Make the Daring Descent into Belize’s Lesser-Known Sinkhole

by Khaila Gentle
Belize's Black Hole Drop at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge.

Did you know that there’s a sinkhole in Belize that rivals the Great Blue Hole in grandeur? This one isn’t underwater though. Hidden away in the foothills of Belize’s Maya Mountains lies the “mother of all caves”. Its outer edges sit a whopping 200 feet above canopy of the forest. Thus, the only way to get to the bottom of this massive sinkhole is by hiking and rappelling down into its depths. And the entire journey down is about 500 feet. (Talk about an adrenaline rush!)

Thinking of exploring Belize’s lesser-known, but just as magnificent, sinkhole? Then here’s what you can expect. But be warned: this one may not be for the faint of heart.

Descend into the Mother of All Caves

The black hole drop. this massive sinkhole looks dark and bottomless at first

The Black Hole Drop. Photo by Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort

After about an hour and a half of steep uphill hiking, you’ll reach your destination—or at least, you’ll be able to see it from above. The giant collapsed cave known as Actun Loch Tunich looks like a bottomless and dark abyss, massive and daunting, from up above the forest canopy.

The view from the bottom, though, will be worth every drop of sweat and every racing heartbeat. Your guide will connect you to a safety harness and a system of secure rappelling ropes. From there, there’s nowhere to go but down. For the first ten feet, you rappel down the side of the rock face. And then you step off into nothing. That’s when you find yourself in a sitting position, surrounded on all sides by nature’s beauty.

As you slowly descend, take the time to admire the grandeur all around you. Take in the beauty of the expansive emerald forest before passing through the top of the canopy into what seems at first to be darkness.

At the bottom, the sunlight pours in through the forest canopy, illuminating the surrounding greenery and the massive cave walls. Explore the bottom of the sinkhole before trekking back.

At the bottom of the Belize Black Hole Drop. Photo by Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort.

How to Get to The Black Hole Drop

Despite not being as widely known about as other Belize destinations, Actun Loch Tunich isn’t too far to get to. It’s located in the Cayo district, so the nearest starting point for your journey would be San Ignacio. To get to the cave itself, though, you must be guided by a licensed tour operator. If you’re in Southern Belize, Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort can help you to arrange a tour.

Not quite ready to take the plunge, but curious about what the experience is like? Check out this spectacular video below, courtesy Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch.

Take it from us: descending into Belize’s lesser known sinkhole may just be the most daring thing you ever do.

Featured Photo by Duarte Dellarole Photography. 

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