Actun Tunichil Muknal, better known as ATM, is the acclaimed “Cave of the Crystal Maiden.” This site has been extensively documented by National Geographic and is quickly becoming one of Belize’s must-do adventures. This one-of-a-kind experience is for fit and active people who do not mind getting wet, moving through dark spaces, and who can tread lightly! After the initial 45-minute hike to the entrance with three river crossings and a swim into the cave’s innards, you will wade through knee- to shoulder-deep water for close to an hour before being asked to remove your water shoes to enter the dry cathedral-like upper chambers of the cave. The rooms are littered with delicate Mayan pottery and the crystallized remains of fourteen humans. There are no walkways, rails, glass, or other partitions separating you from the artifacts, nor is there any installed lighting. Just you, your guide, a helmet, and a headlamp. An unparalleled experience!
Drive Time from Table Rock: 1 hour
Adventure Level: Strenuous. This is only for those who are moderately fit and not afraid of water, darkness, or the occasional tight space. It’s a bit of a hike to get there and tricky climbing in some spots, but a must-see if you’re up for it.
What to Wear & Bring: Bathing suit under shorts and a t-shirt, close-toed water shoes or tennis shoes, and an extra pair of socks for walking in the dry potion of the cave. Insect repellent is recommended, and be sure to bring a change of clothes and shoes for the ride home. No flip flops, open-toed shoes, men’s speedos, women’s bikini bottoms without shorts, or exposed midriffs.
*Restrictions: Moderate fitness level, close-toed water shoes, and extra socks required. Minimum height 40 inches. Swimming ability is a plus, but not required. Cameras are prohibited.
Duration: Full-day tour
- May be joined with guests from other establishments
- Includes licensed guide, transportation to and from the lodge, lunch, entrance fees, and equipment
- Minimum two persons (see above Restrictions)
- A 50% cancellation fee applies to any tours booked and then cancelled by the guest less than 24 hours in advance
- Prices subject to change without notice