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Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, which means Cave of the Stone Sepulcher, is one of Belize’s most visited underworld caves. Located in the Roaring Creek Valley in the Cayo District, ATM Cave is rated #1 by National Geography in Central America. Actun Tunichil Muknal is approximately five kilometers in length and has four entrances – Main and Upper Entrances, Sinkhole, and South Entrance.
The Main Entrance resembles a double Gothic archway and has a deep blue pool below, and serves as the primary access into the cavern.
The Main Chamber contains the skeletal remains of 14 individuals (ranging from 3 years to 40 years old), 150 ceramic vessels, several grinding stone artifacts, and a variety of animal remains.
One of the skeletal remains, possibly a female, lies covered in a thin layer of calcite in the deepest section of the Main Chamber. She is famously known as the “Crystal Maiden” and is believed to have been sacrificed as part of agricultural fertility rituals in the cave.
ATM Cave is an all-day tour that starts as early as 7:30 AM and returns around 4:00 PM. The drive is about 1 hour 45 minutes to the parking lot of the reserve. Our drive takes us on the George Price Highway to Teakettle village, where we then turn south on a dirt road for about 7 miles. At the parking lot, we gear up and take a 45-minute hike that crosses the Roaring Creek three times. At the entrance of the cave, there is a small pool which we swim across to go into the cave. We spend about 3 hours in the cave as we immerse ourselves in the history and archaeology of ATM. We then hike back out of the cave and out back to the parking lot. Clean changing rooms and bathrooms are available at the parking lot.
Level of Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
What to wear: Short pants, a t-shirt and closed-up shoes with socks. water shoes or tennis shoes are okay.
PLEASE NOTE – NO CAMERAS ARE ALLOWED.
What is included: Transportation, Lunch, guide, entrance fees, and equipment.