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A.T.M Cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal) dubbed by National Geography as the top sacred cave to explore in the world; should be on your bucket list! Your journey starts from San Ignacio in air-conditioned comfort with a 45-minute drive until your arrival at the ranger outpost. Here, our guides will provide you with a helmet, headlamp, and life jacket if needed. When geared up, it’s now time to hike, wade and swim the sacrificial Mayan underworld of the ATM. There are 3 river crossing and a 30-minute hike, which will bring you to an hourglass entrance. From here, the cave system spans approximately 3 miles with stalactites, stalagmites, jarring boulders, and freshwater streams from ankle to waist-deep.
After an hour of spelunking, you’ll arrive at the ceremonial area, and squeeze through an orifice which opens up into a large football field cavern. Here you’ll remove your shoes. Walking bare feet, deeper into the underground surrender will unearth untainted Mayan history dating back 1-1000 AD. Pottery, ranging from intact to completely shattered; tools, ceremonial items, and the skeletal remains of 14 bodies on display, from finger bones to skulls, among other skeletal remains, fused to the bare ground within a few feet steps.
The cavern ends with the main chamber where the calcified to sparkling crystallized remains of the “Crystal Maiden” lays, believed to be the skeleton frame of a young woman who was sacrificed in a bloodletting ceremony to the “gods”. It is here you’ll turn around and retrace your steps to the cave’s entrance with only one question in mind: How do they allow you to do this?