Caves of Haiti “Secret Place Full of Mystery”

Picture by Haitian Photographer Ludwig Borgella

The island is well-known for its exotic beaches and is now known widely for its impressive cave systems.  Many of these gigantic subterranean treasures are open to researchers and tourists, however, few of them have been mapped out.  The most popular ones are:  Bellony cave in Pestel, the Kounoubwa in Camp-Perrin, Saint Martin in Dondon, Twou Bondye in Port-de-Paix, Cave Marie Jeanne in Port-a-Piment. 

  • Cave Saint Martin is used for mystical and socio-cultural activities by many.  Locals and international visitors travel to Cave Saint Martin every November 11th to take part of a festival held there. Dondon is also home to three other caves Marc Antoine, Nan Michel 1 and 2. 
  • Discovered in 2013, Cave Marie Louise Boumba is located in La Visite Nationale (Southeast of the island), it is the deepest cave not only in Haiti but in the Caribbean.
  • One of the largest caves in the Caribbean is Cave Marie-Jeanne discovered in 2009. It is made up of three levels of galleries and bears strong evidence of pre-historical human activity, such as pictographs and pottery, making it an important ethnic landmark. The entrance of the cave is very lush as it is home to a tropical forest. 
  • Fonds-des-Negres and Ile de la Torture are home to many caves. It is noted that the caves played an important role in the lives of the Tainos as they do now in our culture.

Grottes Marie Jeanne

"Grotte" Cave Marie-Jeanne in Port-à-Piment, South Department of Haiti

The caves presented here are located in particular corners of the island, however 70% of the territory of Haiti is made of limestone rocks favorable to the formation of caves. There are therefore cavities in the various departments and there are more than one hundred and fifty known throughout the country. 

Many of these cavities are used to harvest guano, to draw water or for mystical meetings. Haitians also come to take refuge there when a strong hurricane is announced.

Marie Jeanne is the longest excavation discovered in Haiti thus far, new caves are still being discovered here.

The picture above of Cave Mary Jeanne was photographed by talented young Haitian man Ludwig Borgella

La grotte Bellony ou grotte des Trois Cheminées

Grotte Bellony in Pestel, Grand'Anse

Bellony Cave is a karst cave located near the city of Pestel, Grand'Anse in the Corail Arrondissement of Haiti. The cave was recently uncovered during a 2009 expedition. Immediately after, trails were installed for guided tours, and gates were emplaced to preserve the more fragile regions of the cave, as a result, the cave remains in a pristine state. The cave is managed by the city of Pestel, despite being nearly an hour away by a combined car and walking journey.


Caves are natural voids underground, large enough to be visited by man. Most comfortable are show caves, where paved paths and electric light allow everybody to discover the beauty of the underground.

la grotte Kounoubwa

La grotte Kounoubwa, in Camp Perrin

Kounoubwa, a cave to treasure!

The Marie-Jeanne Cave, the longest excavation in the Caribbean, is not the only cave that you can visit in the Department of the South. Kounoubwa, a cave a few kilometers from downtown Camp-Perrin, is visited annually by thousands of people. The cave is the main source of income for Joel Constant and two other guides. It is first-class adventure for those who love excursions. Located up high, this cave is a gem. It deserves to be well known and as a result development work is essential.

Publié le 2014-06-06 | Le Nouvelliste

The Future of archaeological tourism in Haiti

30 minutes walk from Camp Perrin, the cave is a huge underground void, a place of pilgrimage. Several rooms are visitable, and for the more adventurous, many passages are hidden and to explore with the guide. The atmosphere is speleological!


Unknown heritage, the caves in Haiti such as those of Pestel, Port-à-Piment and Camp Perrin are places of mystery and legend. They attract both tourists in search of adventure than those who just want to admire the wonders of nature. The Haitian public is very sensitive to the caves because of the many legends surrounding these natural heritage. 

The longest and oldest caves in the Caribbean are found on the Island of Haiti!

Although Kounoubwa was discovered more than half a century ago, very little is known about this natural site.  The Kounoubwa is located in Camp Perin in the South of Haiti. The entry to Kounoubwa is covered with bushy trees of all kinds, which adds to the natural charm of the place. The cave is covered with stalactites and stalagmites which makes it difficult to enter. These mineral deposits are formed as a result of the flow of water running through inorganic material. Thus, the entrance is slippery. The water flows incessantly and has sculpted more images in the cave. Therefore, visitors and guides have the flexibility to name them. Examples are the cathedral and the statue of St. Christophe, and figures with shapes like snakes and horses. There is also a large stone named Maître Carrefour which shows the exit of the cave.


The Kounoubwa cave is not only a place of entertainment, it is also a place of pilgrimage. Vodou ceremonies are held regularly at the cave, and it is a sacred place for a large number of houngans of Camp-Perrin. 

Cave of Dondon

 Dondon holds many caves that tourists are able to explore. Getting to the caves involves hiking through mountains and rivers, offering an incredible view of the landscape and insight into rural Haitian life. In pre-Columbian times, the caves were place of pilgrimage for the native Tainos Indians, and you can still see ancient face carvings at the cave entrances. The caves not only have historic significance, but are spiritual sites for many locals today.  

“Marie Louise Boumba”

Deepest Cave in the Caribbean discovered in Haiti

Cave Mark Antoine