Caye Caulker, Belize Cave Exploration
Cave tubing and a visit to the Belize Zoo will bring you face-to-face with Belize’s incredible outdoors. First you’ll visit the Belize City Zoo, which is known for its rehabilitation programs for endangered animals. Then you’ll head to the Caves Branch River, where you will ride on an inner tube through the ancient caves of the Maya
Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is the doorway to Xibalba, the Maya underworld. This cave contains ceramics and human skeletons that have fused with the walls of the cave. The most famous of these remains is the Crystal Maiden, a skeleton of a young woman believed to have been a sacrifice. Her bones are now partially covered with the sparkling build-up of cave sediment.
This tour will bring you to the top of a Maya temple, and then to the entrance of the Maya underworld. The temple is inside the Maya city of Xunantunich, which is located near the border of Guatemala. Its name translates to “Maiden of the Rock.” After you ascend the walls of its temple, you’ll continue the tour to the Cave Branch River, where you’ll follow the river into a series of caves that had intense spiritual significance for the Maya.
On this tour, you’ll get to see two very different Maya sites. The first, Xuanantinuch, is the ruins of a compact but impressive Maya city. Here visitors can stroll around multiple plazas and temples. At the nearby Barton Creek Cave, you’ll see a cave that served as an entrance to Xibalba, the Maya underworld.
In the Nohoch Che'en Archaeological Reserve, the winding Caves Branch River flows underground through ancient caves, once traveled through and even inhabited by the Maya. Just an hour from Belize City and a half hour from Belmopan is The Outpost, a well-stocked base camp for cave tubing and zipline-riding in the midst of this history-rich area.