Actun Tunichil Muknal
Actun Tunichil Muknal
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This remote cave is filled with relics left over from the Mayans.
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  • Sheri T
    Morganton, North Carolina3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don’t Miss This!
    The ATM cave is a truly unique and incredible experience! The travel to get there was totally worth it. There is a nice and easy path through the sub- tropical rainforest. We were worried it would be sweltering and filled with mosquitoes but it was actually cooler than the beach and no bugs bothered us. The adventure really kicked in once you enter the cave. Swimming and wading through the cool, clear water was amazing and the stalagmite and stalactite formations are stunning. The history is fascinating and being that close to the skeletons and cultural remains is like being Indiana Jones for a day. Our guide, Jam-Jam (Jamiere) was so knowledgeable! If your looking for an adventure on your Belize vacation- this is it!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 17, 2023
  • Jessica Colindres
    Los Angeles, California10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) with Amazing Guide Jam Jam-Highlight of our Trip!
    This tour was, without a doubt, the highlight of my trip. Our guide, Jam Jam, made all the difference. He was patient, knowledgeable, and most importantly, he made us feel safe. Jam Jam walked us through every step of the tour, checking in with us to see how we were feeling, yet never making us feel weak or slow. He was enthusiastic about teaching us about the history and culture of the Maya civilization, and he made it fun. Even though I was initially anxious about how hard it was going to be, Jam Jam's guidance made it an enjoyable experience. We met at the Maya Walk Tour office and took a shuttle to the ATM site. During the drive, Hugh gave us a very detailed explanation of what was to come, which gave me peace of mind. If you're a worry wart like me, I suggest you take the shuttle to get all the details. Some people met us at the store on the corner of ATM didn't get the same information, such as when to expect getting wet, when to leave your water, when to change, and how long each section would take. Once we arrived at the site, we were able to take a water bottle with us up until we got inside the cave. At that point, we left it outside the cave. It was helpful to have a bottle that we could easily identify. The walk leading up to the cave was flat and easy. I wore cheap water shoes from Amazon and was comfortable both in and outside the cave. Shorts and a tank top were just fine. Don’t forget to bring socks for the part when you have to take your shoes off. After the tour, we were treated to a delicious lunch. Overall, it was a 10/10 experience, and I cannot recommend this tour enough. Jam Jam, if you ever see this, thank you from the bottom of my heart! The tour inspired me to continue to learn more about the Maya civilization. One side note: please remember to tip ALL your guides! They work hard to make your experience unforgettable.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 5, 2023
  • Nicole R
    Collierville, Tennessee7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing!!
    Amazing! I was a little nervous at first about the tight spaces and cold water but didn’t have any problems at all. You can’t go to Belize without seeing the ATM caves! Only bummer is you can’t take pictures but I totally understand the reasoning.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written October 15, 2023
  • KeriGreen
    Union Hall, Virginia30 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Must Do!!
    We used M&S Adventures out of San Ignacio. Our guide Renan is an original guide back to when the cave was first opened and his context, passion and knowledge of the history and culture of the Maya people is so moving. The tour was so amazing. We are mid-50’s and not necessarily in tip top shape- and while there were a few moments of pause (I don’t like heights) we managed quite well! I wore leggings and a tankini top which felt like the perfect combo for a day of being wet. Socks with water shoes are also key. Tip your guides! They work hard!
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written November 22, 2023
  • bamboochuck
    New Smyrna Beach, Florida2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique experience
