It’s no exaggeration to say that Ian Anderson, of Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Co. & Jungle Lodge, invented cave tubing in Belize. Not that it’s such a complicated thing to invent. Get an inner tube, stick you butt in it, float into a cave, float back out. But the fact is that no one in Belize offered it as a trip before Ian did, so we call him the Cave Man. We hope he doesn’t mind.
By the time we got around to trying his signature adventure we’d already done his Black Hole Drop and his Waterfall Cave Expedition. The classic cave tubing experience, Ian’s “River of Caves” Cave Tubing trip, is only offered during high water. So we signed up for The River Cave Expedition (US$85 including transport, guides, gear and lunch) which includes tubing and walking.
To really get inside the cave with us, check out this video…
The beginning of the trip was basic tubing so we just sat in the cool, clear water and slowly paddle our way to the mouth of the cave. Once inside, the lights went out, our headlamps went on and we continued to float inside the cave which is spooky since you can’t see what’s in the water.
Pretty soon the water got too shallow for floating, so we beached the tubes and took off on foot.
Once on our feet, the guides lead us into various chambers and up onto roomy ledges to check out areas that were used by the ancient Mayans as ceremonial sites during forays into caves (believed to be the underworld or Xibalba) to speak with their Gods. Because the Mayans were more than a little bit afraid of the underworld (some living Mayans still won’t go into a cave), anthropologists and archaeologists believe they had to have been in severe need of help from the Gods in order to perform these subterranean rituals. The bigger the problem, they believe, the deeper they went.
At the back of one of the largest “rooms” inside the cave lies a spectacular area which was like a tiny crystal cavern. It required some crawling and contorting to get into this area, but it was worth it to see the the massive sparkling flowstones created mineral-laden water running through the cave.
Even after doing three awesome tours with Ian that still left at least half a dozen other tours we’d like to do someday, including his multi-day jungle survival trips. When we were there Ian was also building a new chess center in further support of the Belize National Youth Chess Foundation which his wife runs as a way of encouraging 5-15 year-olds to get into the game and stay (and excel) in school. Oh, and Ian was also thinking about making his own goat cheese. We’ll just have to go back again soon.
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