Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, also known as the ATM, is an ancient Maya ceremonial Belize cave rich in both history and artefacts. One of Belize’s most impressive attractions, it is also one of the newest, having only been open to the public since the late 1990s.
Although featured in National Geographic, History Channel, Lonely Planet and other documentaries, magazines and guidebooks, a visit to this spectacular Belize cave is still an off-the-beaten track adventure that even Indiana Jones would appreciate.
After an hour and half drive from Chaa Creek and a 45-minute walk along a jungle trail fording three river crossings, guests arrive at the ATM camp to rest and enjoy lunch. The real adventure begins with a swim into the cave’s mouth, still partially concealed by the overhanging jungle plants that kept it hidden for so many years. Actun Tunichil Muknal was perhaps the most important of sacred Belize caves, one in which the ancient Maya conducted elaborate ceremonies to appease their gods, and once inside, visitors wade along a shallow underground river before scaling ladders that lead to sacrificial altars still surrounded by jade axe heads, pottery, blood letting implements and other artefacts.
As you venture deeper, the skulls and skeletons of sacrificial victims compete for space with more artefacts and stalagmites while beautiful, multi hued stalactites adorn cathedral like ceilings.
The highlight of the tour is the famous Crystal Maiden, from which this Belize cave gets one of its nicknames. The intact skeleton of a young sacrificial victim has over the years been coated with a sparkling crystal carbonate, giving her an eerie sparkle that shimmers in the torchlight.
With its combination of natural beauty and the wealth of relics left behind from mysterious Maya ceremonies, a visit to Actun Tunichil Muknal is an experience guaranteed to leave you with unforgettable memories and a rare, in-depth look into the life of Belize’s ancient Maya.
Chaa Creek has been helping visitors discover Actun Tunichil Muknal since it was first opened to the public, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains preserved in its pristine state for the enjoyment of future guests. The Actun Tunichil Muknal tour requires a reasonable level of fitness, and you will be given headlamps and necessary equipment as well as the help of licenced naturalist guides who will assist you throughout this amazing journey into the fascinating underworld of the ancient Maya.
Good to Very Good
Sub-tropical broadleaf forest and wet cave river system
Short or long pants and sturdy protective footwear - sleeve lengths optional
What to bring Along
Socks*, Hat, extra clothes, water, and insect repellant.
Note Kids are required to be over 40 inches in height in order to do this tour.
|US $164 Per Person
|2 or more persons
|Taxes are additional at 12.5%
* For preservation purposes and by law, no cameras are allowed in this cave.
Questions about the Belize ATM Cave? Call us TOLL FREE at +1-877-709-8708.
Miguel Choco, Adventure Connoisseur