    I visited the ATM cave in Belize in March 2000. Program didn’t allow date so far back. It was shortly after cave was opened to tourists. It was certainly not what I expected on an unknown, at the time, place to spend a relaxed vacation day. It wasn’t relaxed by any standard, but turned out to be one of the most exciting, adventurous days I could have imagined. Had no idea what the day was presenting me. I expected a short hike into a local cave. Instead, I ended up wading, swimming, climbing into an enchanted world of the past where artifacts, cave structures and skeletons were bountiful. Truly a wonderful, once in a lifetime, experience.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 19, 2024
  • roermobl
    Hampshire, United Kingdom97 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing experience
    Our visit was AMAZING. We couldn't believe how close you get to the artifacts, the cave is beautiful and very atmospheric, it didn't feel crowded (I think we were one of the earlier groups to go in), and our guide Basilio kept us safe and taught us lots about the cave and the Mayans who used it. It really was a once in a lifetime experience. A truly fascinating place. Regarding fitness levels, my husband and I walk 2-3 miles (on pavement) after work most days and are both a little overweight, and neither of us struggled. As for old injuries, I fractured my wrist (radial styloid, with associated soft tissue damage) about 10 months before we went and I was fine wearing just a light wrist support. For anyone worried about creepy crawlies, I only saw one scorpion spider (from quite far away).
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 17, 2024
  • Brad
    Albuquerque, New Mexico383 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent Mayan Cave Experience.
    Totally unique caving experience. There is a 45 minute walk/hike to the cave—each mile way, but it’s worth it. They, supposedly, only let in 175 people a day. The pottery, skeletal remains, formations, and adventure were fantastic. It is a long day.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written March 30, 2024
  • jclperipatetic47
    Boston, Massachusetts44 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Cave with Human Sacrifices: a Sad and Fascinating Story
    Actun Tunichil Muknal is amazing on many levels. Fording a river three times to reach its entrance and then swimming into a cave that gets increasingly dark is an experience beyond the everyday. My husband and I toured with Mayawalks and were lucky to have Hugh as our guide. Hugh is a font of knowledge about Mayan culture in general and about ATM in particular. My husband and I are on the older side (79 and 77) for adventures such as this one but we have remained active as we aged and were able to negotiate the water, the tight squeezes and the slippery rocks just fine with Hugh as our guide. The history of the cave with its human sacrifices was compelling. As a long drought set in, Mayans in the area tried to appease the rain god with various sacrifices with the final sacrifices being human. Hugh explained all of this in great detail. I highly recommend Mayawalks and consider yourself lucky if you get Hugh as your guide.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 5, 2024
  • Caroline C
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE
    THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE! Truly, one of the highlights of our week in Belize. It was like 2 adventures in 1—physically scaling the cave was really fun (plus the three river crossings), but culturally and historically was a whole different experience. We learned SO much, had a blast, and all thought it was just incredible.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written April 6, 2024
  • RasberryD
    24 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Incredible
    We did this tour in March 2024 with 2 adults and 2 kids aged 9&11. This was probably one of the single greatest things I have ever done on any trip, and I am fortunate to have travelled to many places. First off...if you do not go with River Rat and have Gonzo as your guide then you are not getting the experience that you deserve. He was above and beyond in every way. His knowledge is bar none when it comes to this cave and the history as well he knows the cave like the back of his hand.....so you may get to go in some areas that others don't know about. Just do yourself a favor and book with Gonzo at River Rat, you wont regret it. From the moment you start the hike the adventure begins. You are in rivers, swimming, rock climbing, spelunking....its the greatest adventure with the most beautiful reward of being able to see the relics left behind and having the privilege of being in the space of the Mayans. This is a must do for adventure seekers. I would recommend having some level of fitness and there is a lot of climbing and some swimming.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written April 8, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles923 reviews
Excellent
874
Very good
33
Average
8
Poor
5
Terrible
3

