animals and their forested habitats. Nearby, a gift shop and a small museum with artifacts from the cave are worth a visit if you have time.

The Cueva de las Maravillas is a 20-minute trip by taxi west of La Romana. Cave entry and tours charge reasonable fees. The cave is open from morning to evening every day except Monday. The paths and chambers inside are handicapped-accessible.