This cave lies just below the ground surface in a dry tropical scrubland. In several spots, open collapse pits at the surface reach down into the cave, allowing in daylight as well as plant roots reaching for moist cave soil.
Dimensions Rooms are 30-60 feet in diameter, with ceilings 20-30 feet high.
The room ceilings are partial domes, with skylight openings considerably smaller than room diameter.
Blocks of rough, broken rock are scattered over the uneven cave floor below pit openings, results of past ceiling collapse. Some boulders are capped by stalagmites and other travertine deposits, cementing them in place. Some stalagmites stand taller than a person.
A number of the descending roots are strong enough to support a person’s weight, and are quite stable because they are well rooted into the cave floor.
One species of tree on the island, with purple bark, gives a poison reaction on skin contact if the bark is wet, or if drops are raining from roots or bark above. Persons with good area knowledge will know which hanging roots not to touch.
Natural fauna of the ground surface include web colonies of large spiders in trees, centipedes with nasty stings, and fairly peaceful, four-foot-long iguanas.
This is part of a larger cave system; cave passages extend for hundreds of yards to other entrances at ground level.
These sites are natural pit traps for incautious travelers as they push their way into stands of small trees and brush.
The skylights provide potential quick routes between the surface and subsurface – but how good are the characters’ climbing skills?
One of these chambers could serve as a hidden meeting site, with the right underground approach from an easy, ground-level entrance possibly being well-lit enough in daylight hours to dispense with need for artificial light.
Eavesdropping would be a special possibility here, regardless of whether a conversation is happening within a cave room or on the surface, near a pit opening
During a long cave trek, a new arrival to the area may be surprised when looking up at the cave ceiling and seeing stars at night.
To someone looking down a long cave passage with eyes adjusted to its dim light, a stalagmite standing in a sunlit cave room may appear to be a silhouetted person.
The partial shelter from hurricanes provided in one of these rooms would allow a chance to view and hear the chaos above. However those down in the cave might still be caught off-guard by a sudden change in direction of rain, wind and flying debris.
Someone looking into a cave room from above may have obscured view of outer parts of the room, due to a curtain of hanging roots. Characters descending into the pit might not be able to see what else is waiting for them.
There are lots of obstacles on the cave floor to complicate close-quarters fights. Fighters with ranged weapons, stationed above the rim of the skylight, will find easy targets on the central areas of a room’s floor.
People on the cave floor will have very limited view of those on ground surface. Shadows from low-angle sun could reveal the presence of some that might otherwise be hidden.
There will be risk, as well as possibly significant reward, in choosing to climb up or down hanging roots during battle.
Caves of Isla de Mona, off the west coast of Puerto Rico. This island is a Puerto Rico government reserve, accessible only by light plane (with permission) and sailboat-sized craft.