We arrived in Carlsbad early in the day and realized our campground was around 30 minutes out of town so we spent the afternoon shopping for “supplies” ( Margarita mixer, club soda, etc) and stopped for an early dinner at a local Mexican restaurant “Juniors”. The food was tasty but the place looked a bit rundown, we were surprised at the high reviews it received on Yelp and TripAdvisor but overall I would give it 2 ½ stars.
Now before you think our day sounds horrid, I’ll just say it was just the beginning of a very challenging day. We decided to go to the caverns for the “Bat Flight” which usually happens between 7-8:15pm or sundown. These bats are known as Brazilian and/or Mexican freetail variety, migrate to these caves in late April or May.
Starting Memorial Day weekend , a park ranger gathers at an amphitheater at the entrance of the cave for an educational talk before the flight. Because we were there before Memorial Day , we didn’t have a formal talk but there was still enough people there tonight to see it that inspired a park guard to come out and read out the rules (no photography, no electronic anything, etc) and he was actually very informative.
Now for the adventure part. We left our motorcoach in early afternoon with 90+ degrees and a blazing sun. We wore shorts and sandals….. by the time we made it to the amphitheater, which is perched at the top of a hill at over 4000 feet, the temperature had dropped considerably and the wind was whipping like a hurricane. Leo and I were two popsicles by the end of the evening but we endured to see these bats ( don’t ask me why) when the event finally happened, I momentarily forgot the cold. The bats, which are about the size of your thumb come out of the cave in a swirl and the wind picks them up and tosses them about, which is how they gain altitude. Overall I’m glad I waited, but there is a very important lesson in desert weather that I will not forget. Take extra jacket and rain coat even if it’s 100 degrees in the shade, trust me on this one.
Here is a an internet picture of the bats for reference since we were not allowed to take pictures during the flight.