ATM CAVE TOUR

Belize Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave Tour

Overview

Deemed the #1 Sacred Cave destination in the world by National Geographic, the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave is not only stunning with its crystalline stalactites and stalagmites but it is also a natural museum providing insight into the world of the ancient Maya. Taking a journey into the Maya underworld at ATM, or the “Cave of the Stone Sepulcher”, 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 our knowledgeable and highly professional guides. Discover ancient artifacts and most excitingly, a sacred burial place containing the world’s oldest, fully preserved/intact, skeletal remains. This is known as the final resting place of the “Crystal Maiden”, who is believed to be an ancient Maya Ceremonial victim along with 13 other skeletal remains which include men, women, and children.

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 include 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 8:00 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 our 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 contact; 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 drink! 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!

General Information

Start time 8:00 AM

Tour Duration 8-9 hours

Lunch Included

Meeting point

MayaWalk Office at #19 Burns Avenue, San Ignacio, Belize

Check In

15 minutes before tour departure.

Endpoint

MayaWalk Office at #19 Burns Avenue, San Ignacio, Belize

Click here to see more pictures from Ben Kim Esoteric Vision

Intensity:

 
Difficult
Involves climbing rock boulders, swimming, wading through water, navigating uneven surfaces. Life jackets are required and provided for all participants, who will also be escorted by our highly trained guides.

1 Easy – Minimal physical exertion, mostly walking on even terrain with little to no obstacles.
2 Moderate – Some walking on uneven surfaces, navigating through occasional obstacles or rocky terrain.
3 Intermediate – Significant physical activity involving hiking, climbing, and maneuvering through uneven and slippery terrain.
4 Difficult – Demanding physical activity, including climbing over rocks, wading through water, and tight spaces.
5 Challenging – Extremely strenuous activity, requiring advanced physical fitness, agility, and endurance. May involve swimming, advanced climbing, and confined spaces.

Minimum Height:

 
40 in.

Duration:

 
8 Hours (approx.)

What to Bring/Wear:

  • Hiking shoes/trainers (will get wet, toes must be protected)
  • socks (mandatory for preservation reasons)
  • extra set of dry clothing, extra sandals/flip flops
  • small backpack
  • Bring reusable water bottles
  • liter of water
  • bug spray
  • snacks
  • swim wear with shorts (Please note cameras are not allowed & only the guide will carry a dry bag into the cave).
tour information

Min. # of Persons:

 
1

START BOOKING NOW

Price:

US

$125

/per person

Disclaimer:

