(Actun Tunichil Muknal)
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave) is most famous as an ancient archaeological site, containing the skeletal remains of Maya human sacrifices, pottery, and other ancient artifacts. Visitors go bananas over the fully intact skeleton from around 700-900 AD that literally sparkles, thanks to time and science. You’ll hike to the location, wade across rushing rivers in waist-deep water, climb wet ladders inside a cave in just your socks, then enter a deep, dark hole in the side of a mountain because a tour guide told you to (and maybe pee yourself a little – but that’s okay!). This is one of the more difficult tours offered in Belize, but the effort is well-worth the experience. ***Warning: This is not a cave for young children, those not physically fit, with knee, hip or ankle problems or with problems with claustrophobia and or heights.
Bring: sunscreen, hat, swimsuit or wetsuit, sturdy shoes and socks, dry clothes, towel, souvenir cash
Approximate Tour Time: 6:30AM – 5:30PM
XUNANTUNICH (STONE MAIDEN)
AND Cave Tubing
Enjoy the orange groves, banana farms, and a view of the Maya Mountains during the scenic drive through the Hummingbird Highway. Once you cross into Western Belize, your journey takes you across the Mopan River on a hand-cranked ferry to reach the ancient site of Xunantunich. The reward for climbing to the top of El Castillo is a spectacular view of both the Cayo District and Petén, Guatemala. After your climb, it's time for lunch at a local restaurant before heading to St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. Here you can choose from an exhilarating cave-tubing experience through the intricate cave system or simply a refreshing dip at the inland Blue Hole.
Bring: bug spray, towel, bathing suit, dry clothes, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, camera, souvenir cash
Approximate Tour Time: 7:00AM – 5:30PM
Living Maya Experience & Nim Li Punit
The Living Maya Experience offers you an immensely enjoyable visit to a Mayan home in Big Falls Village. You will experience a traditional Mayan home, furnished with all natural materials, from Balsa wood benches to beds of tree bark. The Living Maya Experience is a must as the Kek’chi Maya culture is quickly disappearing. You’ll spend time in a Mayan home that offers a look back to a time when they depended on the land for everything from food to furniture to medicine. You’ll even get to help cook (and enjoy!) a traditional Maya meal. The traditional meal that will be served is chicken, prepared only with organic seasonings including recado, cilantro & culantro.
After lunch, visit Nim Li Punit. This Maya site is named for a carving found on the longest of the site’s twenty-six stone monuments, or stelae. The longest stelae is carved with a figure wearing a large headdress and, at a length of 30 feet, is the longest discovered in Belize and one of the tallest in the Maya world.
Bring: camera, comfortable clothes
Approximate Tour Time: 8:00AM – 3:00PM
This experience exposes you to one of Belize’s Natural Wonders! Caused by the interaction of saltwater, freshwater, and algae, bioluminescence is truly a sight to behold. This natural phenomenon only happens in a few select spots, like where the Sittee River meets the Caribbean Sea.
Your tour starts on a fascinating boat ride, meandering through a jungle tunnel and mangrove ecosystem leading to Anderson’s Lagoon. When you arrive, you’ll be mesmerized by the Dinoagellates, which are tiny unicellular marine plankton. Aside from the majesty of the neon glow, you can also enjoy seeing fish, jellyfish, and other marine life frolicking beneath the surface.
Bring: camera, comfortable clothes, light jacket
Approximate Tour Time: 4:00PM – 8:30PM
Jaguar Preserve Hike & TUbe & CHOCOLATE MAKING
Cockscomb Basin is renowned for being the world’s first and only jaguar preserve with over 128,000 acres of lush tropical rainforest. In fact, Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve is home to all five of Belize’s large cats: jaguar, puma, margay, jaguarundi, and ocelot. Explore the jungle trails of this flora & fauna sanctuary with a naturalist tour guide. After your hike, tube or float down the South Stann Creek River for a unique, close-up look at the jungle.
Next, you’ll grab some brunch before heading over to a nearby cacao farm. This part of the tour gives you a front row seat to the ancient practice of chocolate making. You’ll learn everything there is to know about chocolate, including its many healthy properties and how the ancient Mayan civilizations used the cacao beans as currency.
Bring: bug spray, sunscreen, hat, light long pants, swimsuit, towel, dry clothes, camera, binoculars, hiking shoes, souvenir cash
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Approximate Tour Time: 7:30AM – 3:30PM
GARIFUNA Cultural & Culinary Adventure
This tour offers an enriching vacation experience that completely immerses you in the culture and traditions of the Garifuna people. Long hailed as “the teachers of Belize”, your Garifuna hosts, dressed in traditional attire, will teach you about the history and tradition of one of Belize’s prominent ethnic groups.
Learn about the many magical and beneficial properties of the coconut and the art of traditional coconut harvesting, husking, grating and milk extraction - you’ll be an expert before the day is through! Your labor of love will be repaid many times over when you sit down to partake in a delicious Hudut, a coconut-based soup with fresh herbs and the catch of the day. Your meal will be served with pounded plantains and fried fish.
At the end of the day you’ll learn the basic drumming techniques of the Garifuna parranda and punta rhythms. Let the beat of the Primera and Segunda drums revitalize you and end your night with a sweet treat - a traditional Garifuna dessert.
Approximate Tour Time: 8:30PM – 3:30PM