Meet National Geographic’s most sacred cave in the entire world!
Greetings from Belize’s most popular cave! You can call me conceited, but I would rather be referred to as the Actun Tunichil Muknal or ATM cave. Though my exotic appearance will command your attention, it’s my history that will captivate you and keep you intrigued. I’m a celeb in my own right. Don’t believe me? Check out National Geographic’s article naming me as the #1 sacred cave in the world. No pictures please! But seriously, I’m so sacred and pristine that pictures really aren’t allowed on this tour to conserve all my special artifacts. Start an enchanting journey exploring my home and see for yourself why everyone is raving about this Belize ATM cave tour.
Also known as the Cave of the Crystal Sepulcher or Xibalba, I originated as a Mayan burial site. So it’s safe to say there are many skeletons in my closet, the most famous being “The Crystal Maiden.” To reach her resting place, you must climb aluminum ladders mounted on my sheer rock face. There you will discover the bones of a young girl, approximately 20 years old, cemented into the floor. She was clubbed and left for dead as an appeasement for the gods to bring rain. Over time her bones gradually calcified to the sparkling, crystallized remains you can view today. Isn’t that a remarkable story of how the natural process in my home transformed a skeleton into a calcified archaeological relic? But that’s not the only story I have to tell! Each of the fourteen skeletons I’ve allowed the world to discover tells a different story. A few of the seven adults & seven children were ceremonial burials, while others were sacrificial victims. Chosen because they were believed to be “zuhui” or pure and uncontaminated in the eyes of the gods, many victims were under the tender age of five and more generally female. These tales are certainly not for the faint of heart!
Skeletons are not all you’ll see within my dark recesses! No, there’s much more to me. I’m three miles of mysterious depth waiting to be explored. You will encounter a treasure trove of pottery, clay jars, ceramics, tools, and ceremonial items in all sizes and in conditions from nearly intact to completely shattered. These were all gifted to me by the ancient Mayas as a tribal offering to their gods of rain and fertility. In fact, at the risk of sounding boastful, one of the relics found in the Actun Uayazba Kab section of my cave is unmatched compared to those found in any other site in the entire world. Yes, that’s right! You better Belize it!
For about twenty years since 1998, I have been graciously allowing visitors to enter my home through my hourglass shaped mouth. A visit to my home will have you swimming, climbing and exploring though the tropical rainforest, multiple streams and several different chambers. Don’t mind the river at my entrance after your 45-minute hike, it’s just 15 feet deep. After a quick swim, you will land on a rock shelf where you will enjoy an exciting 2,000 feet journey filled with many sharp and slippery edges. Water depths alternate between quite shallow only covering your toes to being deep enough to cover your entire body. Luckily for you this means more swimming. Soon you will ascend seven to ten feet to a shelf above the river. You’ve made it to the uppermost entrance of my sacred home with shallow water you can simply glide through. But before you proceed, please remove your shoes and feel free to keep your socks on. I really wouldn’t want you to damage my priceless artifacts. After all, this is just common courtesy for entering someone’s home!
Before the world re-discovered me in 1989 in a karstic limestone terrain in the Roaring Creek Valley, the ceramics, stoneware, and skeletons laid forgotten for centuries.
What are you waiting for? You don’t want to miss your opportunity to visit my world-famous sacred site! I am a hands down must-see during your Belize vacation, I am an experience best reserved for the fit and adventurous. Book a Belize ATM Cave tour along with your All Inclusive Package today! Belizean Dreams is located on the southern coast of Belize, nestled directly in-front of the beach in Hopkins Village. Our central location positions us just minutes away from all of Belize’s major attractions such as: Maya Temples, Caves, Waterfalls and an EXCLUSIVE Snorkeling & Island Hoping Tour to the Belize Coral Reef. Yes, we offer guests both inland & island adventures, which means that you get to experience The Best of Belize at Belizean Dreams!
* Photos: ©Belize Tourism Board