There are several caves in the island, but Grotto Esmeralda is the top attraction in the harbor, everybody "forgetting" to tell you that you can only enter with good sea and low tide. So you may pay your trip, start the ride, stop at the entrance and discover that, unfortunately, you arrived exactly when it will be impossible to enter.
It happened to us but, I don't remember how, I knew before leaving that it would happen. Anyway, we wanted to do the circuit, and had no more opportunities, so… we accepted it. But you'd better be prepared...
Somehow, in the back of my mind, I always knew it was going to turn out like it did. The drive down had me smiling to begin with. Twice vehicles had to back up and slip into someone's driveway so our minibus could navigate further. If you think the Amalfi coast roads are narrow, think again.
A place as famous as this was bound to have tourists and so it was that, as we walked to the stairs, the plethora of tourist boats awaited the attentions of the smaller rowboats to pluck their live cargo and deliver them to the interior of this romanticized venue.
The chaos of the flotsam revolved around a tethered open launch (pic 2) in which sat 3 men busily engaged in collecting money.....lots of it! At 10.50 euros per person (4 euros tax included) plus tips, this is a cash cow being milked for all it's worth.
I did a quick calculation and estimate that each rowboat was making 650 euros per day plus 400 for the taxman. Of course, that's on the days when you can get in.
Eventually one made its way over and 4 of us boarded, some in a decidedly ungainly manner, and were immediately instructed to sit on the floor, an eminently uncomfortable position.
We paid our dues to the three men in a boat and were rowed on the the entrance where the only thing missing was a set of traffic lights, such was the volume of craft. Then it was our turn and we had to lay really flat, an even more uncomfortable position as our host grabbed the fixed chain and pulled us in to the fabled cavern where I couldn't wipe the smile off my face at the absurdity of it all.
The blue was stunning (pic 3) but the distractions were many as we joined dodgem boats and were serenaded by various renditions of "O Sole Mio" and "Volare". We zig-zagged this way and that to avoid other boats before we soon were at the entrance again in yet another queue to return to the outside world.
Rosemarie still thinks that they have floodlights underneath because nature couldn't deliver such a phenomenon but I didn't pause too much to ponder that, I was still laughing.
The beauty of the Blue Grotto was described in 1826 by the German writer August Kopisch. Since then, the Blue Grotto has become the emblem of the island of Capri. The grotto was known by the Romans, as proved by the antique statues which were found in the Grotto. Sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, creates a blue reflection that illuminates the cavern - hence its name.
Of course the must see thing to do on Capri is visit the Blue Grotto. This grotto has been well visited over the years from Roman times to present. My Grandmother told me that my Great Grandmother had visited the grotto. It is a beautiful sight to see and once you have you can mark it off your 100 things to do in life list.
It cost $15 Euro to get to Capri. Then it cost $10 euro to take a boat to the grotto roundtrip about an hour. I didn't notice this until after returning but the ticket actually shows $5 euros? Anyway, when you get to the grotto there are guys sitting in another boat that you have to pay $10 euros to enter the grotto.
They told us we will give you a discount, so it cost $9 euro. Then the row boat guy, who was quite a character, after rowing near the grotto will tell you "Since you got a discount, you give me a tip, I show you good time in the grotto, okay?" Then he rows you in and sings the Italian melody 'Volare!'. He will even take your photo if you like. After exiting rest assured he will ask for that tip. I reached for $2 euro coin. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders, so I was obliged to give him another $2 euro coin. So let's recap, $15, $10 + $9 + $4 = $38 euro total which equals roughly $54 US.
The Blue Grotto in Capri can either be a good or expensive experience depending on how you look at it. At the dock, you ride a motor boat that will take you around part of the island. You get to see how the island is formed. Then you transfer to a row boat and enter a cave through a tiny hole. Inside, the water shimmers into a bright neon blue color that is amazing to see. The downside, it is an expensive experience (about 20 euros per person total) and the actual boat ride in the cave is 5 minutes max. It is estimated that they get about 3,000 tourists a day. It is nice to have done once but probably not again.
Be very careful of the Laser Capri boat that offers a around the island tour and optional stop at the Blue Grotto. This company is a SCAM. After paying the 11 Euro to take the around the island tour, they are supposed to let you get off at the Blue Grotto in order to get on the smaller boats to get in the Blue Grotto. On our tour, they said it was too long a line to wait and that we had to return to port. All along they knew very well the length of the line, they just chose not to mention that to you before boarding the boat becuase half of the tourist would not have gotten on if they knew this. I eventually took the bus over to the Blue Grotto instead of looking for another boat. While waiting in line for the Blue Grotto I saw the Laser Capri come back around with a new group, circle for a few minutes, as they did with us, and then head back to the port. Seems like this is there deal, they rope you in with the idea they will take you to the Blue Grotto, all along they know it will be too busy for them to actually wait. Don't waste your money, take the bus, wait on land...it is a much shorter wait. AVOID THE LASER CAPRI SCAM!
