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Caves of Wonder in Bermuda: Crystal and Fantasy Caves
Once hidden underneath the Wilkinson Family property near Bailey’s Bay, the Crystal and Fantasy Caves are now spectacular attractions on Bermuda holidays.
Crystal Cave was discovered in 1905 by then 13-year-old Carl Gibbons and his friend Edgar Hollis when their cricket ball fell into a hole in the ground. They dug up the hole and uncovered a “silent world of delicate splendour,” now known as Crystal Cave.
Crystal stalactites and stalagmites adorn the huge cave, which got its name from the crystal-clear waters that fill it. The underground lake runs as deep as 17 metres in some areas, and is clear enough for tourists to see all the way to the cave floor. A floating pontoon pathway built by the Wilkinson family stands over the lake, serving as a view deck for tourists. Renowned 19th century American humorist Mark Twain was among the first to explore Crystal Cave and marvel at pristine white stalactites, soda straws, and helictite formations. There are guided tours to the cave, with knowledgeable guides providing history and geology facts, and taking visitors to see formations resembling the Manhattan Skyline and Bob Marley’s face.
Not far from the Crystal Cave is another fascinating attraction, Fantasy Cave, also discovered accidentally in 1907 by Carl Gibbons, who investigated a hole in Arthur Haycock’s property. He was then commissioned to put up trails and an elaborate staircase leading to the cave. In 1912, the cave was opened to the public as Wonderland Cave. It was closed in 1931, and was reopened in 2001 as Fantasy Cave.
Fantasy Cave is home to soda straw formations found in the ceilings, waterfall-like calcite mineral deposits on the walls, and deep waters. A fossilised tree root can be found in the cave, as well as a massive column—a result of the integration of the stalactites and stalagmites. Fishes frequent the area, too.
The caves are open from 9am to 5pm; the last tour available at 4:30pm. In the premises are a gift shop, Fiddlestix, and a snack bar, Café Ole.