Botuverá: Where You Can See Stalactites in Santa Catarina
|Stalactites. Picture of a banner because it is forbidden to take pictures inside the grotto.|
Botuverá, a city with less than 5000 inhabitants, is the perfect example of a very, very small town with an amazing touristic spot that we can not miss. This touristic spot is a park called Parque Municipal das Grutas do Botuverá, and what will you find there? Well, a grotto with many speleothems (= cave formations done by water, for example stalactites).
Just so you know, we departed from Florianópolis by car, because this is a trip that should be done with a car or with an excursion. Our plan was to go to Vale Europeu (or European Valley)—a very famous region in Santa Catarina mainly due to many cities where European immigrants came many years ago and, even nowadays, they still have some of their original country traditions—but this will be a story for another post (wait for it!).
So, to reach Vale Europeu from Florianópolis you have to head North. And to arrive at Grutas do Botuverá you have to take a 1 hour detour from the main route. But it is totally worth it. This was the first time I saw stalactites and it was an amazing experience, I loved it. If you also never seen one and are in Santa Catarina, find an opportunity to go.
What you should know before going there:
- This is a guided visit and you have to pay R$ 25,00 (US$ 6.73) (Brazilian students with the official student ID pay half).
- You must be wearing tennis shoes.
- You cannot take anything inside the grotto with you (cellphone, cameras, bottle of water).
- They have lockers where you can leave your belongings during the visit.
- The visit is done in groups with a maximum of 15 people.
- The visit takes around 45 minutes (I didn't notice the time, but I felt it was much faster than that).
The day we went there, besides being a holiday, there weren't a lot of people so we didn't have to wait. Actually, when we arrived there a group of people was almost going into the grotto and we were just in time to join them. The entrance of the grotto is tight and they provide helmets for the visitors, it's very easy to hit you head in some parts of the ceiling.
The grotto is enormous and we can visit only 3 rooms of it. The guide always leads the way, when everyone has reached the room he stops to explain about the geological formations and you can ask questions. The first room we stopped was the biggest one, and there everyone made a circle and the guide turned off the lights so we could have an amazing experience inside the cave, of course you can't move, after all it is not possible to see anything, but the sound of the water dripping is so relaxing.
The other 2 rooms are smaller and with many bats on the ceiling, they didn't move at all when we were there, but you have to be careful to not touch their feces on the rocks around you. Also, you must be very careful because the floor is very slippery. A woman in our group even fell, but she didn't get hurt.
The reason why we cannot take cameras or anything with us in there is people. Some years ago this was allowed, but then some accidents happened because people wanted to risk their safety to take pictures. And not even a bottle of water is allowed because people were littering the grotto. So, they had to ban everything.
I don't understand anything about geological formations and speleothems, but there are some curiosities that I want to share with you.
- The type of rock inside this cave is limestone and it is a must for the stalactites to form.
- The stalactites are formed by the dripping of water which takes millions of years.
- It is estimated that this grotto was formed at least 65 million years ago.
As I said they have lockers where you can leave your belongings during the visit, they also have bathrooms that are clean enough, a parking lot, a small restaurant and a barbecue area.
But besides the grotto there is also a small waterfall inside the park, you just have to walk a few meters in a very easy path and you will be able to see it, it's not that impressive, but it's nice. Also there is a "museum of the immigrant" pretty near the entrance.
|The small waterfall inside the park.|
|Museu do Imigrante - At the entrance of the park you can see this museum in honor to the immigrants of the region.|
Opening days and hours:
- From Tuesdays to Sundays: from 8:00 AM to 05:00 PM (spring and summer) and from 08:00 AM to 04:00 PM (autumn and winter)
Website (in Portuguese): http://www.botuvera.sc.gov.br/parque-das-grutas/
P.S.: The prices and conversions mentioned refer to November 2018/January 2019.