A lot of unusual, surprising and mysterious is hidden in the bowels of the earth, in the labyrinths of caves. And this means that speleotourism will not leave indifferent lovers of adventure and mysteries.

Only the elite can engage in speleotourism, because it requires good physical fitness, but everyone can join these elite through long and hard training.

The essence of this type of outdoor activity and sport lies in the passage through the caves with equipment, and the name comes from the Latin word «speleo» — a cave. There are a lot of unexplored caves in the world, and each of them hides both dangers and mysteries. This means that there will never be a shortage of caving lovers, because a person has a great craving for everything new and mysterious.

History of occurrence

Mankind began to develop caves at the dawn of civilization. For primitive tribes, the cave was both a home and protection from the elements. Therefore, speleotourism is not only a way to get physical activity, but also «food for the mind.» It is not known what can be found in the next cave — there may be unusual natural formations, or maybe rock paintings. In caves, people hid from invaders, they also hid priceless treasures from ill-wishers, so each historical period left its mark in underground and above-ground caves.

1723 was marked by a world record in the exploration of caves. The pioneers reached a depth of 138 meters from the level of the entrance to the Macocha abyss in the Czech Republic. Further advances occurred in the 19th century in Italy — in 1841, explorers reached a depth of 329 m in the Trebic abyss.

This type of speleotourism as exploration of caves gained popularity only at the beginning of the 20th century, and became especially in demand since the middle of the last century.

Features of speleotourism and its types

Speleotourism is attractive to people with an adventurous temperament. Despite the fact that tourists follow proven routes with experienced guides, travel is associated with danger, risk and difficulties. Caving requires good physical fitness, rock climbing and diving skills. Often there is a need to go down deep underground and a tourist can find himself in a confined space for a long time. In deep caves you can find underground rivers and lakes, stalagmites and stalactites. Traveling along proven routes is also fraught with discoveries: even in well-studied caves, you can discover a new passage or corridor.

Caving routes include ground and underground parts. The ground section of the path is the movement by car, skis or on foot to the cave itself, and lowering into the depths underground is the underground part of the journey. Caving requires strength, endurance, and skill. Climbing experience and the ability to use safety equipment is required. Traveling through underground caves has its own characteristics: darkness, gloom, lack of natural light, low temperature, dampness — almost 100% humidity.


Types of speleotourism are determined depending on the complexity of the route. Travel can be complicated by snow and water obstacles. According to the complexity of the caves are divided into 9 categories, for the passage of which you need different skills and different technical devices. The main indicator by which a particular category of complexity is assigned to a cave is the duration of the journey, the number and complexity of obstacles on the route. For example, to pass a cave of the fourth category of complexity, it is necessary to set up several camps underground, the total depth of the caves can reach 1000 m, and the duration of the passage can be 16-18 days.

Sports caving

Speleotourism in itself is not an easy occupation and is not accessible to a person who has not undergone special long-term training for it. But sports caving is an even more difficult task. The goal is set for the athlete to go through caves of a certain category of difficulty in order to obtain a certain sports category. Passage along underground routes is hampered by various features of the relief — blockages, underground rivers, narrow cracks, wells, etc. The ecosystem of the dungeon is unusually fragile, so everyone descending underground must take care of the deep nature, which is very slowly restored.

Speleotourism is an opportunity for each of us to discover a new, unknown and mysterious underground world.

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