Review from Trip Advisor: “Luis is the best! His knowledge and love of his country and its culture made our tour of the ATM Cave an exceptional experience”
Luis is patient in providing a fact filled ATM Cave tour, one of a kind Belize Adventure you will never forget. His knowledge and passion for the Maya people and the cave are obvious. Looking for affordable tours to ATM cave, you hit the jackpot with Luis and Ka’Wiil Tour Company boasting 20 years’ experience and research in Maya history.
ATM cave is now a national park co-managed by the Institute of Archaeology and Belize Audubon Society, and is one of the major tourist attractions (Adventures) in the country. The guided trip into Belize ATM Cave takes you deep into the underworld that the ancient Maya knew as Xibalba.
Before you can get to the entrance of the cave, the access to the Maya sacrificial site. The ATM Cave Tour starts with an easy 45-minute hike through the lush jungle and across Roaring Creek a couple times (bear in mind your feet will be wet all day).
Seeing the wide, hourglass-shaped opening you know have have arrived at the entrance to the ATM cave, here you’ll need your helmet and headlamp which are provided for this tour. With a cool swim across a pool (about 15ft across) you would have then entered the cave. From that point follow your tour guide, walking, climbing, twisting and turning your way through the blackness of the cave for about an hour. You are in safe hands with Luis as he points out to every possible area of injury and instructs on how to avoid them.
Witness Giant shimmering flowstone rock formations compete for your attention with thick, calcium-carbonate stalactites dripping from the ceiling and phallic stalagmites grow up from the cave floor.
Actun Tunichil Muknal Belize National Geographic documentary is hard to find on the internet so we included the best video we can find the offer a glimpse of what the ATM Cave is like as Dr. Jamie Awe explains.
The first is a ledge located above the stream that contains two slate stelae, one carved in the shape of an obsidian blade, and the other of a stingray spine. The stelae are propped up with cave formations and broken pottery, a few obsidian blades, and another carved piece of slate are scattered throughout the area. These objects suggest that the Maya were performing bloodletting rituals at this location.
The second area of significance in the cave is the “Main Chamber” located approximately 1 km from the entrance. The remains of 14 individuals were recorded there, including a young adult female that the cave has since grown over, except for one spot on her head. Nearly half of the individuals left here were children with some head trauma, suggesting that they were sacrificed. Throughout Mesoamerica, children were commonly sacrificed to the rain gods in the Post Classic and Colonial periods.
Other artifacts found within this chamber include ocarinas, manos and metates, as well as large jars and pots, all of which suggest agricultural rituals were performed here.
Journeys to the underworld are never easy, and after visiting Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulchre), you may feel that you have been through your own epic test.
We do complimentary pick up and drop off to places in San Ignacio and the immediate surrounds hotels and resort.
Please take note that The ATM Cave experience is moderately strenuous. We do provide a yummy lunch as some of our past guest of called it. Take a personal bottle of water, you also will need a change of clothes and footwear you don’t mind getting wet. Once you enter the inner chamber your shoes must be removed and socks are required to avoid any traces being left behind.
Please let us know if you have any dietary restriction and if you are taking any medication, please bring it along.
Cameras are not allowed.
The ATM Cave is without a doubt the best tour to do in San Ignacio. We have had visitors from Ambergris Caye, Belize City and even from Placencia to do this amazing tour. Our second most recommend tour is Caracol, the largest Archaeological Site in Belize. If you would like a more relaxing tour, perhaps a day spent on the river visiting 3 gorgeous waterfalls is just what you need.