Caving... How many of you have had a view like this?
This is the lost world at the Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
BELIZE'S CAVE SYSTEM
Belize's Cave Systems are among the most extensive in the world and have only been explored recently, even though chicleros and mahogany hunters had seen them. Research actually began in the 1960's. I can recall that at the invitation of the first forestry/tourist committee under Minister Alexander Hunter, I had the pleasure to join a large official committee to visit many of these caves such as; Las Cuevas, Rio Frio and others. Since then, more than 300 caves have been explored and some 150 miles passages mapped. These include the famous Cebada and Petroglyph Caves, two of the largest caves in Central America and highly rated in the world. The most spectacular cave system is the Chiquibul, west of the Maya Mountains. A National Geogra-phic expedition found these caves to be the longest cave system in Central America, with over 60 miles of underground passages that run all the way into Guatemala.
Many of Belize's caves remain unexplored. Western Belize, mostly in the Cayo District, have many caves that today are opened to the public, as tourist attractions. For example; Rio Frio cave, in the Mountain Pine Ridge, has a massive entrance and a cathedral like dome. Barton Creek Cave, also in the Mountain Pine Ridge is a water cave explored by canoe. Chechem Ha Cave, is west of San Ignacio, is noted for its human remains. Cebada, in the Chi-quibul Forest, is the largest cave in Belize, with many unexplored caverns. Blue Hole, near St. Herman's Cave, is a collapsed sink-hole. The Caves Branch Cave System like Black Hole, FootPrint, Waterfall and Petroglyph are yet to be fully explored. The Blue Creek Cave system or Ho Keb Ha in the Toledo District are yet to be fully explored. All these underground caves contain large deposits of water which feed most of our rivers 411 year around.
by Hector Silva
Photograph courtesy Caves Branch
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