Few experiences can compare to descending into the inky depths of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave. Left untouched for more than a 1,000 years, this cave, also known as the “Cave of the Stone Sepulchre”, gives visitors a chance to descend into the sacred underworld of Ancient Maya priests who used the miles of subterranean caverns to conduct some of their most powerful rituals.
To preserve the integrity of the site, only licensed guides are allowed to induct visitors into the ATM Cave, a site rated the Top Sacred Cave destination on the planet by National Geographic. After swimming across a pool of water, visitors will feast their eyes on gorgeous crystalline stalagmites and stalactites that adorn the enormous cavern. Following your guide even deeper into the underground labyrinth, you’ll get a chance to see artifacts, pottery, and obsidian blades left in situ by the Maya priests who conducted human sacrifices in the cave. Finally, visitors will get a chance to see the famous Crystal Maiden, a complete skeleton now fused with the cave’s minerals to gain a supernatural sparkle as well as the remains of a dozen other men, women, and young children who gave up their lives in these desperate religious rituals.
The ATM Cave is reached by driving for approximately an hour from the Black Orchid Resort towards the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. After exiting the vehicles at the ranger post, participants will make their way on foot for a 45-minute hike through a pristine jungle before reaching the entrance of the cave. From there, participants will have to swim across a pool and carefully make their way into the miles of tunnels, chambers, and passageways before finally arriving at the area where the Crystal Maiden lies for eternity.
The tour inside the cave lasts approximately three hours. To preserve the site, no cameras are allowed. Although the ancient Maya are long gone, the descent into the sacred underworld of this long-vanished civilization is still a transformative experience today. Following the tour of the cave, participants will enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back to the resort.
Rate: $175.00 USD per person
Length: 8 Hrs – Entrance fees and lunch included