What is the Cueva del Viento officially?
Cueva del Viento is the largest lava tube system in Europe and the most complex volcanic tube in the world, thanks to its intricate morphology made up of numerous levels and passages unlike anything else found on the planet.
It was formed 27,000 years ago and gets its name (Cueva del Viento translates into Cave of Winds) from the powerful draughts which flow through the 18kms (discovered so far) of passages.
Cueva del Viento is home to 190 species, 44 of which are troglobites - animals specially adapted to underground environments. Of these species condemned to spend the rest of their days in total darkness, 15 are relatively new to science, such as the eyeless cockroach.
What is the Cueva del Viento really?
This is a colossal labyrinth and you will not find anything bigger unless you visit Hawaii. However you will only get to explore a tiny part of this with a guide who knows his subject in a small same language group.
Although you only spend 45 minutes underground, the full Cueva del Viento tour takes around 2.5 hours to complete. It begins at the visitor centre in Icod de los Vinos town hall, where you're invited to watch a video introduction. From there, you take a walk over a lava field up towards the entrance of the cave and then into the depths of the earth.
The subterranean section of the tour takes you slowly past all kinds of geological formations, including lava stalactites, lava cascades, lava lakes and side terraces which all come with a "rocks for dummies" type explanation from the all knowing guide.
Upon returning to the surface your journey back follows a different route, passing you through the ruins of ancient farm villages with its threshing floors still intact.
Ian's Cueva del Viento review
Having donned all the safety gear, which in itself was a laugh, I admittedly yawned a little bit through the intro video but then we were off. Being resident on the island the above ground sights leading to the entrance were nothing special, the tourists within the group however were much more enthusiastic about the views on offer.
Our descent to the earths core was quicker than imagined but you really don't need to go that deep to experience what pitch black actually means. In these conditions you would think there would not be much to look at but our guide armed with a laser proved me wrong. Not only did this tour guide keep my attention but I wanted to know and see more.
The 5th largest lava tube system in the world might not be a tick on everybody's bucket list but it should be a its definitely a new and different experience. Sadly no freaky creepy crawlies joined us on the tour, probably for the best as the echoes of Nicky screaming would be deafening.
Overall rating: ⅘
Nicky's Cueva del Viento review
I normally avoid group tours at all costs - I'm a fan of wandering off and exploring on my own, not being trapped in a group listening to a guide who lost their passion years ago drone on. But as the only way to visit Cueva del Viento is on a guided tour, I had no choice.
Thankfully, this guided tour was totally different to what I've experienced and become used to. The guide was animated, enthusiastic and provided generally interesting information, which could have posed quite the challenge considering the topic. The groups are relatively small, too, meaning I was always close enough to the guide to be able to hear what he was saying.
The walk to the cave before the main tour even began was a real bonus. It might not seem like much, but it's nice to get away from the "usual" Tenerife and have a stroll in the forest every now and then.
We spent a perfect amount of time in the cave. Enough time for everyone in the tour to see the individual things the guide was pointing out, without being there so long that things start to get boring. I can get a bit claustrophobic sometimes, but the cave was big enough for me not to get anxious.
Spending an afternoon in a dark, damp cave surrounded by things to bang your head on might not sound like the best choice when the alternative is a few hours at the beach, but it's totally worth it. If you've never been caving before, Cueva del Viento is a great taster cave to find out whether or not it's your thing.
Overall rating: ⅘
Insider tips for Cueva del Viento
You must buy tickets online in advance
Cueva del Viento is no longer letting people show up and jump on the next available tour. To reserve your place, you now need to book online in advance via the official website.
Since all payments are now online, you also must pay with a card. You can't make a booking online and pay in cash when you get there.
No children under 5
Due to the slightly dangerous nature of the Cueva del Viento walk, entry is not permitted to children under 5. If you're looking for a safer walking route your little one can join in with, consider the Barranco del Infierno.
Because some sections of the cave are tight and narrow, you're not allowed to take in backpacks. There are no lockers provided along the route, so if you're travelling by car, lock your backpack in the boot before you head to the visitor centre. If you're travelling via public transport, pack lightly and only take things that will fit in your pockets.
Wear appropriate clothing
Even in summer, you must wear long trousers and trainers or hiking boots to enter the Cueva del Viento. Show up in shorts and flip flops and you'll be sent back the way you came. Temperatures drop considerably inside the cave, so there's no chance of you overheating.
Important info about Cueva del Viento
Official name: Cueva del Viento
Official website: www.cuevadelviento.net
April - September
9am - 7pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
9am - 4.30pm Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday
October - March
9am - 5pm Friday - Wednesday
9am - 6pm Thursdays
Suggested time: 3 hours
Non-resident adults: €20
Non-resident children aged 5-12: €8.50
Resident adults: €10 (make sure you take proof of residency)
Resident children: €5