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“ATM Cave with the legendary Carlos Panti!”

Actun Tunichil Muknal
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Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves from San Ignacio
Ranked #1 of 70 things to do in Cayo
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This remote cave is filled with relics left over from the Mayans.
Austin, TX
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“ATM Cave with the legendary Carlos Panti!”
Reviewed April 15, 2010

Hello all,

I just got back from a trip to Belize with my wife and felt obligated to let other travelers know what an exceptional time we had, thanks to a few very special locals.

Carlos Panti was our guide through ATM cave, and his knowledge of Mayan religion, history and mythology, in addition to endemic botany, geology, and wildlife is second to none.

I would have NEVER expected to have been treated to such a great time in his company, and I can quite honestly say that despite all the wonderful things we saw in Belize, it was the multiple nights we spent in the company of Carlos and his brother Eddy and fellow guide extraordinaire Gonzo that made the trip what is was.


Make the best decision for your Belize vacation and give this guy a call!

If you want to ask me any personal question about my experience at ATM or about Carlos, please feel free to email me at cyandin@gmail.com, as I am NOT a bot or a fake poster! :-)

6 Thank belizeaddict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
100 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Awesome Experience”
Reviewed March 8, 2010

You must do this tour if you are in Belize. We used Hun'Chiik Tours out of San Ignacio. Cost was $80 US/pp. The hike to the cave is about 45 minutes but very easy. You don't need to be in that great of shape for the tour, but if you weigh over 250lbs, you probably won't fit thru som of the tight spaces.

3 Thank cs3r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
78 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Best of Belize”
Reviewed February 22, 2010

In my opinion the ATM cave is the no.1 must-see of inland Belize. Here you can get the feeling of discovering something totally new, as the cave is almost in original condition. There are no lights, handrails, signs or glass displays, which would be the case if this cave would be situated anywhere in the US or Europe.

You have to cross the river 3 times, and much of the around one-mile walk in the cave is in water, so take some good trekking shoes or Keens. As long as the weather is warm, you will be fine with changing to dry clothes only when back at the van. The guide (which is obilgatory) will provide headlamps, and carries a water-proof bag where you can pack your camera, and maybe a dry t-shirt to change to after the cave.

4 Thank Jubjab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“awesome caving adventure!”
Reviewed February 20, 2010

Firstly, we traveled in a group of 6 people in our mid 20s. We found out about this place from Lonely Planet and booked a tour with PACZ tours ($75pp). We had a rental car and drove to meet with PACZ tours at the sign off the Western Hwy at 9am. From there it was another 20min drive to get to the parking site where they had us bring our small bookbags to carry our lunches and helmets with lights to hold on to. The hike itself crosses 3 mild rivers, the highest of which came to my mid-thigh (I'm 5'2" if that helps). We crossed the 1st river two minutes into the trip so expect to be completely wet for the entire duration. It took about 30 min to get to a small picnic table area where the only facilities are nature and a questionable outhouse that my guide Oscar didn't recommend. We left our bags hanging in the picnic area. The guide was carrying a waterproof backpack to carry the small things we didn't want to leave behind such as an inhaler, $ and non-waterproof cameras to use for the dry part of the tour. We walked down to the mouth of the cave which is literally just down the hill.

The mouth of the cave is freshwater and blue-green, probably about 20 ft across? For all the non-swimmers, I'd recommend either asking for a lifevest ahead of time or for the weaker swimmers, do what the people in my group did and hang on to a strong swimmer as you propel yourself. Oscar told us the water is about 15 feet deep. Once you're inside the cave, it's several hours of being walking through anywhere from ankle deep to chin deep in cool water and climbing rocks and squeezing through small crevices. To get from the "wet" to the "dry" cave entails scurrying up a large rock onto a platform, then up another ladder to see what the cave is renowned for. Btw, we come back the same way so all that climbing up = climbing down when we're turning back. After another swim across the mouth to get out, we had lunch that PACZ tours provided which included a small chicken sandwich, a small bag of plantain chips, a slice of watermelon, a mini Snickers and a bottle of water. For the guys in our group, they ate some Clif bars I'd brought with me. Then it's another 30min hike back to our cars. All in all, I think the trip took us 8 hours. I absolutely LOVED it!!

- wear closed toe shoes with good grip ie. sneakers you were thinking of throwing away or closed toe Tevas because you do not want to stub your toes on these rocks
- you must bring a pair of socks to wear into the dry part
- bring a waterproof flashlight, the lights on our helmets are not for seeing into distance but for lighting your next step, otherwise the guide will be bringing his light
- bring a waterproof camera if you have one, if not you can ask the guide to carry a normal one until the dry part
- bring a towel and a change of clothes to leave in the car
- use a lifevest if you can't swim
- ask for vegetarian lunch if you are vegetarian
- put DEET on your arms if you're wearing short sleeves, your legs won't matter because they'll always be getting wet

7 Thank supernova10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“ATM, "down here its our time, our time"”
Reviewed February 7, 2010

This place was awesom and it felt super Goonie, We went with PACZ tours and our guide was really good, he took it very seriously and made sure that we were taking care not to disturb any of the artifacts. Getting to the cave entrance is a cool walk through the forest with a couple of river crossings, when you get to the mouth of the cave you get pretty pumped cause it looks so cool and inside is a mind melter, at least for me it was, the cave formations and wading through the water was such a cool experience! This was one of the coolest things we did in Belize and PACZ tours was really helpful, we were transfering to another hotel that evening and PACZ arranged to drop our bags off there for us so we wouldnt have to lug them around all day. Cool folks and a great time.

3 Thank shanelea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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