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Things to do in Belize – ATM Caves

Belize is an exciting country with so much to offer. I have been traveling to Belize since I was 14 and each time I discover something new. Located deep in the mountainous jungles of the Cayo district, I had the opportunity to experience the ATM cave. Actun Tunichil Muknal in Maya translates – Cave of the Stone Sepulcher. National Geographic did a piece on the cave. The cave is one of Belize’s most sacred sites.

Touring the ATM cave was one of the most surreal experiences in my life. For the adventures at heart, this is one not to miss. Traverse through dense jungle, listen to nature all around, and make your way to a cave full of surprises.

Touring the Cave

The tour starts with a drive into the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. You will definitely need to be prepared to get wet! During the hike, you will swim through the river that weaves through the trail. After about two miles, you find yourself at the entrance to the cave. I felt like I was being transported back to the time of the ancient Maya. The spoils of the cave were beyond what I expected. Our guide put it perfectly, “this is not just a cave. It’s a living museum”. Evidence of the Mayans’ presence is exactly as it has been for thousands of years.

The ATM cave was used as a ritual site. What’s so fascinating is that the cave contains many carvings and artifacts left by the Mayans that give an in depth look into their beliefs and the ultimate purpose for the cave. The tour continues deep in the cave where you have to swim, climb and crawl your way to the main chamber, where beautiful rock formations make you feel like you are in a different world altogether. The tour ends in a huge chamber that will take your breath away. In it you’ll find the most famous of these long-dead Maya, the skeleton of an eighteen-year-old girl known as the “The Crystal Maiden.”

Unfortunately, you will not be allowed to bring anything into the cave. Including cameras or phones. The park entrance has facilities so you can change comfortably and even rinse off after. The Belizean government has made a conscious effort to preserve the contents of the cave. Everything you experience will be in the moment and last for a lifetime. Lunch and transportation to the park is included in your tour. You should bring a change clothes for when the tour ends.

What Are You Waiting For

If you have ever thought of what a visit to ATM cave would be like or want to experience spelunking, I can tell you from experience, it’s incredible. There a several tour companies but the one I used was Belize Caves & Limpkin Tours. I had the best guide I could have ever asked for. I encourage you to experience for yourself what a Belize adventure feels like.

Just another reason to consider Belize as a place to invest and/or retire. Contact the friendly agents at RE/MAX Island Real Estate for help in finding your home away from home.

Written by Rebekah Reuter


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