Cave, the most common definition, is a natural chamber or series of chambers in the earth, typically of natural origin; for us, in Belize, it’s a mythical experience, a connection with nature and a piece of history.
Caves tell the history of Belize, an important part of the Mayan religion and culture. The Mayas used them as ceremonial sites, where today you can find artifacts like pottery, precious stones, and sacrificial remains.
Belize has more than 20 amazing caves all over the country, and many of them have been featured in articles and documentaries by National Geographic and other international media organizations.
You should definitely visit one when you’re in Belize, but how will you know which one to visit first? Below you can find a list of the best caves in Belize based on their popularity and accessibility.
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (The ATM Cave)
Deep within the forests lies a wonder of both ancient and natural Belize. Following a 45-minute drive from San Ignacio and a 45-minutes hike through the beautiful Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, you can find a crystal- clear stream flowing into the big opening of the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave.
Known as one of several subterranean sites that were carved out of the limestone foothills of the Maya Mountains by the very active Caves Branch River. This site provides an example of the erosive power of water and the natural wonders of Belize. Step into a rubber tube and float leisurely into the mysterious subterranean world of “Xibalba” – the mythic underworld of the ancient Maya. Enter an inner sanctum of crystal stalactites, stalagmites, rimstone pools, and ancient Maya artifacts.
Barton Creek Cave
In a small Mennonite community of Barton Creek, you can find this cave along the Chiquibul Road in the Cayo District. This dark and small cool cave that you can explore in a canoe trip was formerly used by the ancient Mayans as a burial site and for ceremonial purposes.
Actun Loch Tunich Cave
Located at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. Better known as “The Black Hole Drop”, this is considered the ‘mother’ of all caves in the country. The edge of the sinkhole is over 300 feet above the basin below and 200 feet above the rainforest canopy that grows out from the sinkhole. The cave is not actually black but you can barely see the bottom from the top. This is a perfect option if you are looking for more excitement and adrenaline.
Rio Frio Cave
Located in the Mountain Pine Ridge area in the Western Belize with a 70-foot natural arches and colorful boulders and stalactites, it is one of the most fascinating caves in Belize. Visiting Rio Frio is one of the more relaxing adventures and popular sites to visit while you are in Belize.
Take a short swim into acave and enjoy your caving adventures!
Written by: Cristina Reyna
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