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“Pacz tours - ATM cave - incredible adventure”
Review of Pacz Tours

Pacz Tours
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Pacz Tours Belize leads daily tours Actun Tunichil Muknal, Cave Tubing and to all of the known Archaeologocal sites and quite a few unknown ones as well. Pacz Tours pride themselves on having the most experienced and knowledgeable tour guides in San Ignacio, Belize.
Calgary Alberta Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Pacz tours - ATM cave - incredible adventure”
Reviewed 2 September 2013

We did the ATM cavel tour with Pacz and they were very helpful, punctual and respectful.

Because it was slow season, we were the only two on the tour, so it was like a private tour for us. :) The ATM tour can only have a max of eight anyways.

The ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) tour. Juan Carlos was a great tour guide, he led us through the jungle hike (easy hike), with 3 river crossing that you can walk through. The highest crossing was just above the waist (and we aren't tall people). A quick swim into the cave and the adventure continues. (I'm not a great swimmer, so I asked for life jacket at the beginning of the tour, so if you aren't comfortable with swimming, be sure to get one, probably should mention at booking time as well.) For the next 3ish hours you will be spelunking.

There are some tight fits through rocks; couple of large rocks to climb up and over, areas to squeeze through, and water to wade through, but it was very fun. Vast majority of the cave was quite high, so it wasn't really too claustrophobic. We wore Keen waterproof sandals and they worked well for the hiking and the trekking through the cave. You need to bring socks with you, for the trek into the dry area to see the artifacts. Cameras are not allowed in anymore, since a couple of years ago someone accidentally dropped their camera on one of the skulls in the cave. This adventure into the cave was amazing, and something not to be missed!

We had the provided lunch after we came out of the cave, which was great!

Our tour guide was great, and I especially liked this comment he had at the beginning of the tour, "In many places to see Mayan artifacts, you would go to a museum and see them behind a rope or in a case, today we will see them up close where they were found. They are still in the same place they were discovered". Juan Carlos was very informative; on the ride out to jungle, he was pointing out the history of the area, flora and other interesting facts. Through the jungle he gave insight of the area as well. In the cave, he spent a lot of time giving us Maya history, culture and stories about the era and the cave. He answered all of our questions, and continually asked us if we have any other questions. Safety and respect for the site was forefront for him.

Would recommend Pacz tours and Juan Carlos!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank YYC--Rob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“ATM Tour”
Reviewed 31 August 2013

I am surprised reading the other reviews. I had such a terrible time. Our tour guide was very ignorant to the knowledge of the mayans and how it related to the ATM cave. It is as if they hired someone out highschool (secondary school).They rushed us in and rushed us out. Did not take the time to explain parts of the cave. Very frustrating experience.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Surrey, UK
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Overnight trip to Tikal, Guatemala: temples and wildlife”
Reviewed 26 August 2013

PACZ offer an overnight trip to Tikal as well as a day trip. We decided to go overnight as it had been recommended by colleagues; the sunrise over the temples is meant to be amazing. Unfortunately, due to the weather, there was not much to see. Nevertheless, we had a fantastic experience.

On the first day we had an early start and drove to the Tikal site in Guatemala. Our guide, Jugo, was fantastic; very knowledgeable and friendly. We explored the site and he was able to give us some interesting facts and information about Tikal's history. (I got the sense that he put in particular effort during the second morning to make sure we had fun and enjoyed the temples to make up for the fact that we hadn't seen the sunrise. This was greatly appreciated).The temples themselves are very impressive and in a beautiful location.

The hotel we stayed in was Hotel Tikal Inn which is wthin the grounds of Tikal park. The staff were friendly and the room was good; just right for an overnight stay.

The walk up to the temples at 4.30am allowed us to see interesting nocturnal wildlife and certainly this added to the sense of adventure. I would definitely recommend close-toed shoes for this early morning walk as it is difficult to see where you are stepping and some of the path is somewhat steep. However, I was wearing flip-flops the day before and this was absolutely fine.

Based on my experience, I would say that the day trip to Tikal is probably sufficient if you want to see the temples and you don't have very much time in the area. However, the sunrise is meant to be spectacular so I may have felt differently if we had seen it. Furthermore, exploring the park first thing in the morning was actually one of the highlights of the trip for me as I like seeing animals in their natural habitat, particularly unusual ones, and we saw some toucans!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank lw128
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Memories that will last a lifetime”
Reviewed 14 August 2013 via mobile

My husband and I booked two tours with PACZ and both exceeded are expectations.
The first was a trip to ATM (this cave is the Mayan underworld), we weren't going to go on this tour but some people we met said you HAVE to do this if you come to Belize and they were absolutely right. This is an ancient sacred space and our guide, Francisco made sure we knew that this was not just another tourists visiting spot. The tour is good for body, mind and soul. Your body has to be prepared to hike, climb, swim and squeeze. Your mind has to overcome your fears, of the dark (my fear) of heights (my husbands), it has to be open to what you will encounter, symbols of pantheon worship and the remains of human sacrifice and your soul will be touched by the stories your guide tells you. Franciso was a great teacher, he linked the different parts of the tour together and asked us questions to make sure we were taking it all in.
He also had a great sense of humour and had our party of 6 laughing along. I also got the impression that he chooses the route based on the tour party, we were all pretty fit and up for it so some of the climbs/descents/swims seemed quite tough, but you could see an alternative route if you needed it.
I have never done anything like this and if you are going to Belize make sure that you do this trip. PACZ are totally professional, easy to contact and very reliable.

Our 2nd tour was the overnight tour to Tikal. This is one of the pricier tours PACZ do but totally worth it. Our guide this time was Juice. Juice is an intelligent, witty and educated expert on Tikal. He has been taking people to Tikal for 18 years and is proud of the fact that he is still studying. We completed three different hikes with him while we were there and he taught us about the archaeology, the religion and wildlife in the area. Every question we had was answered and we had some enlightening conversations about our world today.
As we were staying overnight we arose to meet Juice at 4.30 and preceded to hike to temple IV to watch the sunrise. It was completely breath taking, watching and listening to the jungle below us as the sky above lit red with the sun rise. The guides asked that everyone sit in silence to experience this wonder. At one point a group began to chat and another guide said "you got the rest of your lives to chat, so just shut up for now," couldn't have put it better myself. As the other tour parties dispersed it was just myself, my husband and Juice left on the top of that temple and we sat a while watching the toucans play and listening to the howler money's roar. That is such a special memory for me. We slowly walked back down and completed the last hike, learning more with every step. As some more day trippers came in we had to say goodbye to Juice, and we headed back into Belize.
PACZ arranged all the transportation including border crossings into Guatemala and all their employees are cheerful and friendly.
You will have the choice of several tour companies that operate in Belize, but I would definitely use PACZ again.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Gemma B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very friendly”
Reviewed 1 August 2013

We used PACZ to go to ATM Cave. They were very friendly and our guide was beyond knowledge about the Mayan history of the cave. Would recommend PACZ. They even helped us coordinate a ride back to Belize City at an affordable price.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jenna_K22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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