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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 120
OP Offline
There's a pretty good group coming to AC in Sept and we've been reading/seeing about the tours of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) caves near San Ignacio. Is it feasible/reasonable to do that as a day trip from AC or does it take too long to really make it worthwhile. Any guidance is appreciated.

I did see other posts but couldn't determine an answer to my AC related question. Thanks in advance.


Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 770
First let me say that ATM cave is not really "near" San Ignacio.

It's not near to anything.

Second let me say that ATM cave is "worthwhile" from any distance regardless of any amount of time needed to do it.

There were only 6 licensed guides in Belize for ATM last year when we experienced it.

The ceremonial / sacrifice area is so unbelievable. I lack the writing skills to to even begin to do it any justice.

E-mail [email protected] if you want to see the photos I have. Unfortunately most of the photos I have are not mine as my camera batteries crapped out on me during the first portion of the hike after lugging all my camera equipment and water proof bags through the jungle.

2,000 year old pots and human remains just sitting there in the wide open. No guards, no glass boxes, just your guide and your small group. INCREDIBLE !!!!!!!!!!!!

Future full time Belizeans
Tommy & Sonia Blackledge
Magee, MS 601-849-1918
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,046
On practicalities, there is only a handful of operators who run the trip, mostly based out of San Ignacio. What I've arranged in the past is for people to fly from SP to the Municipal airstrip on the first flight of the day at 7am. They're met there by a car or minibus and driven up just past Belmopan on the San Ignacio road to the village of Teakettle, which is where they turn off the road and head south towards the mountains on a variety of dirt tracks. Maybe 1.5-2 hours total driving.

Eventually the tracks peter out and you take to foot through the bush, fording a couple of shallow rivers until you get to the pool at the exit to the underground river. Then you walk and occasionally swim up stream. There are some practical tips you will need, so post for those nearer the time.

As Tommy says, the experience is out of this world. I don't know anyone who's done it who hasn't been in raptures over it, and found it to be the high point of their entire Central American adventure.

If you go over the maps available on this board you'll find some which show just where it is.

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 837
Absolutely the best experience I have ever had in Belize and worth staying in the San Ignacio area for at least a night or two.

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,206
I echo these guys - we are middle aged and felt lucky to have experienced (survived may be too strong of a word), but seriously you need to be in decent shape and not have any phobias about heights /swimming/ enclosed spaces. It is a spectacular and very special (not canned) excursion. We loved it and would recommend it highly....

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
I was told recently by an ATM guide that there are now about 30 ATM-certified guides in Belize.

--Lan Sluder

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,748
There is a day trip available from San Pedro for just under $300 USD which includes your airfare over and back, the guided tour, lunch, etc.

PM me and I can look up the tour guide's name and number for you.

Change your Latitude
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461

Belize based travel specialist
[email protected]
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 395

Moose Keep an open mind and something good may fall in.

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