Caribbean Snapshots: Cueva Lirio, Puerto Rico

This remote natural wonder is reserved for the truly adventurous traveler


Forty miles to the west of Puerto Rico lies wild Mona Island. Remote and now designated as a biological reserve, the island sees few visitors, as there are no facilities. Sometimes called the “Galapagos of the Caribbean,” Mona attracts bird watchers, nature lovers and spelunkers.

For those who come to explore the caves that riddle the island’s limestone substrate, the crown jewel is the Lirio Cave complex. Once mined for valuable deposits of guano, which are used in the making of fertilizer and gunpowder, the cave now lures the adventurous with miles of subterranean passages, expansive chambers and spectacular formations. One of the cave’s most dramatic features is the entrance, which opens to a sea cliff to frame spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea.