This is the first level that was in development. Its design traces back all the way to the concept pitch made by Mark Cerny's team.
The prototype version of the level was longer with a differing route, and had a more story influenced progression. Early storyboards and footage show Coco entering the level, only to get captured and held prisoner by gorilla tribesmen. Crash would then have to progress to the top of the volcano and face the tribe leader before Coco was sacrificed. Elements of the original pathway, as well as data for the tribe leader miniboss can still be found in the final game.
The cave route has a face engraved into the wall which heavily resembles the gorilla tribe leader miniboss from the prototype.
A sinking ship was originally going to appear in the background of this stage, but was ultimately removed. However, the flames from the ship can still be seen through an Action Replay code.
This is the only level in the game that contains an Aku Aku crate in the bonus round. It is also the first such level in the series where it is possible to acquire invincibility in the bonus stage, although Aku Aku crates are also found in bonus rounds of various levels in the Game Boy Advance games.