Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre) is one of the most popular Maya ceremonial caves in Western Belize and has been featured in National Geographic Adventure Magazine. It was named after the sacrificial chamber within the cave where the remains of a young woman were found, the bones of which have been completely covered by calcite from drip water, leaving them with a sparkling appearance. Fourteen burials have been found inside the cave and 1,400 objects including skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware left by the ancient Maya have been cataloged. The cave also contains two slate stelae in front of which Maya elites would cut themselves with obsidian blades to collect their blood as an offering to the gods.
The 45 minute hike from the starting point to the cave entrance includes three stream crossings and passes through the 6,700 acre Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. This adventure is challenging and a good level of physical fitness is required. The ability to swim is a plus as again you must cross Roaring Creek at three points and swim into the cave.