Some people come to Capri just to see the grotto azzurro, the blue grotto. It's a short pleasure, that's for sure. You have to pay about 8 euros to enter one of the boats. The boat gets into the grotto and takes a short tour around taking about 5 minutes. It's necessary that the sun is shining to really appreciate the deep azur of the sea that is reflected on the stone walls. A special natural phenomenon - it's worth it!
The Blue Grotto is a symbol of the island of Capri. The Romans celebrated the beauty of the place by decorating it with statues. In modern times, the grotto was "discovered" by the German writer August Kopisch, who enthusiastically described its extraordinary beauty.
The grotto is known for the intense and brilliant blue of the sea. Hence the name "blue grotto".
After arriving at the entrance to the grotto, little rowing boats, taking a maximum of two or three people, go through the natural narrow opening -an opening so narrow that passengers are required to lay flat on the bottom of the boat in order to enter the cave.
Access to the grotto is suspended during the winter and when there is poor weather conditions.
This was one of the grotto's that we saw. It is not the famous 'Blue Grotto' though. Unfortunately it is not always possible to visit this grotto. Sometimes the sea is to rough, and the opening to the grotto is not large enough to enter. I was out of luck when I visited Capri, but I am told that it is something you shouldn't miss.
This is a spectacular marine grotto of over 50 meters long and 30 meters wide, where the water takes on a beautiful deep blue colour because of the unique reflections and plays of light created by the sunlight that filters through the mouth of the cave.
Wonderfull place! 1995 & 1997.
Blue sky & blue sea,happy tourists,cruise in Mediteraneen Sea and then with a little boat inside of the most amazing grotta with
Azzuro water and mariners singing canzzoneta...O la la...!!!
Tempi pasati !
"Ze world famous Grotta Azzurra... Look now at ze electrik blue waters. See how clear eet is. Now reemembre, keep ze hands away from ze water. Si?"
Thanks, Mr Tour Guide.
Voila! That's the Blue Grotto in the distance....
The Blue Grotto is so mesmerizing that ancient Romans installed statues and even visited the Grotto to communicate with the gods!!
Other ancient Romans came here to seek blessings and be healed from their various illnesses. However, the original natives occupying this part of Capri actually shuuned the caves! They believed that the Grotto was inhabited by sea monsters, witches and ghouls... Go figure.
If you board the boat from Marina Grande to the Grotto, be prepared to pay €14.00 for the round-trip.
At the Grotto, where you'll need to change to the smaller row boats, the cost is €12.00.
There are many caves in and around the isle of Capri. But none can compare with the most famous cave of all caves - yes, the La GROTTA AzZURRA aka The Blue Grotto.
Discovered in 1826 by a German writer (August Kopisch), the Blue Grotto continues to stun visitors with its unique beauty. No... on second thoughts, unique is definitely an understatement.
The most mesmorizing aspect of the cave is the sunlight beaming through an underwater cavity... and shining through the water like a laser! Words just can't seem to describe how awestruck I was when I beheld the stunning beauty of the cave! Imagine this sight - the blue reflection from the sunlight illuminating the cave. No special effects needed! Stupendo. Just awesome.
How to get to the Blue Grotto?
No problem. There are many ways to reach the Blue Grotto. By boat from Marina Grande, by bus (from Anacapri) or by taxi.... or walk up the 800 Phoenician steps.
We chose the boat option obviously. ;-) Be prepared to pay, pay and pay should you choose this option: yes, one for the boat ride out to the Grotto; once for the little row boat ride into the Grotto and once for the entry fee. Oh c'mon.... don't be such a cheapskate! The boat option is actually the most ideal way to reach the Grotto. ;-)
The Grotto can't be visited during poor weather.
The sea would be too choppy.... (read: too dangerous!).
Once a sacred site, at one stage haunted, and also believed to be the private swimming pool of one of the Roman Emperors, the Blue Grotto is a very unique place indeed.
The surrounding rocks forming the walls of the cave, do not quite reach the bottom of the ocean floor, and thus light seeps in, which creates the wonderful blue colour which surrounds you once inside.
Other than getting there by boat, there is also a pathway or bus from town which will take you to a landing just next to the entrance, from where the rowboat guys will pick you up.
To get into the grotto, you signal one of the rowboat operators who wait outside the entrance, and then transfer to their boat.
The entrance to the Grotto is a sight by itself, a small hole, through which people appear and disappear as the waves ebb and flow.
When in the boat, you actually need to lie down, so as not to crack your head, going through.
Our rowboat guy sang some opera, and explained the history of the site to us. We gave him a small tip (for which he'll ask), over and above the 8 euro we paid (per person) at the boat outside.