Cave Explorations - Hideaways

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Cave Explorations

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave

Ranked as one of the Top 10 Caves in the world By the National Geographic Magazine, the cave trips starts with an hour and a half drive from Blancaneaux Lodge followed by a 40 minute trek through the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve to the Cave Entrance. ATM Cave is only recommended for those of an adventurous spirit who have a good level of fitness. The underground stream flows out of the cave entrance and it’s necessary to take a short swim into the cave (water depth is about 12 feet). About 3 hours is spent in the cave and it is necessary to squeeze through some tight spaces and climb over rocks to reach the different levels. The rewards are worth it. Two small carved stelae are located above the stream, one carved in the shape of an obsidian blade and the other a stingray spine. On the next level lies the cave’s most famous occupant, the crystal maiden, an ancient victim of ritual sacrifice probably from the Late Classic Period.


Departs: 7:45am
Returns: 4:30pm
Attire: Tennis shoe or water shoes, pair of socks, Swim shorts, T-shirt, and a dry change of clothing for the drive back. Swimsuits only are not allowed as it is a sacred cave.
Total travel time: 3.5 Hrs. Drive & 1.5 Hrs. Hiking
Must be over 11 years old and 48” tall.
Level of Difficulty: Moderate


Crystal Cave

Crystal Cave (also known as Mountain Cow Cave) is located in the St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park (about a 2-hr drive from Blancaneaux). When you arrive at the park, you will be given your equipment (helmets and headlights), and after a quick pit stop, you start a 1- hr hike: an easy 15-20 minute walk followed by a vigorous uphill walk. Good walking shoes are a must, and you should be prepared to get muddy and dirty. Although this is a dry cave, it is very dark, humid and muddy inside. At the entrance of the cave there is a steep decline where you will have to balance your way down or glissade on the loose soil for a few minutes. This is followed by some rappelling to get down into the belly of the cave. Passing through a small flat space, you enter the Fertility Chamber, where the guide spends about 10-15 mins explaining its importance. From here, you will be exploring for about 11⁄2 hours,
moving uphill on slick rocks, and using a lot of your upper body strength (Be prepared to be a little sore the next day). Inside the cave, there are many stalactites and stalagmites, broken pottery scattered around, bone fragments and even a collapsed skull. You reach a large open area/chamber where you can take a rest and have your snack and water. If you wish to continue further to “Wonderland”, you will continue on a 30 minute hike inside where you can see the crystalline formations glittering from your headlamps and formations clustered close together disappearing into the blackness. A reminder that before entering “Wonderland”, you will need to remove your shoes and either walk in socks or bare feet. Socks are preferred as the ground is uneven and a bit rough. After making your way back to the large chamber your guide will spend a few minutes with you in silence in total darkness.


Other notes: After exiting the cave, guests can change into their clean pair of clothes or head over to the Inland Blue hole for a quick refreshing dip before lunch. Without swimming you should be back at the property at around 5:00pm or approximately 6pm if swimming is included.

This tour can also be done en route to our sister property on the coast, Turtle Inn.


Departs: 7:00 am
Return: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Attire: Tees, preferred long cool pants, extra pair of socks, dry clothing for return, insect repellent, light snacks, and water in a backpack
Total travel time: 4 Hrs. Drive
Level of difficulty: Difficult. Must be physically fit as this is a strenuous, extreme activity.


Barton Creek Cave

An exciting canoe trip traveling almost two miles into a remote cave once used by the ancient Mayans as a burial site and for ceremonial purposes. The cave is adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. Mayan pottery shards and bones can be observed by the guide’s spotlights. En-route to the Cave you will drive through the traditional Mennonite village of Upper Barton Creek.


Departs: 8.00 am or 1.00 pm
Duration: 4 hours
Attire: Shorts, T-shirts, Flip flops or water shoe, waters and Cameras
Total travel time: 1.5 Hrs. Drive
Must be 48” tall
Level of Difficulty: Easy


Barton Creek Cave Tour With Intermedio Zipline

For those who wish to continue the day’s adventure there’s the option of Zip Lining on the drive back to Blancaneaux Lodge. The Intermedio Zipline is a 45 minute to an hour tour that offers 2,573 feet of line separated in 7 runs and 12 platforms. This tour includes a short 10 minute hike through the forest that includes crossing a hammock bridge and a hydraulic lift to the lines making your way back to where you started.

Departs: 8:00 am, Returns: 1:30 pm
Departs: 1:00 pm, Returns: 5:00 pm
Attire: Shorts, T-shirts, Flip flops or water shoe, waters and Cameras
Total travel time: 1.5 Hrs. Drive
Must be 48” tall
Level of Difficulty: Easy


Download Activities Rates Sheet (PDF)

Download Activities Sheet (PDF)