27 August 2007


I've been looking forward to caving for such a long time. We went to the famous "ATM" cave near San Ignacio, Belize. It is not only an awesome cave to explore, but it is a Mayan historical site. Several rituals were performed there, and the highlights include many priceless vases and even human remains scattered throughout the cave.

We began the day bright and early - and drove to a path where we had to do a 45 minute hike to a cave. We were told before-hand to wear sturdy, protected hiking shoes and that they would be fully soaked. We also had to wear socks to enter the sacred Mayan area. The hike wasn't bad at all, and it included wading into streams which were at about knee level. When we got closer to the cave, we were given our helmets and headlamps for the cave.

Then, we arrived at the mouth of the cave. We had to begin the trek by jumping into a 20ft deep pool of exteremely cold water. After sweating so much because of the temperature outside, you'd expect the water to feel great, but it was way too cold.

Then, we entered deep into the cave. It was awesome! We waded through water (the same exteremely cold water) anywhere from ankle level to upper chest level. We crawled through some tight spaces, and climbed up and down several rocks. I'm surprised I didn't get banged up anymore than I did.

We then arrived at the Mayan area where the artifacts were. This involved a climb of about 12 feet directly up. At the top, we had to remove our shoes and only wear socks (which were very wet) in order to protect the artifacts.

The main room was amazing. We saw several pots which were used for various Mayan rituals, and also human skulls and bones, including a full skeleton of a young woman. Some say that these humans were sacrificed in the caves, while others say that they were buried here. Either way, it was a really historical experience.

Tip-toeing around the artifacts was incredibly hard, as they were everywhere, and there wasn't really a set path. We then headed out and grabbed some lunch. By the time we got back to the hotel, we stank of sweat, mildew, and whatever other interesting things lived in the cave. I think my shoes may take days to dry. Oh well, worth the experience

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