Sianin
Smithers, Canada173 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
ATM cave is well worth it if you are adventurous and don't mind being wet in a cave for hours. The natural beauty as well as the mayan history makes the trip something special. I was impressed with how well the guides managed their own groups and kept everyone out from other groups way. It is well orchestrated and I am amazed that the cave is still open to tourism. The guides all seem very knowledgeable and have a passion for the cave and its history and cultural importance.

You begin with a jungle walk to the cave opening and then you swim into the cave. You go through several passages of varying difficulty until you get to the first of the Mayan offerings. To get to the last part of the cave you will climb up onto a large boulder then onto a ledge where you are asked to remove your shoes,-socks make this part easier. As you continue , there are many more beautiful pots and calcified human remains. The final push takes you up a ladder to the crystal maiden (who it is now believed is actually a man). You return the same way you got there, climbing, swimming, bending etc.

You won't be dry until you are back outside and have changed or you have quick dry clothes.

No cameras are allowed in the cave which allows you to remain in the moment and protects all the artifacts and remains from further damage.
Written March 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rob O
Highland Park, IL18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022 • Couples
Yes, this is a must-do tour. Yes, parts of the tour may prove difficult for those unable to do basic climbing on unimproved terrain. Our guide (one of only a small number of guides licensed to perform the tours) was excellent, allowing his deep love and appreciation for the cultic history of the cave to really come out in his presentation. Although you can’t take a camera, our guide was kind enough to send us photos of a tour before cameras were banned so that we could at least have a visual memory of the various artifacts and formations. A truly special place that deserves to be visited far more than it does, but frankly I’m glad the foot traffic is limited. You get to share in a very special experience that ties to you ancient Mayan worship practices from over a thousand years ago.
Written December 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa S
Missoula, MT71 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021 • Friends
Wanna channel your inner Indiana Jones? If so, this trip is for you. Scale sparkling carbonate cave walls, clamber over rushing boulders, squeeze through watery crevices and tiptoe around pottery shards and preserved skeletons. Eddie inspired confidence in our group, ages 28-78, to make this physically demanding journey. The mammoth chambers covered with glistening formations led to an archaeologically rich site. This is the caliber of a World Heritage venue. if you only have time for one activity - this is it!
Written December 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DianeVan
Vancouver11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Renan was our guide for the ATM. I had not researched this activity as carefully as I usually do so the preparation Renan gave us before starting our journey was critical.

I am a very fit 65 year old woman. I am a proficient swimmer and hiking is my favourite activity. Hiking and swimming in a cave is a different story. Especially if you are swimming with hiking runners on.

The 45 min walk to the cave entrance was pleasant. The weather has warmed up considerably and the swim (across the first pool) was not at all scary. The two other crossings were easy.

Once in the cave, in addition to swimming we had to scramble over rocks, wedging ourselves into narrow openings, climb and wade. Renan told us where to put our feet and hands. He pointed out little obstacles. He told us stories including his personal experiences.

The relics we saw at the end of our journey in were astounding.

It was toward the end of the 2 1/2 hours in the cave that I realized how I could have panicked if not for Renan. I cannot recommend enough.

I highly recommend this amazing adventure especially if you can get Renan.
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cjlthehappytraveler
Santa Fe, NM66 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
This is one of the most extraordinary experiences I've had in Belize. I can't believe they let tourists in.
The hike in was about 45 minutes of flat walking through the jungle and 3 river crossings. In late February, the river flow was low so the walk across the river didn't require the ropes that were available for help crossing the rivers. There were no bugs.
Once you enter the cave, thanks to the stories and information from our amazing guide, it felt like we were entering the underworld and the experience was spooky, dark and beautiful. We proceeded to hike, climb rocks, wade through water, swim across dark pools of water and otherwise proceed more deeply into the cave system. There was a point at which we were required to remove our shoes and walk on socked feet on rises in the rocks (the bottom part of the rises was unexcavated dirt so you should be very careful when walking through there).
What you will see: Glittery stalactites and stalagmites, a skelton, a few skulls, hundreds of broken pots, huge caves, pools of fresh, flowing water.
What to bring: a bottle of water and nothing else.
What to wear: A spandex outfit like many others wore or a bathing suit with some quick dry shorts or pants, definitely bring sox and quick dry sandals or sneakers. I recommend wearing generous-sized shorts or pants because it is necessary to slide down rocks both in the water and out of the water and I think you'd otherwise scratch the back of your legs.
What not to bring: a phone, a camera, food, bug repellant, or anything else (leave it all at the parking lot). Tourists have dropped their phones on two of the 1500 year old skulls and the bones of the very old baby skeleton and permanently ruined them.
Written March 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jessica Colindres
Los Angeles, CA10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
This tour was, without a doubt, the highlight of my trip. Our guide, Jam Jam, made all the difference. He was patient, knowledgeable, and most importantly, he made us feel safe.

