The Mayan Underworld

Today we travelled back into Belize, promising to return to Guatemala as soon as possible. We just loved the people, scenery, and unique experiences we had.

We we hustled back across the border in order to catch the last tour to Actun Tunichil Muknal or ATM, the gateway to the Mayan underworld. While the cave system is 2000 years old, and used by the Mayans as a sacred site, the caves were just rediscovered in 1986. Inside there are untouched and undisturbed remains of Mayan offerings and sacrifices. Yes, we saw no less than 5 skeletons, calcified and preserved by the elements, as well as hundreds of pots used to make offerings to the Gods. Some pretty crazy stuff went on in there.

To to reach the area with the artifacts requires a 45 minute walk through the jungle which includes walking/wading through three river crossings. At the entrance to the cave you swim for about 20 feet in cold water before beginning the walk/climb/swim/crawl through the stagtites and stalagmites that have formed over the ages. With hard hats and headlamps we made our way back a little more than half a mile before reaching the Altar, the site of what they believe to have been sacrifices. Talk about spooky! The guide said the Mayans used hallucinogenic herbs while in the cave, but it was interesting enough to us having 100% of our faculties.

We we couldn’t take cameras with us so the best we can do is share a few links. The first one tells the whole story.

Enjoy!

 

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