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“Spectacular ! Once in a lifetime adventure” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Actun Chapat

Actun Chapat
Mile 73 3/4 Western Hwy | San Jose Succotz Village, Belize
+501 601-2630
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Ranked #28 of 65 things to do in Cayo
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Actun Halal and Actun Chapat Caving Adventure is our main adventure. Located on Belizean Sun Tours private property, we offer a day of adventure, an incredible experience. You will not feel like you are on a tour, but out with a group of new friends discovering hidden Maya treasures. A Landrover ride through the jungle, over a 4WHDR road. A short hike to the caves.Incredible/beautiful/mystical/mysterious caving. Good food, and ice cold beer, or whatever you like when we get back. What is missing? We have only recently decided to share this trip with our clients. It is a special place, that we think some should experience. Decide to be one of the few that, "take the time" to visit and experience Actun Chapat and Actun Halal.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
on a plane somewhere
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Spectacular ! Once in a lifetime adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2011

Ken and Roy were great guides during our day-long trip through the cave. The jungle is beautiful, and the cave remains a well preserved historical treasure. Bring sturdy boots/shoots, water, and lots energy. And be prepared for many "wow" moments. Thank you Ken and Roy for an adventure of a lifetime !

Visited December 2010
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20 reviews from our community

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English first
San Ignacio, Belize
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Overused phrase, but... Actun Chapat is a "must see" in Cayo”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2011

We heard about Actun Chapat Cave several years ago, but always put off going, as I was a little nervous about descending into the depths of the earth, especially in such a remote location. So, the first thing I must say is, guides Ken and Roy were extraordinarily helpful and solicitous every step of the way, providing assistance when needed to get over, under, and around the few difficult spots.

All during our hike, we were regaled with anecdotes by our guides, and filled to bursting with information about everything from ancient Maya history, local flora and fauna, previous visits by archaeologists and scientists, to the need for extreme care in preserving Actun Chapat's relics.

We started our adventure early in the morning, and finished in time for dinner in Benque Viejo... it was a perfect day that we'll never forget, as long as we live.

We were issued hard hats with strap-on head lamps, and carefully guided on our long journey through an incredible wonderland of majestic stalactites, towering stalagmites, flowing curtains of stone, and amazing signs of ancient Maya habitation and use as a ceremonial facility.

Highlight of the trip was seeing Gandalf the Gray, a stone formation that did resemble the old bearded wizard.

Definitely bring your camera, and wear sturdy hiking boots... this isn't a place for sandals.

Visited December 2010
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder
Level Contributor
49 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“See it now, before it's famous!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2011

Visiting Actun Chapat Cave is a great adventure. When we went, the theme song from Indiana Jones kept running through my head.
The cave is on land owned by Ken Dart and tours are arranged though his Belizean Sun Tours agency. Ken is passionate about protecting and sharing his cave. You WILL get instructed on how to behave underground, and need to take it to heart. Caves and archeological sites are fragile and irreplaceable- don't mess them up!
We met at his headquarters in the village of San Juan Succotz, about 5 miles from San Ignacio. We had a car and drove ourselves from Bullet Tree Falls, but I assume he could arrange for lodge pick-ups. The trip then proceeds with a wild thirty minute 4 wheel drive Land Rover ride through the jungle. I expected this to be kind of boring, but it was actually a lot of fun trying to hang on! For a gentler ride ask for one of the inside seats. One of our 10 year olds did and took on the job of warning us of upcoming hazards. The ride ends in a peaceful clearing where howler monkeys are sometimes sighted. We heard but unfortunately didn't see any.
The hike to the cave is on a narrow jungle track, mostly level, with a few gentle uphills. You actually go to Actun Halal Cave first, which is more of a shelter cave. It has two entrances, is lit by natural light and contains the remains of several Mayan stone walls. I didn't really hear all the details, as I was busy peeking into all the little crawlways leading off the main passage... Regardless, makes a nice break in the hike.
A few more minutes in the jungle and you approach the entrance of Actun Chapat. The cave itself is still being actively explored, but already has several miles of known passage. The passages are HUGE, 50 plus feet high, and often wider, carved by rivers long ago. The walking can be uneven, but was never particularly difficult. There are no water passages, which is great for rainy times, as Chapat stays accessible.
One of the best aspects of visiting AC is that it's a personalized trip, so we went to as many parts of the cave as possible- and there are many wonderfully decorated areas. Mayan artifacts are everywhere, mostly pot sherds as well as some larger pot rims, etc. Some of the rooms contain skulls and bones, which I found both fascinating and disturbing. Haunting even. I still can't help thinking about the families of the victims...
Anyway, we got suitably tired and made our way back to the truck where we enjoyed a meal of chicken burritos in the howler clearing. Thought about enjoying a Belikin or two, but stuck to water since I'd soon be driving back towards San Ignacio.
Actun Chapat is still off the beaten track, although I don't think it'll stay that way forever. Visiting is definitely more adventurous than going to Caves Branch or ATM, so may not appeal to everyone. But the reward is seeing a wilder cave, without the feeling that your every step is scripted and controlled. It was one of the highlights of our Belize trip and voted 'best cave in Belize' by our 2 ten year olds. And we went to a bunch- ATM, Jaguar Paw/Caves Branch, Blue Creek and Tiger (Toledo district.) Can't wait to go back and visit again!

Visited March 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Ignacio, Belize
Level Contributor
245 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
“Amazing cave: Actun Chapat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2011

Yes, very amazing! I've been lucky enough to have gone numerous times to see Actun Chapat and Actun Halal. Actun Chapat is an amazing cave, and has some huge chambers in it. Having been to both Chapat and ATM, I would think that ATM could easily fit in some of the chambers in Chapat.

The adventure starts out in a Land Cruiser going south of Succotz, which is 10 minutes from San Ignacio, for around 7 miles until you come to the end of the road, which is on Belize Sun Tours property. You then do some wild nature hiking, and come upon the minor cave Halal. You get to hear some great history of the cave.

Hiking a little bit more brings you to the main opening of Chapat. The opening is huge, and there are no tight squeezes. You go in around half a klick, and get to see how the water table has really filled up the cave in the past. There are some relics that you'll be shown along the way. Cave formations abound!

You eventually come to the second opening, which is above your head. Apparently the cave collapsed there, allowing sun to come in. I haven't heard yet if they will offer repelling in through that opening in the times I've gone. Near that opening is some amazing offshoots where you'll see huge stalagtites and flowstone. Take a camera!

There is a lake in the cave, and if the time of year is right, you can tube across it for some more exploring. We saw albino crabs and shrimp deep in the cave, and there were plenty of cool bats flying overhead. I can only assume the cave goes many miles back, and that there are more undiscovered openings due to the bats there. Can't wait to explore there again!

I'd recommend this for anyone who loves caves, hiking, and exploring.

Visited September 2010
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belize
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Totally Awesome experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2011

The day trip I took to Actun Chapat was one of the highlights of my life. Just getting to the cave parking area was an adventure. A ride through the Belizean jungle in the back of a Land Rover. The sites, the sounds, the smells, the bumps in the road. Having to stop to move felled trees made for an exciting beginning to the day. Once there, it was only a short walk to get tot he cave. Once inside: WOW! We wandered through from cavern to cavern, eating lunch under the sink hole. It was well worth the time and money spent and will definately go again the next time I am in Belize.

Visited May 2010
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