This photo in the header is already misleading. You cannot take your own boats into the Blue Cave. So, is visiting the Blue Cave worth it?
I worked as a hostess on a luxury yacht for three years and guaranteed, every week, I was asked this question. Honestly, my answer was almost a flat – no.
The thing is, I hadn’t even been inside before, I had just heard about how bad it was. You need to queue in the heat with hundreds of other tourists, and you only get 5-minutes inside the actual cave, it costs around €10, which isn’t that bad, but it just didn’t sound appealing to me in the slightest.
I would sugar-coat my response to sound as neutral as possible, but inside I was rooting for them to pass it up.
I am not working on yachts this summer and am land-based instead. So, I have had a lot of friends and family visit so far this year, which has meant me playing tour guide again. When my Mum and her husband came over in May, I organised to do a 6-islands tour. Six islands, in one day, on a speed boat. They were only here for a week, but we had other activities planned in between, so chartering a yacht was out of the question; yet I still wanted to get them on a boat and show them some of the islands, so it seemed like the best idea.
Being that I write for a tourism-based website, I was also curious as to how those tours are, as I see the signs along the Riva in Split every day and always assumed they were a tourist-trap.
My mum and her husband loved the day, and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, I would much rather be sailing the Dalmatian coast for 7-days, but not everyone has the luxury (or budget) to take a full week to go sailing. So, this tour was a good way to see a lot in a short space of time. (Read about the full tour here)
Don’t expect a historical guided tour though, we were told tidbits of information, and I filled in the gaps (thanks to my years guiding). So, if you plan on doing that tour and you want to have context, read about the history and destination, so it means a little more than just a fun day on the water.
Anyway, back to the blue cave. I have now been in the blue cave twice this summer, once in May and once more last week with my uncle who was visiting (we did the same tour again). Being inside the cave with its translucent blue light, really was something. A natural phenomenon that is phenomenal to see.
In May there were obviously fewer crowds, so we didn’t need to wait long before we were inside the cave, but it didn’t mean we got to spend longer in the cave.
And August? Well, check out the video below. There were crowds, and we departed Split at 8 am and arrived at Bisevo around 9.30 am.
However, there was a number system which made the waiting not so terrible. With a café there, we simply sat, had an iced coffee and joined the queue when our number came up. Painless enough.
Then, off we went inside the blue cave. Everyone has their cameras and phones out, snapping as much as they can in the few, short minutes you get inside. Knowing that I would need to report on it, I also did the same.
And, before we knew it, we were back to the port and speeding away to our next destination.
So, is it worth it?
I have realised it is not really for me to say. As a hostess on a yacht, I crafted a speech that gently steered people away from seeing the blue cave because, in my opinion, it was a waste of time and money. After going with my Mum and Uncle, I realised – who I am to tell people it is not worth it? My family loved it, thought it was incredible, I even enjoyed it; nature is pretty freakin’ amazing!
Let me break it down. The blue cave:
- Costs around €10
- You cannot take your own boat/dinghy inside the cave, you must do a tour
- In peak-season be prepared to wait at least an hour to enter
- You only get to spend 5-minutes inside the cave
- You need to get to the cave in the first place, whether by a private tour from Split, Hvar or Vis.
If you are chartering a yacht, at least you don’t need to lose half a day to get there, you can work it into your itinerary.
When it comes to main tourist attractions around the world, people queue up for crazy amounts of time. If you go to Florence and plan on seeing Michelangelo’s David, you better believe you will queue for at least an hour to get inside.
Is it worth it?
You will probably only stand there looking at David for maximum 10-minutes and those of us who know nothing about art, will do our best to understand and appreciate. I queued to see David and I don’t know anything about art, but I am glad I did. It is an incredible feat of what man is capable of, and I will remember that day until I am old and grey.
The blue cave is not man, but rather Mother Nature strutting her stuff. And, if you put your phone or camera down for just a second and take it in, it is rather awe-inspiring and makes me realise just how lucky we are to live in such a world.
A lot of people probably don’t take that extra second to breathe and take it all in. But, so what. There are a lot of tourists who just want to tick things off the list – yip, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Kind of like speed-dating, trying to get as much out of a destination as possible, before quickly moving onto the next. Again, who am I to say this is wrong. I am sure people have found love through speed-dating when they got back together for an actual date; just like a lot of travellers who do group tours only get a small taste of each destination, but often they return to the places that moved them and spend time getting to really know the place.
This was a long-winded answer. But the idea of telling tourist what they should and shouldn’t do has been plaguing me lately and crowds at attractions like the blue cave has been a hot topic – will tourism break this country, how much is too much, will the bubble burst?… For these questions, I have no answers. Part of me wants to scream – ‘don’t do it, take your time in a place, sit back, take it all in, find the locals and do what they do!’ But this is far from realistic and I am now coming from the perspective of someone who has been lucky enough to have years to get to know Croatia, it takes time. I will do my best to be as frank as possible, but at the end of the day, every traveller needs to decide what experience they seek. If seeing David or a natural wonder turns you on, then go for it; just be prepared for the reality and you won’t be disappointed.