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Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave with Local Lunch from San Ignacio

  • Go spelunking with an expert guide in the cave, featured by National Geographic
  • Swim along water passageways in the cavern and climb up a rock ledge
  • Witness Mayan artifacts and ritual offerings unearthed by archeological excavations
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave with Local Lunch from San Ignacio
From US$ 100.00
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  • Overview
  • What to Expect
  • Important Information
  • Reviews
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Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave with Local Lunch from San Ignacio
From US$ 100.00
Journey into the heart of the Mayan underworld at the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave. Departing from San Ignacio, this guided, action-packed 9-hour tour kicks off with a 45-minute, physically intense jungle hike through the Tapir Nature Reserve to the entrance of the cave. Swim, climb, and spelunk your way through astonishing caverns into the depths of the cave, where you’ll get an up-close look at artifacts and offerings used in ancient Mayan ceremonies. Round-trip transport and riverside lunch are included. Please note this tour isn't recommended for those with a fear of enclosed spaces or heights.
What to Expect
This full-day adventure begins with a pickup at your San Ignacio hotel. From there, drive 45 minutes to a turnoff at Teakettle Village, then another 30 minutes along a dirt road to reach the Tapir Nature Reserve. 
During a flat, 45-minute hike through the tropical reserve, you'll encounter many native plant species and wade across the Roaring River three different times. At the entrance to the cave, you'll receive a safety briefing, and gear up with hardhats and headlamps. Enjoy a picnic lunch here either before or after exploring the cave, depending on what time your tour arrives.
Your caving adventure will begin with a quick, refreshing swim across a pool of water at the hourglass-shaped cave entrance. Just a few minutes into the darkened depths, you’ll approach “the Breakdown” — the most challenging part of the adventure — where you will wade, swim, and scramble through rocky passages and squeeze through some tight crevices. Your guide will instruct the group how to safely navigate challenging areas. 
While passing through various chambers, stop to admire massive stalactite and stalagmite formations created by thousands of years of water passing through the cave. Light from your headlamp will illuminate shimmering columns and dripping formations that resemble waterfalls and chandeliers. 
To reach the cave’s highlight, climb up a stone platform to an expansive chamber where archaeologists discovered a treasure trove of ceremonial Mayan pottery and the remains of more than a dozen victims of human sacrifice. Most of these artifacts remain exactly where they were discovered, allowing you to get an amazingly up-close view. 
For the grand finale, climb a ladder into the uppermost chamber of the cavern, where you can marvel at the famous Crystal Maiden — a complete human skeleton covered in a crystalline substance caused by natural calcification. 
After spelunking your way back out of the cave, you’ll emerge into the sunlight and the cool water of the Roaring River, then prepare for the return hike and drive back to San Ignacio.
Reviews (41)
1 - 5 of 18 reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago
An expedition with a truly unique destination

This was a highlight of our stay in Belize. NB cameras are prohibited, so the pictures have to stay in your head. Wear shoes that can survive total immersion and bring some socks; you will need to be fairly fit and happy scrambling around rocks,...More

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank BrockleyAndy
Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Very good tour. Better than expected.

We took this tour with our 4 kids (ages 12-20). The tour itself was fun and interesting. Our guide Abraham was excellent. Very friendly and knowledgeable. The only downsides were that: 1. Unlike our other tours, this company combined our group of 6 with other...More

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Nicholas G
Reviewed 27 February 2019 via mobile
Patrick Warrior’s tour of ATM was fantastic

Yes. He acts a bit bullish but that’s just a put on. Patrick provided an unforgettable experience—one of the best in my 73 well-traveled year life. The cave alone was A+ but combined with Patrick’s knowledge and stories of the ancient Mayas the day was...More

1  Thank dkemper398
Reviewed 8 January 2019 via mobile

There will be multiple providers for this excursion so look around for pricing. This excursion is truly an adventure, but I’d recommend leaving the kiddies at home, as you will cross the river 6 times, swim into the cave, and do some light bouldering (climb...More

1  Thank tgd016
Reviewed 12 December 2018
Going to museum will never be the same...

First things first...you're going to spend the day hiking, swimming, climbing and seeing actual skeletal remains of Mayans (including children) that were sacrificed to the rain gods. You'll be seeing Mayan artifacts, you'll be involved in this tour like no other. Make no doubts about...More

Date of experience: January 2018
1  Thank RECR8TON
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Questions & Answers
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17 February 2019|
Response from tgd016 | Reviewed this property |
There are different providers, which you can probably book online. There is also a touring booking agency with a store front in San Ignacio, or through your resort. We booked through the resort because it was easy.
Michelle C
30 October 2018|
Response from yogamama40 | Reviewed this property |
You can check with each tour company but I would highly doubt it. The ATM tour was about 6-7 hours itself