Adventures in the ATM cave
23.02.2012 - 25.02.2012 30 °C
San Ignacio is a small town in Belize near the Western border with Guatemala. It seems a strange place at first, with one main bar and restaurant street and not much to see or do in town. In the end I liked it though, it had a nice feel to it.
The main reason I went there was the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, a large cave in which Mayan pottery and skeletons have been found. The tour of the cave is very expensive, but I really wanted to see this unique place. After driving for about an hour, the adventure started with a hike through the jungle to the cave. It is about 45 minutes to walk there, but with the many explanations of our guide, it took us much longer.
After stopping for a small snack, we entered the cave. We first had to swim a few meters to get in. Then it was about an hour of walking through more or less wet parts, climbing over rocks etc. We got to admire the great formations in the cave and were shown some of them that are supposed to look like Mayan gods... We also turned off our headlamps and walked in the dark for about 10 minutes, led by our guide, which was an interesting experience.
At the end we reached the dry part of the cave. Here we saw the remainders of the Mayan sacrifice rituals, broken pottery and the bones of the humans sacrificed.
It was strange to see these things in such a place. At the end of the dry chamber came the highlight, the Crystal Maiden, the entire calcified skeleton of a girl that was sacrificed here.
After seeing this, we walked back out of the cave, had lunch and then hiked back to the minibus. I enjoyed the tour a lot and am glad I went, despite the cost. Especially our good guide made it really interesting.
That night, we all felt like we deserved a bit of a party, especially because it was a Friday night. So we had some drinks with the other people staying at the hostel and then went out for a big party in San Ignacio...
After finally trying the typical fry jacks for breakfast (a fried dough, which you typically eat with butter and jam), I was ready to leave San Ignacio and Belize and travelled back into Guatemala together with one of my roommates. It was a short but nice stay in Belize.