It is a life-changing experience to explore the cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM) sacred cave, dubbed by National Geographic as the top ancient Maya cave in the world.
Your journey starts with an air-conditioned drive to the ranger outpost in the Cayo District ( Tapir Mountain nature reserve). Here, our tour guides (Licensed guides by the Belize Tourism Board) will provide you with a helmet, headlamp, and life jacket if needed. After gearing up, you will hike, wade and swim through the beautiful trails and rivers of the Maya Underworld.
The trail includes three river crossings and a 45 minutes hike to the cave, which will bring you to an hourglass entrance. From here, the cave system spans approximately 3 miles with stalactites, stalagmites, jarring boulders, and freshwater streams from ankle to waist-deep.
After an hour of spelunking, you’ll arrive at the ceremonial area and take a barefoot walk through a large football field cavern. The cavern hosts untainted Mayan history and artifacts dating back 1-1000 AD, such as pottery (intact to completely shattered) tools, ceremonial items, and even the skeletal remains of 14 bodies with was human sacrifices (ranging from finger bones to skulls and other remains).
The tour concludes at the main chamber where the calcified “Crystal Maiden” lies. Don’tIt’sbelieved to be the skeleton of a young woman sacrificed in a bloodletting ceremony to the Gods.
Note: This trail entails a lot of hiking, swimming, and climbing. Wear comfortable, lightweight clothing and shoes, or bring a pair of closed-toe water shoes. Sneakers can get heavy during the hike after getting wet. For the parts of the tour where you are barefoot, I think you should have some socks with you. I mentioned it above.
All personal items must be left in the tour van at the parking (i.e., extra clothes, small towels, money, and cameras. Cameras and cell phones are prohibited.
Items you can have:
A small bottle of water or Gatorade
A light snack (such as a granola bar) to grub on before entering the cave.
Note: You don’t have to be extremely fit, but you should be able to hike, swim and climb quickly. Wear comfortable, lightweight clothing and shoes, or bring a pair of closed-toe water shoes