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Review of ATM Cave Tour

ATM Cave Tour
Ranked #1 of 52 Tours in Cayo
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Actun Tunichil Muknal “Cave of the Stone Sepulcher” or ATM Cave as it is locally known is located in the heart of the Belizean Rainforest. A 45 minutes hike to the cave, You will cross the Roaring River on three occasions and the return hike on that same trail. This cave offers a unique, eerie experience as it was once use by the Ancient Maya. It hosts a variety of skeletons, the most famous is the Crystal Maiden, ceramics and stone tools. This cave offers a unique, eerie experience as it was once use by the Ancient Maya. You will learn the history of this cave and the rituals that were conducted in the cave. From bloodletting to human sacrifice, and other rituals that occurred in the cave over one thousand years ago.
Reviewed December 30, 2013 via mobile

The ATM tour was absolutely amazing. A definite highlight of the trip to Belize and Oscar was a fabulous guide. Full of knowledge and passion for the Mayan culture.

Thank Hal H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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591 - 595 of 767 reviews

Reviewed December 16, 2013

I was anxious about this tour and did a lot of reserach prior. I am completely glad that I did it. It was life altering- in that it was physically challenging (mildly-though I can see how other people might be more challenged by the physical demands of climbing boulders and wading through deep waters ) and awe inspiring to view a piece of history-untouched. It was educational, fun, and challenging. I overcame my fear of ladders (or at least the fear of that ladder) and my group guide, Patrick from BZM was totally supportive the entire time. He was extremely knowledgeable, motivating, fun and funny. We had an amazing time. This was a once in a lifetime chance.

Thank klschutt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

We went on this excursion while in Belize for our honeymoon. It is an amazing experience, a jungle hike, then swimming through an underground river, ending with climbing to a cavern of crystal and Mayan artifacts. I would go back to Belize just to do this trip again. Since the cave is an archaeological site, you must go with an authorized tour. An exceptional experience, definitely find time to go while you are in the country!

Thank JesetJou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

This is an amazing place to visit! I can't recommend it highly enough!
Other reviewers have commented on the difficulties associated with this trip, and what they've said is accurate, but if I'd read them before I went I probably would have chickened out - I'm so glad I didn't! So here's my take on the tour:
You do need to be able to swim to do this tour but you don't need to be an athlete - if you can do a lap of a 25m pool on your own, you should be fine.
The narrowest part of the entire tunnel (where you have to slide your neck through a small gap) is quite near the start. If you can cope with this part, you should be fine with the rest. Our guide said that he has had people freak out at this point, and he took them back to the entrance because it's not far, and then continued with the rest of the group. Also, this is not a long stretch of tight space - it's more like climbing through a fence, you're only in the tight spot for a few seconds. As you go along, there will be a few times that you have to climb under boulders but it is never long stretches of cramped spaces and with the exception of the first point everyone should find that they fit easily - you're not going to get stuck.
The cave itself is really high, a lot of the time it's hard to see the roof. I'm generally a bit scared of caves, but found this one easier than most because the roof was so high - it was almost like being outside at night.
The walk upstream in the water, whilst it sounds scary before you go, is actually pretty cool when you're doing it. The current wasn't that strong, and I swam a lot of it because that way I didn't have to worry about tripping over. And it was an easy swim, not a strenuous one, again if you're comfortable with a lap of a 25m pool this will be a piece of cake. The water was beautiful and the place incredibly peaceful. I think I enjoyed this part almost as much as the archeological site, it was great!!!
The climbing was a bit more intimidating for me - I don't like heights, but again it was very manageable. First you climb up a boulder, until you're about two meters in the air. It is an easy climb with plenty of things to hold onto and places to put your feet - our guide gave us very clear instructions ("put your left foot here, you're right hand here", etc). Then you walk up a steep slope before you take off your shoes (don't forget to bring some socks) and start seeing some of the really cool history. At the top, you find yourself in an amazing and beautiful cavern.
Later you climb a ladder, but if you made it this far, the ladder will be easy!
The one caveat I will put on all of this is that if you are not physically fit and able, you will struggle. There was a frail lady in her seventies doing the tour in the group in front of us (some seventy year olds are as hearty as when they were 50, but this woman wasn't). Whist I think she enjoyed the trip, she was obviously struggling a lot. Again, you don't need to be an athlete to do this tour, but you do need to be healthy and have all your limbs working properly. You will need to use your arms, and legs in ways that you don't normally, so they need to work.
Finally, whilst I can definitely understand why some people find this experience frightening, it is well worth the effort. For those sitting on the fence, I'd say DO IT, if there was ever a trip worth conquering your fears for, this is it!

One more tip - some of the rocks have clay in them, so make sure you wear old clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. Also make sure the clothes aren't going to restrict your movement.

2  Thank YC B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2013

A wondrous experience of a lifetime! So incredibly privileged to have been a part of this magical cave excursion led by the "caveman" himself, Carlos Panti. You will be left in an amazing trance for days thinking of what you have witnessed and hope it will never fade from your memory since that is all you will have; no cameras allowed. My extra two cents : bring a thick pair of sox or double up, you are required to remove your shoes on the last leg and there are areas that have sharp rocks. Even though Carlos will provide you a helmet with a mounted light, a waterproof flashlight will really give you an advantage, especially when you get to the great ballroom. I wore light cargo shorts with four pocket where I stored my socks and wore water shoes; had no problem maneuvering or swimming. Dexterity, agility and endurance play a major part in this adventure. I'm 5'8", 175lbs live an active lifestyle, had no problem keeping up or fitting through several of the very tight spots. Wear training gloves, I wish I would have had these, got my palms scratch up when I passed through a tight narrow where the water gushes through pushing you fast and instinctively you try to slow down using your hands on the rough rock wall. I hope to come here again and experience this with my brother.

1  Thank Pepecrusader70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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