Actun Tunichil Muknal is Making International Headlines

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Actun Tunichil Muknal Makes International Headlines

actun tunichil muknal cave belize
The only way in is to swim. Picture: V31S70. Source: Flickr

Actun Tunichil Muknal or ATM Cave as it is known locally is Belize's most fantastic cave and has been making international headlines for the past two weeks. The first article entitled "The Cave Where Mayans Sacrificed Humans Is Open for Visitors" was published last week on The Daily Beast, a popular American news site and was written by Nina Strochlic.

In her article, Strochic described the ATM Cave as follows:

It’s a journey even Indiana Jones would have to brace himself for: an hour-long rainforest hike, a swim across an ice-cold stream into the narrow mouth of a cave, and then a slippery descent into the dark, cavernous depths where bats, spiders, and ancient scorpion-like amblypygi lurk in the nooks. But, more than a thousand years ago, these creepy crawlies were practically friendly company compared to the cave’s human occupants, who used the remote location to carry out grisly, murderous rituals.
Today, brave adventurers willing to travel more than a mile underground in less than ideal conditions to reach Belize’s Actun Tunichil Muknal cave (ATM) will find many ancient treasures at the end of their journey.

You can read the full article on The Daily Beast here:

The second article entitled "Actun Tunichil Muknal: the Belize cave of ancient human sacrifices" was written by Rowena Ryan and was published on, another popular website on the Internet.

"Discovered in 1989, Actun Tunichil Muknal, or ATM as it’s locally known, is not easy to reach. Brave travellers must take an hour’s ride from San Ignacio in Belize, then walk another hour through shallow rivers and jungle to reach the mouth of the cave.From here visitors have to swim into the cave and wade up the river for another kilometre past huge boulders and cavernous rooms," writes Rowena.

"At the very end of the cave system are the skeletons of at least 14 humans, victims of ritual sacrifices made by the Mayan people to their gods, lying on a sacrificial site called “The Cathedral” asserts the article which was published this morning.

"The most famous of these skeletons is that of an 18-year-old girl known as “The Crystal Maiden.” Lying in a room separate to the other bodies, it is believed she was killed in a violent manner, possibly with a club, with two of her vertebrae crushed. Her bones stick up from the ground in a unique position and have been completely calcified giving them a sparkling calcite coating, inspiring the crystal maiden name", she writes.

Over the years, Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave has also been ranked as the #1 sacred cave in the world by National Geographic.

Speaking about the ATM Cave, Lloyd Alvarez, Cahal Pech Reservations Manager said that the ATM Tour (Actun Tunichil Muknal) can best be described as an “Indiana Jones” type experience and continues to be the most requested tour at Cahal Pech Village Resort.

"Visitors have the opportunity to view impressive stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave along with Maya pottery that have been undisturbed for hundreds of years and your guide will reveal ancient passage ways and will share stories of Maya Gods and evidence of a Mayan princess burial scene," Alvarez says .

For more information on the ATM Cave Tour, please contact us at

Posted in Belize, Belize ToursTagged actun tunichil muknal cave, atm cave, atm cave belize, belize atm cave, Belize News, Belize Travel News, caves in belize, telegraph news belize, the daily beast, top caves in belize

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