• Location: San Ignacio, Belize
  • Duration: 9 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 110.00 View price calendar

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Journey into the heart of the Mayan underworld at the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave. Departing from San Ignacio, this guided, action-packed 9-hour tour kicks off with a 45-minute, physically intense jungle hike through the Tapir Nature Reserve to the entrance of the cave. Swim, climb, and spelunk your way through astonishing caverns into the depths of the cave, where you’ll get an up-close look at artifacts and offerings used in ancient Mayan ceremonies. Round-trip transport and riverside lunch are included. Please note this tour isn't recommended for those with a fear of enclosed spaces or heights.

Highlights

  • San Ignacio day trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
  • Go spelunking with an expert guide in the cave, featured by National Geographic
  • Swim along water passageways in the cavern and climb up a rock ledge
  • Gaze in awe at rock columns, stalactites, stalagmites and other natural wonders
  • Witness Mayan artifacts and ritual offerings unearthed by archeological excavations
  • Complimentary lunch, bottled water and round-trip hotel transport included

What You Can Expect

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave from San Ignacio

Explore ATM Cave in Belize!

This full-day adventure begins with a pickup at your San Ignacio hotel. From there, drive 45 minutes to a turnoff at Teakettle Village, then another 30 minutes along a dirt road to reach the Tapir Nature Reserve. 

During a flat, 45-minute hike through the tropical reserve, you'll encounter many native plant species and wade across the Roaring River three different times. At the entrance to the cave, you'll receive a safety briefing, and gear up with hardhats and headlamps. Enjoy a picnic lunch here either before or after exploring the cave, depending on what time your tour arrives.

Your caving adventure will begin with a quick, refreshing swim across a pool of water at the hourglass-shaped cave entrance. Just a few minutes into the darkened depths, you’ll approach “the Breakdown” — the most challenging part of the adventure — where you will wade, swim, and scramble through rocky passages and squeeze through some tight crevices. Your guide will instruct the group how to safely navigate challenging areas. 

While passing through various chambers, stop to admire massive stalactite and stalagmite formations created by thousands of years of water passing through the cave. Light from your headlamp will illuminate shimmering columns and dripping formations that resemble waterfalls and chandeliers. 

To reach the cave’s highlight, climb up a stone platform to an expansive chamber where archaeologists discovered a treasure trove of ceremonial Mayan pottery and the remains of more than a dozen victims of human sacrifice. Most of these artifacts remain exactly where they were discovered, allowing you to get an amazingly up-close view. 

For the grand finale, climb a ladder into the uppermost chamber of the cavern, where you can marvel at the famous Crystal Maiden — a complete human skeleton covered in a crystalline substance caused by natural calcification. 

After spelunking your way back out of the cave, you’ll emerge into the sunlight and the cool water of the Roaring River, then prepare for the return hike and drive back to San Ignacio.

Customer Reviews

Brian S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

The tour was even more adventuresome than advertised and exactly what we wanted! Fording rivers and climbing through caves with a river was amazing.

Barbara M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

This is the most outrageously awesome tour we have ever taken!! It should be rated a 10 and a must do for every person visiting Belize. Don't worry about not being able to take your phones and camera into the cave....there are so many other things to be focused on! We were inside for nearly 4 hours. This is an action-packed, water-filled, adventure of a lifetime tour. This cave is rated the best in the world.....and that's no understatement. There are literally no words to describe this tour.....just do it!!

Kyle S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

This tour was not what I expected, but in a very good way! I had been caving before in Vietnam and was expecting more of a walk in and around sort of tour. This was an adventure, from crossing the river to swimming and climbing in the caves, I would do this tour again if I visit Belize in the future.

hexagoninsanity

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

I cannot stop raving about Belize Family Adventure, the tour group that is in charge of the ATM trip. Our driver picked us up and if there were any questions, phone calls and emails were always answered promptly. Before leaving, each person is asked whether or not they have brought essentials like a spare change of clothes as you will get wet, but what a magical experience it is. It isn't as strenuous as I assumed. You can be in moderate health and keep up easily. Knowledgeable tour guides make the cave experience stress-free and effortless.

irenetpete

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

Such an amazing experience! I didn't fully know what to expect, but this trip blew me away. I've traveled a lot and I've never experienced anything like this. Make sure to bring socks, the voucher didn't say that it should!!! They should change that. Luckily I wore them in my shoes anyways, but my friend didn't bring any. There a portion of the cave where they make you take your shoes off and walk barefoot for awhile to preserve the artifacts so just make sure to bring some! Be ready to get wet, you will!!!

Alec S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Must visit tour in Belize. And you won't go wrong booking with these guys. Our tour guide was Eric, he had so much knowledge to share with us in the tour, he was funny, and most of all, I felt safe with him as our tour guide.

johnnymillz22

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2017

Amazing experience! So much fun to hike through the caves and swim. If you are a halfway decent swimmer dont take the life vest. It just gets in the way.

Katiria O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2017

ATM will more than likely be one of the most amazing tours I'll ever get to experience in my lifetime. It felt like a true adventure, as you trek through 3 river crossings before getting to the cave, where there you journey into the dark and beautiful cave where you'll have to do have some swimming and rock climbing. Our guide, Patrick, was hilarious, very knowledgeable, and attentive. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I highly recommend.

Regina N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2017

It was one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. The total trip hiking and swimming was 6.75 miles in which you cross 3 rivers and swim through the pristine entrance to the cave. Our guide was very professional and informative. We even got rum punch on the house at lunch.

ericnagel7777

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2017

This tour is undoubtedly the most amazing tour I have been on in any country. Eric was my tour guide and he explained everything from the history of the Mayans to what each skeleton was and it's age and everything. It was truly an Indiana Jones experience from walking through the rain forest - fording the river three times - getting through the guillotine pass and climbing over all the boulders and following river up to see the crystal maiden. It was as informative as it was fun. I would rate everything about this from the pickup to the drop off as the very best I could give it !!!!!

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