5 Spellbinding Reasons To Visit The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave

Table of Contents

  1. Residency of the Gods
  2. Absorb the history of the ancient Maya as you venture the path they once did.
  3. Intersect the presence of the past in the present: The Crystal Maiden
  4. Adventure, Adventure, Adventure
  5. Have Transformative Experience in Belize

Located in the lush Mountain Tapir Reserve, the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave is a must-do expedition in Western Belize. Enjoy a drive through the twin towns of San Ignacio & Santa Elena as you head towards an Indiana Jones-certified adventure. Prepare to enter the Gods’ residency, absorb the ancient Mayas’ history, witness the crystal maiden’s skeletal remains, and have a transformative experience in Belize.

Residency of the Gods

Entrance of ATM Cave

Adventuring has called, and a trip to the residency of the Gods awaits. The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, ATM for short, manifests Belize’s magnetism. In Belize expeditions to the ancient Mecca grounds of the Maya have always been a must, and the ATM cave is no exception. The country’s unique location allows it to be a base for inland exploration and coastal relaxation.

Absorb the history of the ancient Maya as you venture the path they once did.

walking through the wet cave at actun tunichil muknal atm cave

The ancient Maya left traces of their grand civilization throughout Belize, and the Mundo Maya, the ground we walk on, was once their main domain. They claimed the jungle as theirs, rivers as a source of life, and caves as a source of spiritual connection. Caves were essential to the ancient Maya, they considered them to be portals to the Gods. Entering a cave meant entering the residency of the Gods. One enters with a mission and must show reverence.

All over Belize many caves have been found with traces of human occupancy, and the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave is no exception; the name means “Cave of the Stone Sepulcher” interesting, isn’t it? The name seems to come straight out of a Hollywood adventure movie, maybe Tom Holland’s  film “Uncharted,” perhaps. Let the following reasons help you decide.

Intersect the presence of the past in the present: The Crystal Maiden


Be an ambassador of the present in the past, much like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider but without Hollywood intervention. Sounds fun, am I right? The ATM cave is 5 kilometers deep (roughly 3 miles) of skyless adventure. However, travellers are only allowed to venture through about 3.5 kilometers; there’s only so much reality that can confront Hollywood. Over 1400 artifacts found in the cave among them: ceramic pottery, water vessels, tools, and weapons that have been dated to about AD 250-909.

The most compelling artifacts have to be the human remains in the various chambers. Fourteen complete skeleton remains have been found, but the most stunning has to be the famous “Crystal Maiden.” A male’s crystalized skeleton has been fused to the cave floor by the water running over the remains causing a crystal coating of brown calcite to form over the bones. Not all skeletons shimmer or are infused to the cave floor, but they all have stories to tell. So far, a trip to Belize and an adventure to the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave feel more compelling than any Indiana Jones adventure. Don’t you think so?

Adventure, Adventure, Adventure


After immersing yourself in this powerful read, you might think, when do I get to feel like the iconic Indiana Jones or Lara Croft? Do I get to wear cool gear? We promise adventure and safety, so no jumping off into the unknown, but yes, to rock climbing onto higher chambers, swimming in current cold waters, and walking through stunning shimmering walls using flashlights only. Peaked your adventure antennas, didn’t we? Let’s visually venture into this journey. You get to wear cool gear, a sturdy helmet with your headlight, and a life jacket, no whips; Indiana Jones might use this, but it might keep you back, plus Mayas didn’t use them so why should we? No boots though, just water shoes or sneakers, boots on water bodies don’t mesh well; ask Harrison Ford.

This adventure isn’t done alone, thankfully! Yes, we heard that sigh of relief; it’s conducted with a certified guide who shares all the inside insights of the cave, the environment, and history. Our adventure experts are narrators to help guide the protagonist (you) through this escapade. No one likes the protagonist’s death at the movie’s end.

Have Transformative Experience in Belize

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We had fun with Tom Holland, Lara Croft, and Indiana Jones in this little piece. How about you? Hollywood sells us visual adventures in space and the future, but Belize presents transformative experiences. A venture into the Actun Tunichil Muknal allows a change of perspective, shift from movies to reality, and gain an authentic vision of the ancients’ world. The Lodge at Chaa Creek in Belize is the perfect movie set for your Hollywood-like vacation. Our reservations team, the ideal managing team, setting up all tours to perfection, and our adventure connoisseurs are the excellent narrators for your movie. How will you name your visit to Belize, Chaa Creek, and the ATM cave?

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