USA/NM: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

If there was an Ivy League of American national parks, Carlsbad Caverns would most certainly be part of it! It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 2-3 hour self guided tour takes you down deep underground to a massive cavernous chamber known as the Big Room (the largest cave chamber in North America). Here, there are thousands of fairytale formations – massive stalagmites and stalactites, columns, flowstone structures, cave popcorn, draperies and cave bacon, even rarer formations like lions tails. The concentration and richness of the limestone formations is quite staggering and one of the best in the world (and I’ve seen easily over a 100 caves by now – this is my 5th time to Carlsbad. Unfortunately, tours of the smaller but equally spectacular other caves (there are over 120 caves here) are now closed, as is the evening bat flight – as they say here: “guano happens”.