Want to get more out of private aviation charters? Go under and within the Earth to see the unexpected. Cave exploring isn’t just for spelunkers. Some of the most beautiful natural and manmade places on Earth are in otherworldly environments hidden by massive walls. From mini ecosystems to mineral-painted caverns, caves have a unique aura of mystery and provide some of the ultimate adventures. Spelunkers discover thousands of new caves every year, so there’ll be endless wonderlands for you to explore.
Mountain River Cave | Hang Sơn Đoòng, Vietnam
The first time that anyone discovered the Sơn Đoòng (Mountain River) cave in Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park was in 1991. The 5.5-mile cave, however didn’t receive international recognition until 2009, when British scientists determined that it was the world’s largest known cave passage cross-section.
Above ground, the cave seems peaceful. When you venture below, the subterranean river roars and echoes off the limestone walls. Inside, you’ll see some of the planet’s tallest stalagmites and jungle environments supported by beams of sunshine. The cavern walls are tall enough for a 40-story building and wide enough to fit a Boeing 747.
The Mountain River Cave has been open to the public since 2013. As of 2015, only 500 permits are issued each year between February and August for $3,000 (USD) each, so you have to act fast if you want a tour.
Ainsworth Hot Springs | British Columbia, Canada
If you’d rather relax your muscles than work them, hire a private jet to take you to relax in Ainsworth Hot Springs on the Kootenay Lake. The springs originate from the nearby Cody Caves and travel through underground faults. As the water’s moisture drips from the H-shaped caverns, smooth flowstone stalactites form that are naturally painted with paint blue, green, orange and red minerals. The waist-high waters in the hot springs get as warm as 114° F, even in the winter, making the caverns perfect for taking a dip or enjoying a natural sauna.
Mogao Caves| Mogao Grottoes, China
Also called the Mogao Grottoes or the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, the Mogao Caves is a system of 492 temple caves dug by monks. The grottoes cover 11 acres of a desert cliff face near Dunhaung, along an isolated section of the ancient Silk Road. Inside the temples, you’ll find over 2,000 pieces of multi-colored Buddhist art that span a period of 1,000 years. The paintings from the 4th to 14th centuries give you insight into how daily life evolved. A visit to the Mogao Caves on your private plane beats a trip to an average museum on any day.
Sistema Sac Actun | Tulum, Mexico
Book a private jet charter, pack a swimsuit and head to Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. Sistema Sac Actun (Yucatan Maya for “White Cave System”) is the second longest underwater cave system in the world. It is 198 miles long when you include the 51-mile Sistema Dos Ojos (“Two Eyes System”), named for its two sinkhole entrances. Adventurers flock to the Sistema Sac Actun and Sistema Dos Ojos caves because anyone can enjoy them—from those who simply want to swim in the crystalline waters to SCUBA divers looking for unusual marine life to those with submersible vessels who want to explore the depths, which reach up to up to 332 feet.
The ethereal turquoise blue waters in Sistema Sac Actun and Sistema Dos Ojos are a comfortable 77° F throughout the year and remain brilliantly clear thanks to the filtering limestone. Historians value the cave systems for the secrets they keep, like the 2007 discovery of mastodon remains and a skull thought to belong to one of the first humans in the Americas.