Two kilometres past St Herman’s Cave, accessible from the highway or via a marked trail from the visitors’ centre, is Blue Hole National Park, centred on a beautiful pool whose cool turquoise waters are perfect for a refreshing dip. The “Hole” is actually a short stretch of underground river, whose course is revealed by a collapsed cavern. Other trails depart from here, including the Hummingbird Loop.

The guided cave and rappelling trips run by Caves Branch Jungle Lodge aren’t cheap (822-2800, wwww.cavesbranch.com; from US$85 per person), but well worth it for the experience. Many of the caves contain Maya artefacts – burials, ceramics and carvings. The best independent guide to the area is Marcos Cucul, based in Belmopan (t 600-3116, w www.mayaguide.bz).

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