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ATM Cave

It was our first full day at Pook’s Hill Lodge and we were ready for our excursion. I had spent months hearing about how amazing the ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) Cave was from my travelers and I knew I needed to try it out for myself. Nick and I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and got dressed. The ATM Cave has strict regulations for what you should wear and what you can and cannot bring. We both wore quick dry clothes and close toed shoes with socks. We also made sure to leave our camera behind. We later learned that the reason cameras have been banned is due to travelers accidentally dropping them in the cave and causing damage to the remains.

My outfit for the ATM Cave
My outfit for the ATM Cave (Katie Thies)

Nick modeling his outfit at for the ATM Cave. Don't forget your socks!
Nick modeling his outfit at for the ATM Cave. Don't forget your socks! (Katie Thies)

After breakfast and a 20 minute bumpy van ride we arrived at the start of the trail. We were the first people to get there and the only ones in our group. We met our guide and he supplied us with head lamps and helmets and we were on our way. We crossed three rivers and walked along the trail to get to the mouth of the cave. Our guide spent the walk telling us about the history of the Mayans in Belize and what the ATM Cave was used for – sacrifices to the gods. It started as sacrificing pots and grew to human sacrifice. After a few well-placed jokes about us being the next sacrifice we made it to the cave. We got into the water and swam on in. Shortly after we were walking through the water and climbing over rocks. Our guide explained all the different kinds of rock formations we were seeing and continued to explain the history behind the cave. After a while we reached a large rock that we climbed up. When we reached the top we were asked to remove our shoes and keep our socks on to protect our feet. Our guide then took us deeper into the cave showing us pottery and the remains of three Mayans. It was fascinating! After we had seen everything we made our way back out of the cave. It wasn’t until we were almost all the way out before we saw another tour group. Pook’s Hill has a wonderful relationship with the ATM Cave and therefore their travelers get to the cave before anyone else. As we walked back to the van I knew that this excursion would be a hard one to beat.
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