Belize // The west //

Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal (tours around US$85, including lunch, entry fee and transport from San Ignacio; you must be accompanied by a licensed guide to enter), in Roaring Creek valley, gets its name (“Cave of the Stone Sepulchre”) for the astonishingly well preserved skeletons, fourteen in total, of Maya human sacrifices found here. As the cave has historically been inaccessible to looters, little has been touched since the Maya stopped using it over a millennium ago, and the artefacts are spellbinding. Perhaps the most dramatic sight is the skeleton of a young woman lying below a rock wall – and nearby the stone axe that may have killed her. The cave is certainly worth the high price of a tour; note, though, that you’ll need to be pretty fit and able to swim to do the trip; for much of the time you’re wading knee- or even chest-deep in water.