This cave adventure is one of the most popular Mayan burial sites in Western Belize. The ATM cave contains four skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware left by the Maya. The most famous skeleton is that of a young girl, the bones of which have been completely covered by the natural processes of the cave, leaving them with a sparkling appearance. The cave itself is several kilometers long with several chambers. Once inside the cave you will spend several hours swimming, climbing, and exploring.
The tour van leaves Caves Branch Jungle Lodge around 8:00AM. The hike from the starting point to the cave entrance includes three stream crossings and passes through the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. The hike through the lower portion of the cave is approximately 45 minutes in duration. Once through the inner chambers you will ascend to the upper chambers and to do this you will be required to take off your shoes and explore in only your socks to prevent damage to the artifacts. This adventure is challenging and a good level of physical fitness is required. The ability to swim is a plus as you will need to cross deep water to enter the cave and will be wading through water several times both inside and outside the caves.
At the furthest end of the upper chambers, you will encounter the “crystal maiden”. Cameras are not allowed in the cave for conservation purposes. Accidental damage to bones, pottery and other scared sites within the cave have forced the Department of Archaeology to discontinue this permission so do your best to capture the experience with mental photographs of your thrilling adventure!
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