Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Belize Part 2 : The Caves

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Today I'm going to be sharing the second part of my Belize recap.  In part one, I talked about San Pedro and the beach, and today we're going to go to the "underworld" and talk about caves!

This was actually my first experience, but Dan used to be in the caving club at Penn State!  He was really excited to explore some of the caves in Central America, particularly the ATM (which is the top-rated activity in Belize!). 

We visited three very different caves and had three very different adventures, so today I'm going to be talking about each of them!  I hope you enjoy!


Rio Frio Cave

Facts: 
65 foot arched entrance
Man-made paths and steps take visitors through cave
During dry season, there is a small sandy beach in the middle of the cave
The entire cave is about 1/2 mile long


The first cave that we visited was the largest opening, and shortest in length.  It was basically a huge room where tons of tourists walked around and explored.  There are man-made paths and steps that go around the cave to help you get around easily.



Rio Frio is a beautiful cave, and if you have a fear of small spaces or the thought of being underground freaks you out, this is the cave for you!




Barton Creek

Facts:
Located on the Bogaert family farm in the Cayo District
Recently named one of the world's most beautiful and unusual caves
Mayan artifacts found in first kilometer of cave
One of the longest subterranean sites in the country of Belize

Next, we saw Barton Creek Cave.  This cave is accessible by canoe, and is really interesting.  Since we went during the dry season, the creek was relatively low and we could get pretty far in the cave.  Most of the cave is wide open, with a few smaller spaces.


It was really interesting to paddle around inside, with just a handheld lamp to guide our way.  Inside, there are tons of bats flying around, as well as ledges where the Mayans left pottery and other artifacts.  If caving isn't your thing, zip lining is also offered at this farm!



ATM Cave

Facts: 
Stands for Actun Tunichil Muknal (Mayan for Cave Rock Tomb)
Famous for several human sacrifice remains, including the Crystal Maiden
Due to several incidents during tours, the cave is now protected and no cameras are allowed inside
Cave is approximately 3 miles long, and has a river and a dry chamber

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This was the final tour that we went on during our trip, and was definitely the highlight.  I have to admit that I was terrified before we went because I heard there were some small spaces, and it was more physically demanding than any other excursion we went on.  I couldn't even eat breakfast because I was so nervous!

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This ended up being one of the coolest things that I ever experienced.  Since we weren't allowed to bring cameras, we were all able to completely immerse ourselves in the experience and really enjoy it.  The experience starts with a hike through the jungle, including crossing a river three times.  Then, you jump into a large body of water and swim into the cave.  Once inside, there are areas where we had to swim, walk, climb, crawl, and squeeze.  My fear quickly went away and was replaced with lots of excitement- the cave was incredible and it was so different than anything I've ever experienced before.

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If you're thinking about going on the ATM Cave tour (or any other cave tour), I would highly recommend doing it. I almost let my fear hold me back from going on these, but it ended up being some of the best experiences of my life!  The things that you see in caves are unlike anything you'll see in your life.  You won't regret going- I promise!



Have you ever been in a cave before?
What's the scariest/coolest adventure you've had?
What's the best trip that you've ever been on?

linking up with Momfessionals
linking up with Amanda

24 comments:

  1. Well, the pool in the cave is pretty amazing, but I feel like that experience would freak me out. I've been in the Necropolis beneath St. Peters, but I dunno about caves!

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  2. wow! that is so neat!! I would love to do that one day! I love caves, even though they kinda scare me too.

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    1. Same! Freaky, but fascinating at the same time :)

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  3. Sounds amazing! Especially that last tour. I definitely would have been really nervous too, especially with the crawling and squeezing part.

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    1. Um actually I don't know if I could have convinced myself to go on that tour. I was curious about the history of the cave and was reading the wikipedia page just now. Home to predatory spiders? I would have passed out in fear.

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    2. I'm so glad that I didn't read about that before I went! I figured the less I knew going in, the better :-X

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  4. This is so amazing!! How absolutely gorgeous.

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  5. How awesome is this?! I would LOVE to do something like this one day, but I have such anxiety about this kind of thing. I have a really overactive imagination and my mind can go to some scary places ha!

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    1. It's so funny because I was really anxious before we went..couldn't eat and was feeling really sick and panicky in the car..but as soon as I jumped in the water in the cave all of my fear went away. Crazy!

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  6. These pics are so amazing! We were supposed to go to San Antonio for Spring Break this year and they have some caves there that we wanted to see. Our plans changed due to weather, and now this makes me extra bummed! I just love how adventurous you and Dan are! And a caving club??!! I've never hears of such a thing but how cool!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

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  7. Wow. Just WOW!!!!! Those photos are mind-blowing. I have zero cool stories to tell you about where I've been compared to those caves! Sooooo fascinating.

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  8. This looks like such an amazing trip- When I went to Mexico 3 years ago we swam in cenote (cave) and it was really cool/scary to climb down into it. I love that kind of stuff so this cave exploring looks right up my alley!

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  9. This looks so cool! These pictures kind of remind of the dates they go in the Bachelor:) haha. My friend and I went into a few caves when we were in Utah and it was crazy how much cooler it got down in there, and so freaking dark!

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  10. Wow so cool! Ive never done a cave excursion before because I have bad knees. I would have been really nervous too.
    When I went to Jamaica we did a hike up a waterfall....i mean literally up the falls where you climb. Slippery, steep, and water gushing. I was really scared but ended up loving it!

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  11. Wow so gorgeous! The caves just don't even look real! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  12. We explored quite a lot of caves in New Zealand and they were so incredible to see! I wa s a bit like you and not sure if I'd be scared/feel claustrophobic but they were so beautiful I forgot all about it!

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  13. I'm getting a strong case of wanderlust!!

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  14. I've never been interested in caving, but your pictures make it look really cool. Are they all really pretty and well-lit like that??? I think I'd like them if they weren't so dark and scary.

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  15. So cool! I did a cave tour once and ended up soooo muddy! It's strange in there!

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  16. the ATM one sounds super interesting - i kind of like that you can't have cameras. like you said, it makes you fully immerse yourself and enjoy it, rather than focusing on photos. the human remains though, i don't know about that...

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  17. These are beautiful caves. Caves both intrigue me and terrify me. :)

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  18. Those caves are AMAZING. I love the cool, darkness of caves. . . It's very mysterious. They look like Nat Geographic pics!

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