Cueva Balcones and Cueva Convento Puerto Rico day 2

January 23, 2014

Cueva Convento Puerto Rico

we woke up on our second day in the jungle of Florida Puerto Rico in the backyard of the landowners property. He wanted to join us and take us on a trip to visit balcones and convento which are two caves situated right next to the rio encantado system. We were amazed once again as his mother cooked us breakfast which was rather amazing.  Eggs, meat, juice, even the bread was fantastic. We all jumped into our rental car and proceeded down this nasty broken up road to the end where these caves are located. As I was taking the front wheel drive Nissan up and down this mossy slippery road I was thinking to myself how I was going to drive this car back up this incline of a slip and slide as well as how am I going to make sure the car doesn't go into a figure 8 spin out off the road when we go down the hill.  I was thinking to myself that an off road boo boo will tumble us into the jungle below.  I was committed and beyond the turning point so I had to make the best of this trip and deal with it when we decided to get out. 
Entrance of Cueva Convento
After a half mile of walking we reached the entrances of convento and proceed to get ready for a trip inside this system. The entrance was large!! The mossy flora layered itself over the formations which gave this cave a monstrous look to it. There were two entrances from where we were and each entrance had an exit to the other side. We went into and down the first entrance and the large borehole passages reviled it's Puerto rican nature, massive!!
passage looking out of cueva convento
There are a number of caves in Puerto Rico that appear to be pretty massive and these two caves were no exception. 
Cueva Convento Puerto Rico
We make our way down the large borehole and into another large room filled with stalactites and stalacmites which concluded in an exit back into the jungle. After hanging out here for a bit we decided to turn around and proceed back to the entrance to venture into the otherside of the convent system.

Cueva Convento Puerto rico

The entrance here was even larger and the borehole passage followed suit to the massive entrance we just walked down from. There was a bit more bats in this section but after walking around a few bends, the cave ended.

There was a side passage we checked out which was full of formations so we got a couple pictures of that and proceeded to exit.  After we left Convento we made our way over to Cueva Balcones.

Formation room Cueva Convento

 Pipo cut a b line trail through a saddle in between two mogotes so we could get to the cave quicker. We went through a dense fern overgrowth section so cutting our way through this with machetes made the descent down the saddle easier. We get to the entrance and there was a crack in the wall where the entrance of the cave is.
Pipo at the entrance of Cueva Balcones
We climbed up into this hole and proceeded through a couple rooms with small squeeze entrances that connected to larger rooms. I could hear crickets so I knew we were about break through into large cave passage.
Laura lighting up a connection passage in Cueva Balcones
We look to the ceiling and we can see large bats swarming the ceiling air space above us. As we walk into the large rooms the guava scorpion let it's presence be known by running across the walls and stopping for brief pictures here and there. These things are pretty big! The size of the scorpion is about the length of two hands and these fuckers can run pretty fast too!
Guava non poisonous scorpion Cueva Balcones
We continued to walk through these passages to the end of the cave taking pics on the way in and out. It was a freakin sweat box in these large passages, it must have been in the 80's with high humidity. I was sweating my ass off just walking around in these upper rooms.
Adam in the sweat box room of Cueva Balcones
We exited the cave and made it back to the car just in time for it to rain! Nice, let's add a little insult to shit show of a ride back to the normal one in a half lane roads now shall we.... This was pretty bad but it could have been a lot worse and I have been told that cars like mine have made it out before so I'm locked in commitment and start my way back up this mossy slip and slide road making sure we don't roll into a 200ft ditch below us. We are making good steady speed until I got to the incline, the wheels start to spin, the car locks into anti slip mode and I turn to put the wheels on the dirt to get more traction as we are now inching our way up the road with the wheels throwing dirt. I am making progress as the rain continues to fall making matters worse. I start to slide a bit more and slowly the car breaches the top of the hill making it past the main obstacle. Now we have to go down another hill now, so I slow down and start the descent down the road inching closer to the exit. With the moss, rain, and the decline all working against me, the car starts to fish tail. Pipo takes a deep breath and I can hear Laura's heart skip a beat as I start to slide off the road. I turn the wheel in the opposite direction against the slide a few times and was able to gain control of the rental car once again as we came to the bottom of the hill. We made it to the exit and as the gate was being unlocked I  shouted out "yeeeaaaa"!! "We did it"! I'm not much of a car guy but that was pretty good considering the consequences we could have been facing otherwise. 
We dropped off pipo and went to the beach area where cueva del Indio is located to check out the Taino petroglyphs, the sea arches, and wash off our clothes with a coral reef snorkel swim in the ocean. What an epic day. We  ended up getting a hotel that night to break up the jungle life a bit (after all, this is a vacation) and while we were sitting down eating dinner we heard about a 6.5 earthquake with an epicenter 35 miles from us that happened hours ago. I didn't feel a dam thing or hear anything about. This must have happened when we were sleeping in the tent but thankfully there were no serious injuries, no tsunamis, or aftershocks when we were inside the caves shaking breakdown into our heads. We got rest for the following day into cueva larga and dos ojos 
Pipo in a humid hot room in Cueva Balcones



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