Actun Tunichil Muknal in San Ignacio Cayo – Belize

Actun Tunichil Muknal is a major archeological site in Belize. For tourists visiting the country, this is one of those places they keep coming back to.


The cave is situated close to San Ignacio Cayo. It can be found in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. The Belize Tourism Board has provided licenses to agents that can take you to the site directly.

What to See

This archeological site is well known for its Maya remains and artifacts. The main chamber is filled with numerous artifacts. The ceramics unearthed at the site were used for religious purposes. Majority of these remains have been calcified on the ground.

The cave walls have also been modified by the Maya. Some have shadow images while others have silhouettes of animals and faces. The Actun Tunichil Muknal also has sections where the Maya have set up altars for sacrifices.


Through the years, archaeologists have conducted extensive studies on the site. The major cave system has a length of 3 miles. Archeologists have discovered the upper passages are spruced up with cave formations.

Different kinds of animals have lived in the area. Today, several bats live in the cave. Catfish, crayfish, large fresh water crabs and various kinds of tropical fish are found in the area as well. Predatory spiders of different kinds can also be found there. Otters and agouti also proliferate.


The cost will depend on which agent you make reservations with. For a 3 day tour, expect to pay around $930 in the winter or $875 for the summer. These rates include lodging, transfers from the airport, food, and other activities.

The rates are almost always in US dollars. Cheaper rates are available, but there will be fewer amenities. Usually, traveling in a larger group will result in a discount.

Other Info

The cave’s configuration is unique. It is made up of a river passage that runs for 2 miles. This culminates at an upstream sump. Several upper passages dating from prehistoric times go on for another mile. This goes through large rooms and giant breakdown boulders.

The exit consists of a tight squeeze culminating in a sink hole in the middle of the jungle. The “Cathedral” refers to an upper passage. It is a third of the way from the entryway.

The Actun Tunichil Muknal is also a good place to explore other archeological sites. These include Xunantunich, Chaa Creek and Cahal Pech.