ATM Cave

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Western Highway, San Ignacio, Belize

ATM Cave San Ignacio Reviews

julietravelswell julietra…
4 reviews
ATM a must see for anyone with a slightly adventurous spirit Jun 12, 2016
Since I was traveling alone I had to book tours when others were going, so I hopped on this one the first day so I wouldn't miss out. (Midas Resort arranged this tour for me.) They picked me up at my hotel and then we met my tour group coming from another direction. Drove the rest of the way into the park. You can no longer bring cameras into the cave. Unless your camera is waterproof this is not a big deal. Not to mention you really do want to have both hands free. (So no photos but you can look some up online.) We left everything in the van and a guy remained there to watch it. There is about a 20-30 minute hike to get to the cave opening. The hike is hot and humid but crosses a few creeks. You have to walk through these. They are about thigh deep. They felt good since it was so hot and humid.

Once we reached the cave opening it felt like air conditioning coming out of it. The water was really cold after the hot humid hike. It made me take a huge breath when I jumped in. It was shocking and freaked me out. But once I made it to land and got out I was ok. After that the water temperature felt fine, but the initial shock was a bit much.

I thought I'd be freaked out being in the dark, with bones and swimming through water when you couldn't see what was in it. Other than the itial shock of the cold water I was fine the whole time. We had helmets with head lamps on them. The batteries don't last that long so on the way back we had to stop a few times to change the batteries. But even then there was light. There were a few cramped spaces but your head is above water the whole time.

The caves themselves are beautiful and it is a wonderful experience to go walking/swimming/wading through them. (I was grateful for my Keens water shoes. This was their inagural run and they worked great!) There were a few bats we got to see flitting about. Tiny minnow like fish that were in the water at the cave opening could also be seen here and there through out the tour. It was cool to see the Mayan pottery and to learn that they made it that perfectly round without a spinning wheel. All of the pottery is broken because the Mayans used the cave for agricultural sacrifices. They would ask the gods for better crops, rain, etc. and smash or burn their offering, In the cases of human sarifices they would kill them. Many of the skull had evidence that the skull was modified as a child. Susch as strapped between two board to make it flat in particular places.

The Crystal maiden at the end is really a boy. To get to this part at the end we had to take our shoes off. There was so much pottery at this point they had orange tape on the ground guiding you so you would not step on it. We had to wake on the ridges because water pools in the lower parts and that is where they find most of the artifacts.

So there is a part that we were essentially doing a bit of easy rock climbing. I'm glad it was dark and I couldn't see all the way down because it seemed pretty high up. I guess there is sometimes a benefit to not looking ahead past your next three steps. There is a ladder at the end so you can climb up to see the crystal maiden the most intact skeleton in the cave.

The way back out went much quicker because were were not stopping to see the cave or artifacts along the way (just to change out batteries).

They have showers near were we parked so you can shower off and change clothes. We had a little lunch and then headed home in the van. On the way back we stopped at that same meet up point to go in different directions. Only problem was my ride wasn't there. The tour guide Abraham was going with me so I was not alone. But we were waiting for like 45 min-1hour at the bus stop on the side of the road getting pretty dusty (so much for showering off) as school was letting out. So our tour guide was in his 20s and proceeded to say things in spanish to all the high school girls walking by our bus stop. I tried not to judge especially when he claimed to know some of them because he had family there. But at a certain point it just became uncomfortable to watch, because none of these girls said anything to him or acknowledged him until he said something to them. Thank god our ride finally arrived and I got back to my hotel safe and sound.

If you have the chance to check out ATM go, it's totally worth it. (It think it cost me $115USD.) I went May 19, 2016.
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lindader lindader
4 reviews
Actun Tunchil Muknal Cave Feb 16, 2012
We hiked through the jungle for 40 minutes, doing 3 river crossings, before swimming a few feet into the mouth of the cave. Then we waded up the knee high river for about half an hour before squeezing through some rocks, climbing up a ledge, to reach the back cavern, where there were Mayan artifacts, and human sacrificial remains, as well as limestone formations. You hire a licensed guide from San Ignacio, Belize. San Ignacio, as a town is abit of a mess. Our hotel, the Venus Hotel, was infested with cockroaches. However the caving itself was amazing and worth the detour.

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photo by: Biedjee