The “ATM” cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal) cave is located near the center of the country. Made famous by National Geographic & Discovery channels who filmed the cave in recent years, this cave is one of the most popularly visited and requested cave expeditions in Belize. Driving from Villa Verano up the Hummingbird Highway towards San Ignacio, your driver will turn off at the roadside village of Teakettle onto a dirt road for a few miles. Once parked, you will take a short hike to the cave’s entrance entered by crossing a creek. Be prepared to get wet and remain relatively wet during your time in the cave. Once inside, your guide will lead you through the sometimes narrow passageways, past pottery, some broken and some intact, bone piles and ancient fire pits.

The cave system consists of a series of chambers, ending at “The Cathedral” where sacrificial ceremonies once took place. Fourteen skeletal remains have been found here and numerous examples of ancient Mayan pottery remain. It takes roughly 1 1/2 to 2 hours to reach “The Cathedral,” so travelers should be prepared to be in the cave for 4 to 6 hours. Swimsuits are not necessary, but quick-dry clothing is recommended. Sandals are not allowed in ATM. Travelers must remove their shoes and wear socks while in “The Cathedral” to protect the site from oils on the skin.

Inside this cave near the end of the journey is the famous “Crystal Maiden” whose bones have been completely covered by natural processes of the cave, leaving them with a sparkling appearance. This cave adventure is one of the most thrilling you may ever encounter!

atm

adventure5

Depart: 7:00 am
Length: All day
Terrain: Dense tropical rainforest with trails and streams and caves
Difficulty: Difficult
Recommended to Bring: Bottled water, sunscreen, bug repellent, cap or hat, sunglasses, long pants, t-shirt and long sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes or boots, camera, binoculars, swimsuit, beach towel and extra (dry) clothes for the end of your day.

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