In the heart of the Belizean rainforest lies one of the most awe-inducing sights in all of Central America, with stunning cathedral ceilings, magnificent crystal formations and ancient relics left untouched for centuries inside a sacred cave. There’s a reason this adventure is on the top of so many people’s to-do lists!
We start with a 45-minute hike through beautiful green jungle. And prepare to get wet! To arrive at Actun Tunichil Muknal (or “ATM” for short) you need to cross not one, not two, but three rivers! But rest assured the trek is worth it.
As you swim in through the cave entrance, you’ll understand why explorers before you have called this place “the trip of a lifetime” and “the highlight of our time in Belize”.
Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites shoot up from the ground, guarding the path to one of the most sacred Maya sites in the region. The Maya people used this cave for many ceremonies. At first they stayed near the entryway, but as the centuries passed they explored deeper into the underground system, finding new chambers that ultimately lead them to a cathedral-like cave where they performed sacrifices to the gods of the underworld, known as the Xibalba (pronounced shi-bal-ba).
Walking in their footsteps, you’re literally tracing Mayan history. You’re trekking through a living museum of skeletal remains and ancient artifacts, all still in the same spot where the Mayas left them. Be very careful as you approach these rare finds!
And don’t forget to look up from the incredible relics to take in the amazing crystal formations and the beauty of the cave itself. This trip is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are well worth the effort to get here! If you’re interested in some high-energy adventure and an up-close-and-personal look into ancient Mayan culture, this is the adventure for you!
Note that due to an unfortunate incident there are no longer any cameras allowed inside the cave.