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Journey into the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre & Lunch

7.25 Hours
Private Activity
Strenuous

From (USD) $170

Journey into the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre & Lunch

7.25 Hours
Private Activity
Strenuous

From (USD) $170

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      Journey into the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre & Lunch

      San Ignacio, Belize
      From (USD) $170
      Highlights
      • Guided tour: Head nearly a mile underground into the cave called ATM, a Mayan sacrificial site littered with crushed skulls, calcified skeletons, and sacred artifacts.
      • The Crystal Maiden: The bones of a sacrificed teenager sparkle in a protective calcite sheen near glistening stalactites, shattered pottery, tools, and ceremonial items.
      • Rainforest trek: This rainforest hike across three rivers leads to a subterranean obstacle course that involves swimming, crawling, and clambering up slippery rocks. It's no picnic but worth the effort.
      • Picnic: To make sure you're properly fortified for the physical challenges and chilling sights ahead, you'll take a break for lunch inside the cave.
      About this San Ignacio tour

      Enter the Cave of the Stone Sepulcher and you are braving Xibalba (place of fear), home of Maya's most feared deities, the Lord of Death and his not-so-nice assistants. To the Maya, it was the entrance to hell and on this tour you'll hike, swim and climb all the way in.

      To appease the Maya's gods of agriculture, they ventured deeper and deeper, closer to their rain god, Chaak. The number of sacrifices increased around 900 A.D., coinciding with a drought that may have been their ultimate undoing. To pass deep into the cave, they had to overcome a river of scorpions, a house of jaguars, and a game played with balls made of blades.

      Over three miles deep, Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is filled with evidence of brutal human sacrifice: infants, children, and adults, most clubbed in the skull to appease the gods who brought life-giving rain.

      You'll see countless ceramic shards, the shattered remains of burial urns peppered with "kill holes" to release the spirits; 14 skeletons, including the calcified remains of the Crystal Maiden, long presumed to be an 18-year-old girl but now thought to be a boy; and the altars that collected the blood of tribal priests who cut their own tongues.

      Those Mayans really wanted it to rain.

      Looks to die for

      Mayan sacrificial ritual required the purity of young, primarily female victims. Appearance mattered, too: Several children's skulls in the ATM cave are slightly elongated, evidence of the ancient Maya custom of binding newborns' heads between two boards. Crossed eyes were also deemed attractive, so parents would hang an object just above children's noses to create the effect.

      Getting prepared
      Tour Participation Requirements
      Bring bug spray Bring bug spray
      Great photo opportunities Great photo opportunities
      Bring Towel Bring Towel
      Wear sunscreen Wear sunscreen
      Swim wear Swim wear
      Bring water shoes Bring water shoes
      Wear comfortable shoes Wear comfortable shoes
      Cancellation policy

      Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.

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      General disclaimer

      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.

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