Waterfall Cave Expedition – Caves Branch, Belize


The words “waterfall” and “cave” sound weird together. Is it a waterfall inside a cave? A cave formed by a waterfall? Turns out the word “expedition” is important too along with a few leaps of faith.

Our guide Esperanza prepping us for the physical and mental challenges ahead.

Waterfall Cave Expedition adventure in Belize

The Waterfall Cave Expedition (US$90 including transportation, gear, guides, and lunch) at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Co. & Jungle Lodge is a thrilling combination of total darkness, six waterfalls, small spaces, Mayan relics, and trust.

The welcoming committee hanging around waiting for us.

After a 20 minute hike through the jungle (the easy part) we reached the mouth of the cave and the last of our daylight. From here on out we entered a world of profound darkness (except for our headlamps).

One of many massive chambers within the cave where evidence of Mayan ceremonies have been found, including fire sites and pottery shards.

The cave floor is a riverbed but excursions (sometimes on our butts or hands and knees) up into side chambers above the main flow lead us into various “rooms” which the ancient Mayan used as spaces for what archaeologists believe were sacred rituals aimed at gaining favor with the Gods of the Underworld, a feared and revered place they called xibalba.

A fire site and pot used during ancient Mayan rituals deep inside the cave.

We saw lots of ritual remains during our trip inside the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave but the artifacts and ritual sites on this trip rivaled what we saw in the ATM, minus the skeletons. And, because this cave is owned by Ian Anderson, we were the only group inside it unlike the much-more-famous ATM cave which can get crowded.

One of six waterfalls inside the cave that must be climbed up, then rappelled or jumped down.

The Waterfall Cave Expedition is as fun as it looks in our video, below.

With six waterfalls inside the cave, this trip definitely has the ATM trip beat in terms of physical challenges and adrenaline. Each waterfall had to be climbed on the way into the cave, then leapt off or rappelled down on the way back out of the cave. Jumping off a waterfall inside a cave in near darkness into a pitch black pool of water that you’re trusting is deep enough and obstruction-free lends new meaning to the phrase leap of faith.

Karen rappelling down one of six waterfalls that have to be navigated during the Waterfall Cave Expedition.

A perfectly flat boulder in the middle of a pitch black roomy inner chamber of the cave made a perfect picnic table. Can you believe the guides carried in a white tablecloth?

What remains of a site used by the ancient Mayans during sacred ceremonies inside the cave.

Water and time continue to build upon natural cave sculptures like this amazing drape formation.

In the rainy season water cascades down this slope inside the cave, forming pools and leaving behind sparkly minerals.

Waterfall Cave Ian Anderson Belize

Emerging back into the light after our Waterfall Cave adventure in Belize.

 

For more adrenaline, check out the two other caving adventures we had in Belize with Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company & Lodge including The River Cave Expedition and the aptly named Black Hole Drop.

Here’s more about travel in Belize

 

 

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10 comments on “Waterfall Cave Expedition – Caves Branch, Belize

  1. Cool!! There is a very similar attraction in Puerto Rico, Called the Camuy Caves. I went there several times as a kid on school field trips–awesome place! All your pictures remind me of these Camuy Caves. It always blows my mind how so many similar (or exact!) natural attarctions can be found all over the world. As if Mother Nature wanted to be fair and give the opportunity to everyone to see 😉
    Maria recently posted..#Travel bucket list photos: White Desert, Egypt (moon on Earth!)My Profile

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