This full-day adventure begins with a pickup at your San Ignacio hotel. From there, drive 45 minutes to a turnoff at Teakettle Village, then another 30 minutes along a dirt road to reach the Tapir Nature Reserve.
During a flat, 45-minute hike through the tropical reserve, you'll encounter many native plant species and wade across the Roaring River three different times. At the entrance to the cave, you'll receive a safety briefing, and gear up with hardhats and headlamps. Enjoy a picnic lunch here either before or after exploring the cave, depending on what time your tour arrives.
Your caving adventure will begin with a quick, refreshing swim across a pool of water at the hourglass-shaped cave entrance. Just a few minutes into the darkened depths, you’ll approach “the Breakdown” — the most challenging part of the adventure — where you will wade, swim, and scramble through rocky passages and squeeze through some tight crevices. Your guide will instruct the group how to safely navigate challenging areas.
While passing through various chambers, stop to admire massive stalactite and stalagmite formations created by thousands of years of water passing through the cave. Light from your headlamp will illuminate shimmering columns and dripping formations that resemble waterfalls and chandeliers.
To reach the cave’s highlight, climb up a stone platform to an expansive chamber where archaeologists discovered a treasure trove of ceremonial Mayan pottery and the remains of more than a dozen victims of human sacrifice. Most of these artifacts remain exactly where they were discovered, allowing you to get an amazingly up-close view.
For the grand finale, climb a ladder into the uppermost chamber of the cavern, where you can marvel at the famous Crystal Maiden — a complete human skeleton covered in a crystalline substance caused by natural calcification.
After spelunking your way back out of the cave, you’ll emerge into the sunlight and the cool water of the Roaring River, then prepare for the return hike and drive back to San Ignacio.