If you’re an extreme cave explorer, Crystal Cave and the Black Hole Drop of Actun Loch Tunich are two adventures you can’t miss during your trip to Belize. Both tour sites are located in the Blue Hole National Park. These tours are not for the faint of heart and all participants must be able-bodied and accompanied by a certified guide.
Blue Hole National Park is located 12 miles southeast of Belmopan on the right side of the Hummingbird Highway. There are two entrances, both with parking. The St. Herman’s Cave entrance includes a picnic area, gift shop, trail heads, and official visitor’s center, while the other entrance only contains a picnic area, but it has a more direct route to the blue hole cenote. The best way to reach the park is by driving yourself, coming in a taxi, or taking any bus that travels on the Hummingbird Highway.
Extreme Belize Cave Tours
Also known as Mountain Cow Cave, Crystal Cave is one of two major cave systems within the Blue Hole National Forest in Belize’s Cayo District. Full of dazzling crystalline rock formations, this cave is believed to have been a ritual site used by ancient Mayan shamans who believed the cave was the underground domain of their gods. Today, it is an extreme caving destination that many adventurous tourists from all over the world flock to.
The Crystal Cave tour begins with a rigorous 50-minute hike on uneven jungle rainforest terrain. Upon reaching the mouth of the cave, participants harness up and descend by rope down a 15-foot drop inside of the huge cave. Once inside of the cave, a guide will lead participants on a 4-5 hour tour of the cave, learning about its history and geology, as well as viewing ancient Mayan pottery and even human skeletal remains.
Black Hole Drop Cave Rappelling
Just as the name implies, this extreme caving experience also involves a long black hole drop into a cave. But this cave is much bigger than Crystal Cave! Known as Actun Loch Tunich, or “the mother of all caves,” this sinkhole is 300 feet above the basin. It is also 200 feet above the rainforest growing out from the sinkhole.
Also located inside of the Blue Hole National Park, this tour begins with a rigorous 90-minute hike into the cave’s mouth. From there, you’ll descend 400 feet into one of Belize’s largest caves. This drop starts out with a quick 10-foot drop, followed by a more gradual descent the rest of the way. The cave will be pitch black as you descend, but the cave floor is well lit by natural light. After the long descent into the cave, the way out involves a long hike back up that includes the rigorous activities of rock climbing and ladder climbing.
Other Belize Cave Tours
Another extreme cave experience worth exploring is the popular Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave. For those seeking leisurely cave exploration, we recommend Barton Creek Cave Canoe Tours and Caves Branch Tubing.
Recommended Belize Tour Companies
Most tours will include transportation, all necessary caving equipment, and a certified guide. Participants should wear long pants and hiking boots, and bring insect repellants and cameras. Local Belize tour companies that specialize in Crystal Cave and Black Hole Drop adventures include: