Caves in Belize were used extensively by the ancient Maya and today provide an exhilarating experience for the first-time caver or the experienced spelunker.
There are thousands of caves in Belize, all part of an extensive underground cave network throughout much of southern and western Belize. These offer varying degrees of accessibility and adventure.
While some have cavernous openings and are lit by rays from the sun, exploration may require hiking, wading through water, floating on an inner tube, swimming, canoeing, climbing over, under, or through rock formations, using ropes and “bush” ladders, rappelling, and squeezing through narrow openings.
In most caves you will find extensive stalactite and stalagmite formations and pottery shards, while others house secrets of the past including intact pottery (Che Chem Ha) and human remains (sometimes intact skeletons, such as in Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave) and other natural formation such as underground waterfalls (Blue Creek, Caves Branch).
Proper equipment in the form of headlamps, spare batteries, hiking-well treaded boots or tennis, drinking water, and light snacks are essential–along with the services of an experienced caving guide. For those who are professional spelunkers and would like to conduct research, permission from the Institute of Archaeology is required.
Today, guided tours of the caves throughout Belize are one of the highlights on many vacationers’ lists!