Belize Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave Tour
ATM Cave Tour
Taking a journey into the Mayan underworld at Actun Tunichil Muknal, or the "Cave of the Stone Sepulchre", will be one of the most enlightening, epic, and unique experiences of your life. Leave the world of the living behind as you venture into the heart of the ATM Cave with your licensed guide. Recently deemed as the #1 Sacred Cave destination in the world by National Geographic, the ATM cave is not only geologically beautiful with its crystalline stalactites and stalagmites, but also historically as it is a natural museum of ancient Mayan artifacts and a sacred burial place. This is known as the final resting place of the "Crystal Maiden", who is believed to be an ancient Mayan Ceremonial victim along with 13 other skeletal remains which includes men, women and children. MayaWalk guides have led government officials, National Geographic teams, the Discovery Channel, The British High Commission, and US Embassy officials into the ATM Cave.
We depart from our office after a short orientation usually at 7:00 am. This famous archeological site is located approximately an hour and a half drive from our office in San Ignacio. We make a short stop at a store for quick shopping and/or pick up guests. Upon arrival at the beautiful Tapir Mountain Reserve, we strap on our helmets and embark on your flat jungle hike to the cave entrance which is approximately forty-five minutes. The hike includes three stream crossings of knee to waist high with the help of a rope for the first crossing.
At the mouth of the cave, we swim across a small spring-fed pool for 10-15 seconds into the dark underworld of the cave that allows us access to the extensive underground maze of tunnels, passageways and chambers, climaxing in the ceremonial chamber housing stoneware, ceramics and the famed crystallized skeleton of the "Crystal Maiden." As you explore the cave, you will use your four points of contacts; your arms and feet to manage your way through small areas while climbing and scrambling over rocks as well as a 12 feet ladder to access 'The Cathedral.' There are a couple sections in the cave whereby the ceiling narrows down, but you will go through it very quickly. At no point is traditional rock climbing or crawling involved. You will just bend for a couple of seconds to get through the small passageways.
At the dry chamber of the cave, "The Cathedral", you will be asked to remove your footwear and explore only in wet socks. This is for preservation reasons to protect the sensitive limestone floor as our bodies secrete oil and bacteria. Here you will witness Mayan artifacts, potteries and close to 13 skeletal remains. Approximately 3 hours is spent inside the cave under the instruction of our licensed and experienced guide before heading back to the parking lot for a scrumptious Belizean lunch of rice and beans with chicken, plantain, salad, dessert and a refreshing cup of rum punch! After lunch, we make our way back to San Ignacio at approximately 3:30 pm.
Leave your cameras behind and experience the power of ancient spirits with your mind, body, and soul. This is not only a physical adventure, but a journey into the spiritual realm.
Over the years, we have successfully taken claustrophobics into the cave. Reach out to our office so our team of professionals can answer your questions. Any phobias (fear of water, darkness, non-swimmers), medical conditions or concerns please let us know at the time of booking. Life vests are provided.
Book your ATM tour with the adventure people at Mayawalk Tours today!