San Ignacio

San Ignacio was the first stop in Belize. Belize is an anomaly. It's English speaking, very chilled and has a different vibe to other countries. Entering Belize is bizarre, you travel across the border, everything looks more or less the same, except suddenly you can read the signs and understand the people. It's like entering some weird science fiction meeting.

Admittedly, there is not a lot to do in San Ignacio. Lounging by the pool. There are some Mayan ruins I didn't go to, however there are some amazing caves.

We went to Actun Tunichil Muknal, aka the ATM cave. To get there you drive for about an hour, walk for half an hour, cross a river three times, get suited up for caving, then swim over a 7m deep pool to get into the cave.

The cave is worth is for the cave itself. It's a wet cave, so you swim, walk and climb and get very wet. Over a kilometre inside, you take off your shoes, climb up the rocks and find yourself in a huge chamber used by the Mayans.

The professionals are still figuring out exactly what went on in there. There are lots of ceremonial pots, each one broken so its energies are released. There are fourteen skeletons and almost everything is concreted into the bedrock of the cave due to the yearly flooding. You have to walk really, really carefully in case you step on anything, hence the wearing of socks.

If you're in the area, you should really stop by.


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I think these might be ginger plants too
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More orchids
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Making our way up to the ATM cave
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There were multiple water crossings
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Three times in fact
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The river on the way to Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM)
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Getting ready to go into ATM
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Entering ATM
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Fish in the creek outside of ATM
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The creek that flows out of ATM
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This is my adventuring pose
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Embedded pottery inside of Actun Tunichil Muknal
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Lots of broken pottery inside ATM
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Interesting cave formations
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More pottery, here you can see the calcification
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Flowstone inside ATM
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Flowstone and matching shawls
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Broken pottery
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Sophie and a big pot
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A large pot with a rare emblem on it, probably a monkey
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Pots, notice the hole. All the pots in the cave a broken, so they can release their energies
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Pots and a very calcified skeleton
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There are two skeltons here, probably washed down the flowstone
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Some of the limestone shawls and flowstone
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Columns within ATM
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The floor of the cave, you walk on it in your socks
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Dripping stalagmites - its a living cave
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The famous Crystal Maiden, which we were told was an older male
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With the right lighting, we have the scary look
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Next to it is another embedded skeleton
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Another impressive flowstone
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Ginger flower by our hotel in San Ignacio
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James would sleep anywhere
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Last modified: May 27 2012 04:09:02.
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