Cave Kayaking in Belize/ Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch  

by Jiyoung Chehade
cave kayaking nohoch che'en

Are you up for the challenge? Paddle away in the Caves of Belize and feel the thrill while you navigate through a cave system filled with rock formations and waterfalls. Read more about Cave Kayaking in Belize and what all it entails.  

Joshua J. Marine quoted, “Challenges are what make life interesting; Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Cave Kayaking is a challenging one but worth the extra push. It is not a common or widely known activity done in Belize but will be a memorable one.   

Cave Kayaking- better than cave tubing 

Cave tubing is the popular choice of activity done by tourists whenever they visit Belize, but few have experienced cave kayaking. It holds the advantage that you can use the kayaks to run the whole section of caves while with cave tubing the runs must be extremely short as this river (Caves Branch River) is too shallow to allow an unhampered float. The caves of Belize were sacred to the Mayans and Nohoch Cheʼen is one with exceptional Mayan artifacts inscribed into the cave formations along the river.  

cave kayaking nohoch che'encave kayaking nohoch che'en
Kayaking

About Caves Branch 

Caves branch is one of the largest cave systems in Central America that were carved out of the limestone foothills of the Maya Mountains. Geological research informs that the Caves branch took several hundred thousand years to form and was a place where the ancient Mayans conducted significant rituals.   

The Cave Kayaking journey 

Before the kayaking journey begins, the excursion guide gives everyone a complete safety and instructional class. The thorough instructional class covers basic strokes, familiarization with balance, reading the river currents, getting comfortable in moving water and recovery methods. Note: You don’t need to be certified or experienced to take on this adventure.

Step into your kayak (double or single), paddle on hand, life jacket buckled, headlight check, helmet on and off you go. In the first 30 minutes, you will paddle through the jungle with riverbanks so thick in vegetation it would be impossible to cut through. Don’t worry your guide is in front guiding you safely through. In the distance, you slowly start to see a mountain wall appearing. The river plunges underground and becomes one with the mountains. You have now entered a river of caves with chandelier stalactites made of stones looming from above. From time to time, you will see the mystical formations glistening and reflecting light at you through thousands of miniature calcite crystals.

Using headlamps to light the way, the current takes you through the caves. This kayaking experience not only takes you through one cave but four different caves. All the river caves are linked so you can follow your guide through each one with ease. The water flow in the river is fairly calm and easy to paddle. Along the way, you may also see tropical birds, monkeys, butterflies, and captivating waterfalls. As you paddle out of the last cave, you will head downstream and return to the base camp. The total time kayaking on this tour is approximately 2 hours.  

Logistics 

  • Location: 37 miles George Price Highway, Belize City
  • Minimum number of persons 4, maximum 12 in a group
  • Minimum and maximum ages: 10 and 70
  • When offered: December to April, Wednesday to Friday
  • Price: Varies depending on the tour booking company. Ranges anywhere from $95 US per person to $195. The price includes transportation to and from Belize City, food, equipment and entrance fee. 
  • Companies that offer this service: Maya Guide Adventures & Jungle Lodge. 
  • What to pack: shorts & t-shirt, water shoes with thick soles or tennis shoes, water bottles, bug spray, sunscreen and a change of clothes. 

Written by Jiyoung Chehade

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