Caves Branch River Tubing

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Banana Bank Road, Caves Branch, Belize
Caves Branch River Tubing - Mayan pottery inside the cave
Caves Branch River Tubing - And this is the river coming out of the cave system.
Caves Branch River Tubing - River leading into the 'underworld'...
Caves Branch River Tubing - The entry into Xibalba

Caves Branch River Tubing Reviews

barduini barduini
20 reviews
Cave Tubing - relax and go with the flow! Mar 23, 2008
If you're looking for a lazy, relaxing day or a rather unusual adventure, this is the activity for you! The Caves Branch River flows in and out of a series of limestone caves, and it is possible to ride inner tubes down the river. There are several entry points for accessing the river, each involving a certain amount of hiking. The paths are relatively cool and pleasant, but just warm enough to make you want to get in the river! The tour can be lengthened or shortened, depending on how far you want to hike and how long you want to be in the river. We hiked for about 45 minutes, and floated down the river for about an hour and a half. That was plenty for us. There were other groups that had gone out earlier and hiked further, and they seemed like the ready to get out! There are also mixed wet/dry caves, where you can ride in the river for a bit, then get out and explore a cave, and then go back to the river. Ask your tour guide when booking!

The river is not very deep in the dry season, an average height person could probably stand at most places. The current is also not very swift, at least along the lower part of the river, which together makes for a very relaxing trip. We were very glad we did this after hiking Xunantunich and Tikal the previous two days - it gave our tired legs a rest!

There are many different companies that will run cave tubing tours. Locally, Ian Anderson's Caves Branch lodge and the Jaguar Paw resort seem to be the primary outlets, but tours can also be booked from the various tour companies in San Ignacio, Belize City and the Cayes. It's easiest to book the tours from the mainland, where it is only about a one hour drive to the Caves Branch River. Booking from the Cayes additionally involves getting to the mainland, and is sometimes combined with another trip (for example, the Mayan city of Xunantunich in the morning and cave tubing in the afternoon). As of March 2008, cave tubing by itself cost about $60 per person from the mainland.
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pushirubiano pushirub…
36 reviews
Visit the Mayan underworld. May 31, 2006
A variation of caving tours (with or without tubing) are offered in San Ignacio to different cave systems and different rivers. We booked ours through Eva's restaurant (check out the poster on the wall).

A VERY popular option, fully booked almost every day, is the ATM (Aktun Tunichil Muknal) cave tour, which involves some fairly heavy-duty scrambling through narrow passages, leading to a Maya burial cave, complete with skeletons. Only two companies are licenced to do this tour and there is some discussion about the effects of heavy tourism traffic on the fragile remains.

The tour we chose, to the Cave Branch System, was a little more 'tame' (no skeletons anyway...) but exciting enough in itself. It starts out with a half-hour hike (carrying your inner tube) through the jungle to your put-in point. On the hike several plants and their uses were explained to us. Then you get to the impressive entrance to the cave for your float. The water is incredibly clear. At first, you can see reasonably well because of the light coming in from the entrance, then it gets pitch black (try turning off your headlights!). About halfway, you make a side trip to visit the Maya 'place of fright', the underworld, or Xibalba, where certain rituals were performed. Broken pottery can still be seen strewn around. This was not a place of burial because no grave-offerings have been found. It is believed that these caves were used to undergo certain 'tests', only Mayas who withstood these tests would be deemed 'worthy' of holding high office.

After about 2 hours inside of the cave, you emerge to float about half an hour through the jungle finishing off where you started.

Tip: water/beach shoes are very useful on this trip instead of sneakers.
Mayan pottery inside the cave
River leading into the 'underworld…
The entry into Xibalba
And this is the river coming out o…
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