Belize ATM Cave Tour
The ATM cave is now a national park co-managed by the Institute of Archaeology and is one of the top tourist attractions (Adventures) in the country.
The guided trip into the famous Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave takes you deep into the underworld that the ancient Maya called “Xibalba”.
The ATM Cave Tour starts with a scenic 3 hours hike through Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, wading across crystal-clear rivers and hiking under the jungle canopy.
Upon reaching the natural, hourglass-shaped opening you’ll know that you have arrived at the entrance of the cave. Here you’ll gear up with a helmet, headlamp, and life jacket provided by your licensed tour guide.
With a cool swim across a beautiful turquoise pool (about 15ft across), you will enter the cave.
From that point, follow your tour guide, hiking, climbing, twisting, and turning your way through the darkness of the cave for about an hour. Don’t fear, you’re in safe hands with Luis as he points out every possible area of injury and instructs you on how to avoid them.
Witness Giant shimmering flowstone rock formations surrounded by thick, calcium-carbonate stalactites dripping from the ceiling and stalagmites growing from the cave floor.
Belize ATM Cave Tips and Advisory
- Please be on time for this trip
- Tours include Lunch
- Transportation, Guide, Entrance Fee,
- Bottled Water, Soda, Tours Equipment
When preparing for a visit to the ATM Cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal) in Belize, it’s essential to bring a few key items to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here’s a list of recommended things to bring:
- Water: Stay hydrated throughout the excursion by carrying an ample supply of drinking water. It’s important to drink regularly, especially in a humid environment.
- Appropriate footwear: Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or hiking boots with good traction. The cave terrain can be uneven and slippery, so reliable footwear is crucial for navigating through the cave.
- Clothing: Dress in comfortable, lightweight, and breathable clothing suitable for physical activity. Choose quick-drying materials as you might get wet during the cave exploration.
- Swimwear: Wear or bring swimwear if you plan to swim in the cave’s pools or wade through water during the tour. Additionally, it’s advisable to bring a towel or a change of clothes.
- Insect repellent: The jungle surroundings can attract insects, so applying insect repellent will help prevent bug bites. Opt for a repellent with a high concentration of DEET or a natural alternative like citronella.
- Headlamp or flashlight: The ATM Cave is an underground cavern with no artificial lighting. Bring a reliable headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries to navigate the cave safely. Guides often provide headlamps, but it’s good to have your own backup.
- Waterproof bag: Keep your belongings dry by carrying a waterproof bag or a dry bag. This is especially important if you’re bringing a camera, phone, or any other electronic devices.
- Snacks: Pack some light snacks or energy bars to sustain your energy levels during the excursion. Choose non-perishable items that won’t get squished or melt easily.
- Medications and personal items: If you have any essential medications, make sure to bring an adequate supply. Additionally, carry any personal items you might need, such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a first aid kit.
The ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) Cave in Belize is known for its high intensity level. It offers an adventurous and physically demanding experience for visitors. Here are some factors that contribute to the intensity level of the ATM Cave:
- Physical fitness: Exploring the ATM Cave involves hiking, climbing, and wading through water. The terrain can be challenging, with uneven surfaces and submerged obstacles. Visitors should have a moderate to high level of physical fitness and mobility to navigate through the cave comfortably.
- Swimming and underwater activities: To reach certain sections of the cave, visitors may need to swim through deep pools of water. This requires confidence in swimming and being comfortable in water. Some underwater passages may be narrow and require maneuvering through tight spaces.
- Cave exploration: The ATM Cave is a complex underground system with intricate passages, chambers, and stalactite formations. Visitors will often need to crawl, climb, and squeeze through narrow spaces, which can be physically demanding and may require agility and flexibility.
- Darkness and limited visibility: The cave has no artificial lighting, and visitors rely on headlamps or flashlights to navigate through the dark environment. The limited visibility adds to the challenge and intensifies the overall experience.
- Archaeological significance: The ATM Cave is renowned for its ancient Mayan artifacts and skeletal remains. Visitors are expected to respect the historical and cultural significance of the cave and follow the guidance of trained guides to preserve the site’s integrity.
- Restricted access: Due to the cultural and archaeological significance of the cave, access to certain areas may be restricted to protect the site. Visitors must follow the instructions of their licensed guide and avoid touching or disturbing any artifacts or formations within the cave.
- Photography restrictions: Photography is allowed in the ATM Cave; however, the use of camera flashes is strictly prohibited. Flash photography can damage delicate artifacts and disturb the natural ambiance of the cave. Visitors are advised to use low-light photography techniques or consult their guide for guidance on capturing memorable moments responsibly.
- Age and health restrictions: The ATM Cave tour is physically demanding and may not be suitable for everyone. Some tour operators have age restrictions in place, typically requiring participants to be at least 12 years old. Visitors with certain medical conditions, mobility limitations, or claustrophobia should consult with their healthcare provider or tour operator to assess if the tour is appropriate for them.
- Tour duration: The duration of the ATM Cave tour can vary depending on the tour operator and group size. Generally, it takes around 3-4 hours to complete the entire experience, including hiking, cave exploration, and returning to the starting point. It’s advisable to allocate sufficient time for the tour and plan other activities accordingly.
- Safety equipment and guides: Visitors are required to be accompanied by licensed guides who are knowledgeable about the cave system and its history. These guides will provide safety equipment such as helmets and life jackets when necessary. It’s essential to listen to their instructions, stay with the group, and communicate any concerns or difficulties during the tour.
- Environmental conservation: The ATM Cave is a fragile ecosystem, and it’s crucial to respect and preserve its natural beauty. Visitors should refrain from leaving any trash or litter behind and avoid touching or disturbing any flora or fauna within the cave.
Belize ATM Cave Experience with Luis
Luis is patient in providing a fact-filled tour, a one-of-a-kind Adventure in Belize, you will never forget. His knowledge and passion for the Maya people and the cave are obvious. Looking for affordable tours to the famous skeleton cave? You’ve hit the jackpot with Luis and KaWiil Tour Company boasting 21 years’ experience and research in Maya history.
Luis received extensive training on this Cave system from the Belize Valley
Archaeological Reconnaissance Project (BVAR) archaeologist; Dr. Jamie Awe, Sherry Gibbs and Cameron Griffith.
Actun Tunichil Muknal Belize National Geographic documentary is difficult to find on the internet, so we included the best video we could find to offer a glimpse of the famous ATM Cave.