Begin your journey back through time as you enter the amazing realm of Belize's cave systems, with a chance to learn more about a mysterious ancient Maya civilization and the geological processes that shaped the region.
Millions of years ago seeping rainwater and underground rivers began etching through soft bedrock and outcrops. Today caves are to Belize like Swiss is to cheese. The lime rock matrix that makes up much of the country's landmass is riddled with caves and beneath the surface can be found some of the most spectacular and extensive cave systems on the planet.
Flour Camp Cave
A duPlooy favorite because of its remoteness while at the same time being close enough to the lodge to make it easily assessable by horseback or on foot. Also few places offer tours to Flour Camp Cave and as a result it is a peaceful spot. Inside the cave you will see Maya pottery pieces (shards) and impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations.
To get there, drive, hike (2 hours) or arrive on Horseback, then hike uphill for another 45 minutes to reach the cave entrance. You will have an hour or so to explore inside the cave, before heading back down to the Macal river for a picnic lunch and a refreshing swim. Afterwards canoe or return on inner-tubes to duPlooy's or return on horseback, if you're not feeling too saddle sore ...
Departure: Anytime before 9:00 am
Horseback time: 90 minutes
Drive time: 20 minutes
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave)
If you wanted to do the most amazing thing we have to offer, it is Actun Tunichil Muknal. Amazing Mayan skeletal remains, amazing pottery, amazing cave. Don't think so much amazing-ness comes easy. You will drive on a terrible road, hike about 45 minutes in to the cave, swim into the cave, wade through the cave, climb around the cave, explore and then go through it all again in the opposite order. 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. ... Read more [ new window ]
Departure: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
Drive time: 50 minutes
Enter an exciting realm where rivers disappear into the underworld as you float on inner tubes with only your head lamp to lead the way. Glide past entrances from above, filtering mists of jungle light, as you float through underground river caves sparkling with mica-studded stalactites and stalagmites, filled with 1,000-year-old pottery shards. Continue past an underground waterfall leading into the "Crystal Cathedral", a spiritual place used by the ancient Maya.
Guided Exploration is by rubber inner tube. This is a fun and relaxing day spending 4 hours floating in an inner tube down a river, in and out of caves, with a head lamp on. Some underground hiking and jungle trekking with your inner tube is required.
Departure: Anytime before 10:00 am
Drive time: 60 minutes
Barton Creek Cave
Apart from the drive there, this is the easiest cave to do. Typically getting to a cave requires hiking in, not so Barton Creek. You drive right up, hop in a canoe and away you go to explore the Maya underworld. Don't think that you are missing out by not breaking a sweat: it's a pretty cave where you glide through this underwater cave system in a canoe equipped with a powerful spotlight.
Barton Creek lies deep within lands owned by the Amish. It is believed that the Maya once used this cave for ritual ceremonies. While canoeing through the cave see large and colorful formations, skeletal remains and other cultural artifacts left behind by the Maya centuries ago. This is a half-day tour, which can be combined with an excursion to the Mountain Pine Ridge.
Departure: Anytime from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Drive time: 45 minutes
Rio Frio Cave
Located in the Mountain Pine Ridge, Rio Frio is the best cave for claustrophobics. Everything is big in this cave! The two 65-foot arched entry ways leave you in awe. Huge stalactites hang from the massive cathedral-like vault, which is part of a cave system the Maya used to bury their dead. Room size boulders are strewn throughout the cave and a stream flows through, forming pools with cascading falls.
Openings at both ends make flashlights unnecessary for viewing the cave's formations during daylight hours. There is a beach area with a foot bridge for crossing the stream and getting to the other side, which leads to the exit. It is a quarter mile through to the other side, another equally impressive opening.
Departure: Anytime from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Drive time: 1 hour 15 minutes
* See Tours & Transfers for current rates.