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“Do not miss this awesome cave adventure!!”

Actun Tunichil Muknal
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Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves from San Ignacio
Ranked #1 of 70 things to do in Cayo
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This remote cave is filled with relics left over from the Mayans.
Saint Louis
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Do not miss this awesome cave adventure!!”
Reviewed 20 December 2011

This was the coolest thing we did in the Cayo! I'm in average shape and it was easy. We went with Pacz tours out of San Ignacio and Oscar was our guide. We wore our swim suits with a quick-dry shirt over, neoprene socks (designed for snorkeling fins), and wet/dry sandals that had a closed toe. Our tour provided box lunches for us. I would recommend bringing ziplock bags to put that lunch into (it came in a carboard box). There are pit toilets and changing rooms at the parking area on arrival. Bring a set of dry clothes and leave it in your vehicle for when you return. You take a 45 minute easy flat hike that crosses 3 rivers. The river crossings aren't hard but you will be waste-deep during the first one and about knee-deep for the other two. The river bottom is rocky but if you go slow, you'll be fine. After the 45 min hike, you reach a picnic area (w/ pit toilets). Have a snack there then suspend your backpack on a nail from the picnic pavillion to keep the ants out. Well, my pack got invaded by ants even though it was suspended (thus I recommend ziplok bags). Or make sure your back has zippers that lock closed tight (mine had the tiniest of gaps and the ants found their way in). Anyway, a small path leads to the mouth of the cave. Your guide gives you a helmet w/ lamp. You swim across the opening of the cave...the water is cold but not painful and it takes all of 30 seconds. There is about 15 minutes of navigating the cave that is slightly technical (but not scary or undoable by any means). The guide will say "put your foot here, turn like this, and step down". Then there is about 30-40 minutes of easy caving that involves walking through water that varies from ankle deep to chest high (or flat out swimming). All is very easy as long as you look at your feet and watch where you step! Then you begin a climbing section to reach the dry section of the cave. This could be a little scary for some but again, our guide told us exactly where to put our feet on the way up and even as a short overweight person, I had no difficulty. You take your shoes off for the dry section to avoid harming any artifacts in the cave. Having neoprene socks on helped since they were a little more cushioned. You spend time in the dry section examining Mayan artifacts. The last part of the dry section involves climbing a metal ladder (it's secure). As far as cave formations go, I've seen more impressive, but you can't beat the water experience, how impressively large this cave is, and the Mayan experience. The only light you have is from your headlamp so don't expect any fancy dramatic lighting effects. After your experience, you can change into dry clothes back at the parking lot in the changing rooms.

Visited December 2011
13 Thank Krobar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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725 reviews from our community

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
122 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Absolutely worth the trip!”
Reviewed 1 December 2011

We were picked up after breakfast at our resort. My husband and I were joined by another gentleman, so it was a nice small group. Our guide, Francisco greeted us and made sure we had all the necessary items. NOTE: If you do this tour, bring old socks to throw away. We arrived in the parking lot of ATM in about 90 mins. Quite a few tour groups were also showing up with groups between 5-8 people. We headed out on the trail where we crossed the river three times (wear your water shoes). The water was calf deep in most places. The walk meandered through the woods (bring bug spray). After 45 mins, we were the first to arrive at an open area where we left our lunches and put on our helmets. Just a few yards away was the mouth of the cave. We took our pictures and then walked to the opening. You wade though the water and then swim inside. The water wasn't too chilly, even in November. The inside of the cave was AMAZING! Francisco kept us safe and helped us navigate the cave. You will be in and out of the water the whole time. The formations were neat and the Mayan artifacts were great to learn about. I would highly recommend this trip! Just make sure you are in good shape and steady on your feet. Towards the end of the cave, you are required to take off your shoes and walk in socks. The archaeologists want to make sure that people don't accidently step on the artifacts. Francisco has great stories, especially since he has slept inside the cave on a few occasions. After caving, you re-emerge and enjoy lunch under a cabana. When lunch is finished, you hike back out.

Visited November 2011
5 Thank cvkevents
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing tour, great guide, incredible day trip”
Reviewed 29 November 2011

My boyfriend and I did the ATM tour with Maya Walk, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. After hiking through the rain forest with our very knowledgeable guide - who knew everything about the wildlife and every plant we came across - you enter this cave, which in itself is an amazing thing to see. After swimming and climbing for an hour or so, you reach the back were there are some of the most amazing artifacts. Our guide knew so much about so many subjects, and was also just a lot of fun! We also did a Tikal trip with them, which was also great and very informative, but felt a little less special after visiting ATM. Great job guys!

Visited July 2011
1 Thank Caity S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
97 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Historical culture up close and personal”
Reviewed 28 November 2011

If you want a glimpse into the Mayan culture, ATM is a must. Stay at Pook's Hill and have Ben take you. He has a wealth of knowledge and he will inspire you to revere site as much as he does. It's a rigorous hike and climb to go through the cave, but worth every step!

Staying at Pook's allows you to get to the cave before the crowds and cruise ship travelers arrive.

Visited April 2011
1 Thank janfrommichigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Highlight of our Belize vacation”
Reviewed 21 November 2011

Our six party group had the good fortune to have Carlos Panti as our guide. Carlos is a self employed guide with love and great passion for his profession . ATM will not disappoint! It was most definitely one of the coolest things we've ever done!! Email him @ carlos.caveguide@yahoo.com, tell him Oregon and England say hello .

Visited November 2011
1 Thank kfaber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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