The village of Faraya Mzaar is not very interesting. There are very few shops and there is no visible nightlife outside the Intercontinental Hotel. However, there are new developments all around. It would not surprise me if Faraya Mzaar is developed into a beautiful and cozy ski-in ski-out village in a few years.
- Skiing and Boarding
If weather conditions at Faraya Mzaar do not please you, you may want to visit the Jeita caves. They are at about 45 minutes driving by car. In March 2006, I paid 60 US $ for two way transport by taxi, including one waiting hour for the taxi at the caves. Additional waiting time was charged at 10 US $ per hour. You should reckon with a minimum of 1.5 hours to see the caves properly. The entrance fee for the caves was about 12 US $ for adults.
About the caves: they are absolutely wonderful! I've never seen such beautiful caves anywhere else in the world! It is really incredible. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take pictures inside.
The upper cave is up to 100 m high, with stalagmites and stalagtites all over the place. Its length is about 6 km, of which the first km has been made accessible for tourists. You can spend as much time inside as you like. The upper cave is not very suitable for wheel chairs. Although a more-than-adequate concrete path has been made, there are numerous steps to overcome the height differences of the cave's floor. However, disabled can still see a part of the cave from the entrance and that is already a unique experience.
The lower cave is full of water, so you just sail around in a small boat driven by a guide. The visit takes only five minutes and it is not possible to spend more time on your own. With some help, disabled may be able to join the sail.
Access from the entrance to the upper cave is by a cable way. The cable way is a bit over-done, but probably adds to the experience for some. The way back is by a small train or by foot.
Directions: Just outside the Beirut suburbs, a few kilometers off the main way to Faraya. Clear signs (a very rare phenomenon in Lebanon) lead you from the main road to the entrance of the caves.
Website: http://www.jeitagrotto.comAdd to your Trip Planner