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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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