Jam Jam walked us through every step of the tour, checking in with us to see how we were feeling, yet never making us feel weak or slow. He was enthusiastic about teaching us about the history and culture of the Maya civilization, and he made it fun. Even though I was initially anxious about how hard it was going to be, Jam Jam's guidance made it an enjoyable experience.

We met at the Maya Walk Tour office and took a shuttle to the ATM site. During the drive, Hugh gave us a very detailed explanation of what was to come, which gave me peace of mind. If you're a worry wart like me, I suggest you take the shuttle to get all the details. Some people met us at the store on the corner of ATM didn't get the same information, such as when to expect getting wet, when to leave your water, when to change, and how long each section would take.

Once we arrived at the site, we were able to take a water bottle with us up until we got inside the cave. At that point, we left it outside the cave. It was helpful to have a bottle that we could easily identify. The walk leading up to the cave was flat and easy. I wore cheap water shoes from Amazon and was comfortable both in and outside the cave. Shorts and a tank top were just fine. Don’t forget to bring socks for the part when you have to take your shoes off.

After the tour, we were treated to a delicious lunch. Overall, it was a 10/10 experience, and I cannot recommend this tour enough. Jam Jam, if you ever see this, thank you from the bottom of my heart! The tour inspired me to continue to learn more about the Maya civilization.

One side note: please remember to tip ALL your guides! They work hard to make your experience unforgettable.
Written August 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RasberryD
Toronto24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We did this tour in March 2024 with 2 adults and 2 kids aged 9&11.

This was probably one of the single greatest things I have ever done on any trip, and I am fortunate to have travelled to many places.

First off...if you do not go with River Rat and have Gonzo as your guide then you are not getting the experience that you deserve. He was above and beyond in every way. His knowledge is bar none when it comes to this cave and the history as well he knows the cave like the back of his hand.....so you may get to go in some areas that others don't know about. Just do yourself a favor and book with Gonzo at River Rat, you wont regret it.

From the moment you start the hike the adventure begins. You are in rivers, swimming, rock climbing, spelunking....its the greatest adventure with the most beautiful reward of being able to see the relics left behind and having the privilege of being in the space of the Mayans.

This is a must do for adventure seekers. I would recommend having some level of fitness and there is a lot of climbing and some swimming.
Written April 8, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kathryn H
13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
A once in a lifetime experience. I cannot recommend going to the ATM cave enough. It was magical! If you are very unfit or claustrophobic I wouldn’t go. It does involve swimming, climbing and tight spots.

The caves are stunning. The rocks and pebbles in the water are so colorful adding to the beauty. The water is crystal clear. I’ve never been to a place where you are inches from thousand plus year old artifacts in their natural setting.

Bring water shoes. Bring a pair of socks to change into. Enjoy every moment.
Written April 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Keiko M
Edmonton, Canada5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
It was amazing if you are in shape and adventurous. You must be able to hike 45 minutes (easy hike), swim in cold/deep water, fit through tiny spaces and climb up rocks. It is not an easy day, you will be out on the trek without food and water for 4ish hours. The guides are AMAZING though and the caves are incredible. It has everything from history, rainforest and exploring.

Would highly recommend, there is nothing like it in the entire world. It is safe but make sure you check in to this to make sure it is something that you are physically able to do.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sunshinelpc
Toronto, Canada1,078 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023 • Couples
What an amazing experience to combine hiking, crossing river, swimming/wading in the cave and zigzagging up seeing the mayan artifacts up and close!! It can be a challenge if you are claustrophobic or afraid of water ( the guide has life jacket). For sure it is a high physical activity. I support their policy not allowing anything in the cave to preserve the artifacts being damaged by careless tourists. ( though I do love to have a few pictures 🤣)
Wear old Tshirt/shorts or tights( as water can be cold) agua shoes/sandles for water part then a pair of socks for dry part of the cave if you can’t walk bare feet ( no shoes allowed only bare feet or socks) and dry clothes to change. Our guide is Hector and he is knowledgeable and funny.
Written March 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Actun Tunichil Muknal - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions about Actun Tunichil Muknal

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