ATM is an absolute must-do if you're in Belize. I did my tour through Pacz and thought that their guides did an excellent job. Just understand that this is an active tour and not for the faint-of-heart. It takes about 45-minutes just to drive to the site (the ride gets EXTREMELY dusty), 45-minutes to hike to the entrance of the cave and you will be inside the cave for several hours.
Here are a few of my recommendations: #1 Do NOT apply insect repellant or sunscreen before your trip to ATM. For starters, you really won't need it but most importantly you should know that the farmers and people who live in the area rely on the water flowing through ATM for their drinking/cooking, showering and for use on their crops. Insect repellant and sunscreen contain chemicals which will contaminate the water. #2 I personally would discourage you from taking your backpack with you on the hike. Once you get to the entrance of the cave you have to completely empty your pockets and leave everything behind. The only thing you need is your food. You're much better off leaving your bag with one of the guides who stays with the van. #3 Be careful when crossing all three creeks. The water level isn't high but the river rocks can be extremely slippery. There were several times when I almost slipped and fell. #4 If you can afford it, I would highly recommend a waterproof case for your camera. I use C camera company which makes hard cases for its entire model line. It's about as expensive as the camera itself but worth every penny. I was able to take pictures along the hike that no one else could because their cameras had to be sealed in a waterproof bag carried by the guides. #5 I highly recommend water shoes. I had purchased a $20 pair of scuba shoes several years ago to go canyoneering in Costa Rica and it turned out to be a perfect investment. The scuba shoes have a rubber sole so I could both walk and hike between the cave and outdoors, not to mention the fact that they were closed toe. #6 You have to swim several yards into the entrance of the cave. Not a big deal if you know how to swim, but if you can't there are no life vests provided. #7 You are instructed when not to touch certain formations because the oils from your hand will kill its growth. #8 Someone recommended I put my dry socks in my helmet and it was perfect. Once my group got to the chamber and were instructed to remove our shoes, my socks were dry and kept my feet warm while everyone else had to squish around in their wet socks. #9 One of the coolest experiences came when we were leaving the cave. At a certain point we were instructed to form a human chain and turn off all of our headlamps. One of our guides then led us through the dark until we arrived at the lone area of the cave where you saw natural sunlight. My heart was beating in my chest but it made for a memorable moment. #10 Don't be afraid of ATM because it's truly a remarkable experience. You will get wet, be in the dark and have to climb up and down extremely tight spaces but it's all part of the adventure. There are reviews from people old and young with different skill levels. If they raved about how magnificent it was, you can do it too.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.