Crystal Cave (Mountain Cow Cave)
Ancient Mayans believed Crystal Cave to be the domain of their gods, earning it the name of Xibalba. Mayans said that this is the portal between the tangible human world and the invisible world of the gods, making it a significant site for ceremonies. Some tours include the opportunity to explore Crystal Cave in the water, as you can embark on a refreshing cave tubing journey, meandering along the waters of Xibalba and through an impressive Gothic chamber with hidden pottery dating back to AD 300. Calcite formations cover the floors, walls, and ceiling of the cave.
Things to know before you go
- Visitors should be in moderate physical health and able to withstand a lengthy hike over varying inclines.
- Crystal Cave may not be suitable for travelers who suffer from claustrophobia or have a fear of the dark and tight passages.
- Bring bug spray, sunblock, and a change of dry clothes, as you may get wet.
How to get there
To get to Crystal Cave, you may have to start with a moderately challenging, 50-minute hike through lush rainforest and steep terrain. Depending on your entrance point, you then descend by rope for 15 feet (4.5 meters) to drop into the mouth of the cave. Guided tours offer round-trip transportation from San Ignacio, which is about an hour away by car.
When to get there
Early December to mid-April is the dry season in Belize, making it the best time to visit if you plan to take part in outdoor adventures. But if you travel during the rainy season, Crystal Cave is usually open, even if Actun Tunichil Muknal (another popular caving excursion) is closed due to flooding.
The capital of Belize, Belmopan, which is located about 20 minutes away from Crystal Cave, is a good home base for those travelers interested in participating in outdoor activities. Guided tours offering spelunking, cave tubing (floating down the river in a tube), horseback riding, and more are available from here.