  • Not recommended for participants with heart complaints or other serious medical conditions
  • Not recommended for pregnant women
  • A moderate amount of walking is involved
  • Due to uneven surfaces, this tour is not recommended for those with walking disabilities or using a wheelchair
  • Not recommended for participants with back problems.
  • Government of Belize has banned all Electronics from the cave
  • Not recommended for participants with heart complaints or other serious medical conditions ie. recent surgeries, etc.
Erika G
Erika G
2024-05-23
Verified
A full day of refreshing water and relaxation! Our tour guide taught us so much about Belize, the pine forest, and Mayan culture. We visited Big Rock and Rio Frio Cave before taking a short lunch break at a breathtaking overlook. Lunch was delicious with chicken, rice, beans, coleslaw, and a sweet treat. They even offered us seconds! We then went to Rio on Pools to relax and sit under the waterfalls for a gentle massage. Our guide made sure we stayed safe the whole time and advised us on spots to avoid since the current and flow of the waterfall can be super strong at certain points. I had an amazing time and it was a great tour for relaxation since the driver took us to each spot and hiking was pretty easy/short except for some steeper stair spots.
Gina G
Gina G
2024-05-10
Verified
Extreme for me at 61. I do have knee issues with osteoarthritis and disclosed that to the guide. I'm really happy I did it and c Challenging for a solo traveler age 61. I do have osteoarthritis on both knees. I did workout prior to my my Belize trip. I'm so happy I did it, my guide did help me inside the cave. I did it with no slips, trips or falls. It was amazing and very interesting listening to the history and exploring deep inside the cave.
Sue M
Sue M
2024-05-09
Verified
Easy to get to We had already visited several other ruins. What made this different was you could actually go inside some of the ruins. Gives a person more perspective of size etc. it was somewhat smaller, meaning only what has been excavated
Harrison B
Harrison B
2024-05-08
Verified
ATM Cave Tour The ATM tour was unlike anything I have ever seen before. The hike to and from the cave is very manageable and easily done in water shoes, so don't worry about ruining a nice set of hiking boots in the water. Throughout the day, our guide, Hugh, was both extremely knowledgeable about the history of the cave and attentive to keeping our group safe. Lunch afterwards was delicious. If you do one thing in Belize, it should be this tour
Ann Julie M
Ann Julie M
2024-05-06
Verified
Amazing ! Thanks to Jason, he was the best guide ! It’s such a fun day! 100% recommended!!! The lunch was so yummy and the activity itself is so interesting and fun!
TravelDispatch
TravelDispatch
2024-05-04
Verified
Absolute highlight experience of our trip to Belize! We joined Mayawalks for the ATM Cave tour along our 9-day trip through Belize. We drove from our lodging to meet up with our guides at the Mayawalk Tours office on Burns St in San Ignacio. Carl was our fearless driver. Lenny & Hugh were our fantastic guides; Hugh was our specific group's guide. Hugh made the ride from the office to the cave entertaining and informative; he definitely demonstrated he was a well-seasoned professional. Once we arrived at the park, gearing up was an organized and easy process. After a very short hike, we were already in the drink past our waists. After a leisurely walk with copious amounts of great information and two additional river crossings only shin to knee deep we were at the entrance to ATM in just over 30ish minutes. Entry into the cave is a brief swim and most of cave hike is wet. There were some cramped spots to squeeze between rocks. There were countless crystallized stalagmites, stalactites, and flow rock along the way; it was impressively beautiful. Hundreds of pottery are visibly scattered everywhere throughout the caves. Dozens of indentations revealed by water are likely graves and human remains can be seen. Hugh provided an incredible amount of information, context, and guidance throughout the entire adventure. To the credit of the Belizean government, they've banned cameras and do not permit excavation to protect the sacred area and its possessions. All remains and artifacts revealed are from natural water flooding and flow. Although cameras aren't allowed and the photos provided by Mayawalks are just 'okay,' the experience is absolutely one that will etch itself into your organic photobook of your brain! Overall, the information and experience were a memorable highlight of our trip and we absolutely credit the great work of Mayawalks for making it such a fantastic time!
Kimberly C
Kimberly C
2024-04-28
Verified
Amazing Cave Exploration This trip was absolutely incredible. I’m not sure how many other places you can experience a trip like this, and with the guides we had. Eric was so funny but safe at the same time. He told great stories about the ancient Mayans while cracking a joke in there to keep the tour moving. He explained the history of the caves while helping us through the waters and rocks and we were even able to see something so special at the end. I would actually take this trip again it was so cool.
BrodieF92
BrodieF92
2024-04-27
Verified
Absolutely Exceptional Private Tour Firstly, we REALLY recommend a private tour. Read below for details. Guide - Juan Carlos (extremely knowledgeable, engaging, hilarious, and enthusiastic) Driver - Ronald (friendly, welcoming and funny) Our driver picked us up from our accomodation (Black Rock Lodge) at 6am, which allowed enough time for us to pick up our tour guide and arrive at the cave carpark by around 7:30am. We had the privilege of being the only people in the cave which was an incredible and surreal experience. The water was crystal clear (not murky from people), there were bats and other critters which hadn't been scared off yet and the cave was silent and pitch black other than our torches. We actually don’t have worlds to explain the cave itself as it was breathtaking the entire way through. Our guide was amazing and we got to take full advantage off his knowledge being that it was a private tour. As soon as he got in the car he was informing us about the Mayan culture, history, myths, etc as well as Belize in general. We highly recommend this tour, especially with our driver and guide.
Emmanuel811
Emmanuel811
2024-04-24
Verified
Excellent, not to be missed. It’s quite an experience, you have to admit. Everything is well organized and secure. First there is the walk in the jungle with the 3 lookouts to cross. Then the exploration of the cave, sometimes in the water, sometimes climbing. The discovery of Mayan utensils and human bones. With all the explorations in the guide. Everything ends with a punch and a good local meal. At the end of the tour you are winnowed!
GRtrekker55
GRtrekker55
2024-04-20
Verified
MayaWalk sets the standards! We had an amazing experience with MayaWalk and Hugh as our guide extraordinaire! The tour challenged us physically, and gave us an even deeper appreciation for the Mayan culture and the brilliance in their skills and knowledge. Trekking through the cave just as the they had, seeing their works and learning their culture through the endless knowledge and enthusiasm from Hugh was both humbling and amazing. We couldn’t say enough about Hugh’s guidance, he was entertaining and was an amazing teacher, I felt like we learned so much in the time spent with him. He showed us so many hidden details that made this tour so special! If you are interested in understanding what you’re seeing, and hearing the fascinating stories behind them, this is your tour. Other tours came and went, while we savored our time spent among this amazing history. Oh, and the picnic lunch afterwards was absolutely delicious!!