My disappointing tour of the Blue Grotto

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The Blue Grotto (also known as Grotta Azzurra) is a sea cave on the island of Capri, Italy. It is known for the incredible sparkling blue reflection on the water in the cave. This occurs because of the sunlight that passes through the small opening in the cave. It is certainly not difficult to understand why The Blue Grotto is one of the primary attractions on Capri.

I went with my aunt and cousin with a tour company that takes you on a boat to see the island and in particular to explore the Blue Grotto. We figured we would get two in one, a great scenic view of Capri and then have an amazing Blue Grotto experience. We were wrong. The boat took us around the island, which is incredibly beautiful and then onto a tour of the cave. Once we arrived, we saw a number of other boats from different tour companies and a line of  narrow wooden rowboats lined up waiting to go into the cave. That is when we realized that we had to go into one of those tiny row boats! The closer we got to the entrance of the cave, the more we realized how small the opening was! You could not go straight through, you have to lay on your back in the boat in order to fit. Our guide actually had to lay on his back top of us! We were nervous at first, but it was actually a pretty funny experience.

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Once we were in the cave, we found that it was dark, but you could see that the water was glowing this incredibly bright blue color throughout the cave. It was so bright that it looked like someone had put an immensely powerful  blue light under the water in order to make it glow. We rowed in a line with the other boats around the outside of the cave for a few minutes and then exited the the same way we came in.

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I was pretty disappointed that the cave experience was so short, as The Blue Grotto was something that I was really excited to see and then when we did get to experience it we were in and out of the cave in just a few short minutes. The tour company made the tour sound like it was a scenic boat tour and that you would be intimately exploring The Blue Grotto, however they failed to mention that if you blinked you would miss it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cool experience, however it would have been far better if we had time to fully experience it and had more time to take it all in.

I don’t regret going it, because it was something I really wanted to do, but in hindsight I wish I had picked an alternative option. After the tour I looked online at other tours and many of them seem like they would be a similar experience. Other tours might be different, so you can decide to take your chances, however if you want a true experience then I highly suggest finding one where you will spend more time in the cave. If you do decide to do a standard boat tour, at least you now know what you will be getting for your money!

21 thoughts on “My disappointing tour of the Blue Grotto

  1. ugh, how disappointing! Your pictures do look great though! Although the tour didn’t go as you thought, It just means that you need to go back and do it justice!

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  2. Interesting perspective as this is certainly on our European bucket list.

    Out of interest did the cost of the tour affect your views of the tour? Or was it more that the tour guide oversold the experience?

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    • I wish I could remember the cost (I went a few years ago) but it was more of the tour overselling the experience. If I knew it was going to only be a few minutes I could have prepared myself for a quick trip or decided to do something else. I heard so much hype around it I wanted to enjoy it longer!

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  3. i guess it’s the typical tourist trap, a big buzz is created around it and they sell you a dream… sad reality though. Well at least you did get to see something nice. Too bad it was so short.

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  4. My experience was very similar – except the boat tour we picked only BROUGHT us to the Blue Grotto… to go in, we had to pay even more! I almost felt like I was scammed. The grotto experience was way to quick and was over before I had a chance to process the beauty of the blue. Since my tour, I’ve read that there are other tours that will actually let you jump off the boat and swim in the grotto… I wish I would have known that!

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  5. That blue light looks surreal! I’d be thrilled to go even if for a short while! But then I guess when there’s so much else to see, one’s gotta choose!

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  6. Thank you for this honest post. Its so refreshing to see bloggers just be up front about their experiences. Looks like a beautiful spot though, I love caves!

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  7. That sounds similar to the way I felt about visiting the glow-worm caves in New Zealand. It was beautiful to see the thousands of pinpricks of light in the otherwise pitch-black cave — but the boat ride was really not very long and I was left wishing I’d had much more time to savor the experience.

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