Exploring Belize's Caves through Hidden Valley

Caving adventures in Belize run the gamut of interest.  For the most part, the cave tours in Belize take visitors inside the mountains where giant domes and vast and open cathedrals of space are the chambers of our underground.  There are walking tours through picturesque caverns and watery tours that float  you deep inside Xibalba (the underworld of the Mayan spiritual tree of life).

From Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve visitors can access Belize’s most popular cave tours, from the mild to the wild.

Barton Creek Cave Canoeing Expedition

One of Belize’s more unique caving expeditions is right at our backdoor.  The Barton Creek Cave is entered via canoe, so visitors can enjoy the thrill of exploring underground by way of river without getting wet.

Like many of the caves explored here in Belize, Maya artifacts including skeletal remains of human sacrifice can be seen and beautiful rock and crystal formations give visitors an appreciation for the beauty of the underground. 

This cave tour is an excellent opportunity to photograph the beauty of these underground cathedrals.

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM)

This is a tour for the bit more adventurous.  You must be able to swim, you should also be relatively fit.  This cave was discovered in the 1980’s and opened for managed tourism in the 1990.  It was popularized on National Geographic Television and is probably the most famous cave tour in Belize.

The tour begins with a 45-minute hike into the jungle.  With headlamps, visitors enter by way of a 10 meter swim across  a deep turquoise pool, followed by a small, wet scramble up a rock.  The tour is walking and swimming through passageways that can be narrow and a little harrowing …particularly in the dark, but this lends to the thrill.

Inside the ATM cave, sculpted stalactites and stalagmites, pottery from the ancient Maya, artworks and the skeletal remains of human sacrifice can be seen.  The ATM cave holds archeological and historical significance in that it provides insight to psyche of the Maya in their decline.

Rio Frio

A beautiful cave and “soft” adventure located near to Hidden Valley Inn in the Mountain Pine Ridge area.  A trip to Rio Frio is usually combined with a tour to Caracol Ruins and Rio On Pools. 

The Rio Frio is a beautiful cave is just a half a mile long, so natural daylight helps illuminate this tour.  The cave dome is the largest found to date in Belize and its massive entrance makes this “easy”cave tour accessible for most.  During the dry season you can walk across the entire cave and out the other end. It is a great spot for photography.

Cave Tubing

One of the most popular tours in Belize is cave tubing.  It is offered through several different cave systems in a variety of tours.  Typical tours include some hiking, but there are a few tours where visitors just float through the underground rivers past window-like openings that provide views of the jungle.  Some tours access deeper rivers and areas where Maya ceremonies took place.

The most exciting part of the tour is undoubtedly is leaving the window of the cave’s mouth to float into the echoing darkness and cool of the cave.  Flipping headlamps on, the group bands together to explore the underworld, which is filled with artifacts, beautiful formations, rivers, pools and falls.

Cave tours vary in level of difficulty, length of time and archeological interest.  Hidden Valley is here to help you determine what tour is right for you.


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