Blue is a popular color. With so many shades of blue, it might be maddening to decipher the many hues when trying to put an outfit together but on a tour of the Blue Grotto (aka Grotta Azzurra) in Capri, Italy, there is no confusion, it’s just a magic blue. A blue you’ve never seen before, a blue that you definitely remember and a blue that is fleeting as your boat has only the one go around inside. You will be torn whether to take video, photos or put the camera down and just absorb it all.
I decided to take the road less traveled on my Blue Grotto visit. Most visitors arrive by tour boat originating at the harbor in Marina Grande which combines an island tour with a stop at the Blue Grotto. However, I would take the bus, actually two busses. Traveling first to Anacapri (€1.80) from the Capri center bus terminal (you can also get the Anacapri bus from Marina Grande), I would walk the two blocks to the Anacapri bus terminal and board the Grotto Azzurra bus (€1.80).
The bus ride would take us through the Anacapri neighborhoods and snake along the coastline and I was quite thankful not to attempt to walk here (I saw a few intrepid hikers walking on the road). The 10-15 minute ride dropped us off at the parking lot that was empty save a few taxis waiting on their people. The cliffside restaurant was closed in May (off season).
At the top of the steps, you can get a bird’s eye view of the boat traffic waiting in the grotto. While it looked chaotic, I learned it was actually quite organized. The small rowboats would pick up tourists from the larger boats on an island tour (so many people to contend with and you need to wait while everyone who wants to visit is done), while I made my way down to the water, passing the souvenir shop (there’s always a gift shop even cliffside). At the bottom, there was really no line or wait with just a couple ahead of me.
We waited only a few minutes for a rowboat to come over to us. The rowboats normally take four passengers, since I was solo, it was only three of us. Our guide rowed over to join the queue as we made our way to the ticket office boat that everyone goes to – here you pay €13.00 (cash) per person (2015 fees: entrance €4.00 and boat €9.00).
Once paid, I knew the procedure, having visited twenty years ago. We would need to lie down in the boat while the guide got close to the wall to hold onto the chain as we slipped into the small cave opening. Luckily, as it was later in the day, the wait was short as we watched others exit. I could already hear the Italian songs of the guides inside the cave as they rowed (helps with the tips!).
With a set path to travel inside, we followed the boats ahead of us and then our guide started to sing (bonus)! Everyone inside was in awe, the blue water was sparkling. The sunlight hits the underground part of the cave to produce the blue color, nature’s cave lights. I took photos, video and then the guide took my photo.
As our guide was singing, we got to stay inside the Blue Grotto a bit longer than other boats. It is a quick visit nonetheless but enough time for your photos (most of my photos were without flash in low light, however my iphone needed flash).
As we exited the blue cave, we again had to lie down in the boat and when we sat up, we had the same goofy smiles that we saw on others when we entered. I tipped the guide (they expect tips and he sang) and exited the rowboat. I walked up the stairs back to the bus stop to return to Anacapri (€1.80) and switch to the Capri center bus (€1.80). Total cost for the visit was €20.20.
This was my second visit to Capri and the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) and I’d go again because despite the super touristy vibe, it’s really pretty inside and so very uniquely Italian. I’d recommend the Anacapri bus route if you have a bit more time to explore the island.