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Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave and Nature Hike from San Ignacio

Highlights
  • San Ignacio day trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
  • Go spelunking with an expert guide in the cave, featured by National Geographic
  • Swim along water passageways in the cavern and climb up a rock ledge
More
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave from San Ignacio
From US$110.00
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  • Overview
  • What to Expect
  • Important Information
  • Reviews
  • Q&A
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Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave from San Ignacio
US$110.00
Overview
Journey into the heart of the Mayan underworld at the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave. Departing from San Ignacio, this guided, action-packed 9-hour tour kicks off with a 45-minute, physically intense jungle hike through the Tapir Nature Reserve to the entrance of the cave. Swim, climb, and spelunk your way through astonishing caverns into the depths of the cave, where you’ll get an up-close look at artifacts and offerings used in ancient Mayan ceremonies. Round-trip transport and riverside lunch are included. Please note this tour isn't recommended for those with a fear of enclosed spaces or heights.
What to Expect
This full-day adventure begins with a pickup at your San Ignacio hotel. From there, drive 45 minutes to a turnoff at Teakettle Village, then another 30 minutes along a dirt road to reach the Tapir Nature Reserve. 

During a flat, 45-minute hike through the tropical reserve, you'll encounter many native plant species and wade across the Roaring River three different times. At the entrance to the cave, you'll receive a safety briefing, and gear up with hardhats and headlamps. Enjoy a picnic lunch here either before or after exploring the cave, depending on what time your tour arrives.

Your caving adventure will begin with a quick, refreshing swim across a pool of water at the hourglass-shaped cave entrance. Just a few minutes into the darkened depths, you’ll approach “the Breakdown” — the most challenging part of the adventure — where you will wade, swim, and scramble through rocky passages and squeeze through some tight crevices. Your guide will instruct the group how to safely navigate challenging areas. 

While passing through various chambers, stop to admire massive stalactite and stalagmite formations created by thousands of years of water passing through the cave. Light from your headlamp will illuminate shimmering columns and dripping formations that resemble waterfalls and chandeliers. 

To reach the cave’s highlight, climb up a stone platform to an expansive chamber where archaeologists discovered a treasure trove of ceremonial Mayan pottery and the remains of more than a dozen victims of human sacrifice. Most of these artifacts remain exactly where they were discovered, allowing you to get an amazingly up-close view. 

For the grand finale, climb a ladder into the uppermost chamber of the cavern, where you can marvel at the famous Crystal Maiden — a complete human skeleton covered in a crystalline substance caused by natural calcification. 

After spelunking your way back out of the cave, you’ll emerge into the sunlight and the cool water of the Roaring River, then prepare for the return hike and drive back to San Ignacio.
Write a ReviewReviews (33)

1 - 5 of 12 reviews

Reviewed 24 July 2018
One of the coolest experiences I have ever had

Starts with a hike along a river and through a dry cave. Passes tropical vegetation including cashew trees. Float into the cave and the views are striking. I was almost expecting there to be an Exit door like it was a Disney ride. Views of...More

2  Thank Craig S
Reviewed 10 July 2018 via mobile
Must do

This is a tour not to be missed. It is incredible to see the cave, Mayan artifacts and skeletal remains. There is a short hike to the cave and you cross the river 3 times to get to it, so expect to be wet for...More

1  Thank yogamama40
Reviewed 20 April 2018
Outstanding - fascinating, challenging, unique and fun

Great activity - combines a hike a short swim and trekking and wading through a cave. Magnificent cave sites - and the water was the perfect temperature. Then you come to fascinating Mayan artifacts, including several skulls and skeletons - all right at your feet....More

1  Thank Vince41
Reviewed 19 April 2018 via mobile
Must do

My wife and I did many different adventures here in the rain forest, and the atm caves were by far our favorite. Our guide bling, was very helpful and arrived a little early to our hotel. The hike and cave and swims were fantastic, absolutely...More

1  Thank David3676
Reviewed 2 April 2018
Excellent tour

This tour is fairly physically challenging and should not be taken lightly. You swim and wade through water up to 4’ deep, climb rocks, sneak through narrow crevices in the rocks but it is well worth it. Do your research on the guide, it makes...More

Thank Jay L
Questions & Answers
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iris122015
10 April 2018|
Answer
Response from Jay L | Reviewed this property |
Hi, I am not the tour operator, I just wrote a review. Please go to Luis's website and ask the question to him - he will be very helpful. I can answer the question about that difference between this tour and other ATM cave... More
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