Belize: Spelunk the Crystal Maiden Cave
The Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave in Belize’s Cayo District is an exciting place to travel to. It’s for those who are seeking an adventure that involves stream crossing and hiking. The ATM Cave is considered to be a sacred place to visit, and it’s also referred to as the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre because of the fourteen partial skeleton remains that can be found there.
The main attraction of the cave is the full skeleton of a teenage girl that is covered with crystals, and will sparkle beautifully from the light of your headlamp. It is dubbed as the crystal maiden who is believed to be 1,400 years old. According to archaeologists, the cave was used for spiritual practices by the Mayans.
Spelunking is a fit travel activity for the adventurous. Bear in mind the physical challenges that you will go through when spelunking. There are dangers, like trips and falls. If spelunking is one of the activities that you want to experience, travel to Belize and explore the ATM cave.
Getting to the cave requires a hike to the Tapir Mountain Reserve, through a jungle and three rivers. Afterwards, it will be a trip of about thirty minutes, where you will pass slippery and sharp edges, and water depths. Then as you go along, you will be passing calcite formations, some of which were sculpted by the Mayans hundreds of years ago. After you travel this distance, you will climb to a relatively flat area above the river, and from this point you will be walking on your bare feet.
As you progress the ATM cave, you will witness for yourself ancient potteries of different sizes. These artifacts are believed to be from the 1-1000 AD era. The most famous artifacts that can be found inside the caves are the human skeletons of adults and children believed to be offered as a sacrifice to their gods, and the most popular is the crystal maiden.
The only way to reach the final destination is to climb an aluminum ladder which is mounted on a rock formation. Therefore, if you are not after an extreme adventure, this activity is not for you.
Travel to Belize and experience another cave which will test your physical endurance. It will begin with a 50 minute walk through lush rainforest, and a walk on steep terrains. Then you will go down on a rope into the mouth of the crystal cave. You will pass through narrow passages in order to see the stalactites and stalagmites, massive crystal formations, fire pits, skeletons, and so much more. After exploring the crystal cave, you will travel back to where you started and you can opt to take a plunge at the Blue Hole.