If you’re visiting San Pedro Ambergris Caye in Belize and are looking for a unique and memorable adventure, consider taking a tour of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) caves. Located in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, the ATM caves are an ancient sacred site that was used by the Maya for ceremonial purposes. The tour takes you on a journey through the jungle, across rivers, and into the caves to see amazing geological formations and artifacts from the Maya civilization.
To get to the ATM caves, you’ll need to take a boat from San Pedro Ambergris Caye to the mainland and then drive about an hour and a half to the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. The tour itself is quite physically demanding, as it involves hiking through the jungle and wading through waist-deep water in the caves. It’s not recommended for people with mobility issues or a fear of water.
Once you reach the caves, you’ll be given a safety briefing and equipped with helmets and headlamp. The tour guide will lead you through the cave system, explaining the history and significance of the site as you go. You’ll see stalactites, stalagmites, and other geological formations, as well as remnants of Maya ceramics, bones, and artifacts.
One of the most interesting features of the ATM caves is the Crystal Maiden, a calcified human skeleton that was likely a sacrifice to the Maya gods. The skeleton is believed to be over 1,000 years old and has been partially covered in calcite crystals, giving it a sparkling appearance. The Crystal Maiden is considered a sacred and sacred object, and visitors are asked to respect her by not touching or taking photographs.
As you make your way through the cave system, you’ll have the opportunity to climb, crawl, and swim through various passages and chambers. The tour takes about 5-6 hours in total, so it’s a good idea to bring plenty of water, snacks, and a change of clothes.
Overall, the ATM cave tour is a unique and immersive experience that offers a glimpse into the ancient Maya civilization and the natural beauty of Belize. It’s not for the faint of heart, but those who are up for the challenge will be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind adventure. Just be sure to wear proper clothing and shoes, and listen to the safety instructions of your tour guide.
If you’re planning a trip to San Pedro Ambergris Caye and want to add the ATM cave tour to your itinerary, it’s a good idea to book in advance as the tours can fill up quickly. You can also consider purchasing travel insurance in case of any unexpected delays or cancellations.
So if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in Belize, consider taking a tour of the ATM caves from Ambergris Caye. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore an ancient sacred site and discover the hidden wonders of the Maya civilization.