If you plan on spending any time in southern Belize, be sure to save a day for the Blue Creek Cave. Known in Maya as Hokeb Ha (“Where the Water Enters the Earth”), the cave system starts in Santa Cruz and runs for about five miles before exiting near the village of Blue Creek. The water’s exit through the cave’s mouth is an absolutely gorgeous sight and is definitely one of the top sightseeing opportunities in the Toledo District.
Related: Check out my list of Top Things to do in Punta Gorda
In the rainy season, the water rushes and roars through a tight ravine, cascading through small waterfalls, pools, and rapids. You can swim at the large pool at the cave’s mouth, but the current may be too strong to adventure much further in. However, the rainy season hike to cave is worth it if just to experience the pristine beauty of the forest ecosystem. The trail is lined with beautiful trees and flowering plants and the rainforest is home to wildlife including otters, iguanas, birds, fish, and bats.
If you go during the drier winter season, you can hire a local guide to take you on an excursion into the cave’s interior. The water slows down to a steady flow, making the creek and cave ideal for exploring. Tours options range depending on the guide (or the guide company) but can include anywhere from a one hour exploration to a four hour trek. In any case, expect to go swimming through the cave’s pools and streams as well as walk and crawl over the dry sections. On the way, you’ll explore caverns and tunnels and see beautiful stalagmites and stalactites.
If swimming through dark tunnels and caverns doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry. The pool at the entrance is great for cooling off and the rest area and lodge further downstream have a rope swing, dock, and tree top zip line to enjoy as well.
To get to Blue Creek, you will need to rent a car, catch a bus (one way only), ride out on a tour with TIDE Tours (based in Punta Gorda), or book a trip with one of the nearby lodges. If you are driving yourself, be ready for a bumpy ride over a pockmarked dirt road. When you arrive in Blue Creek, park your car next to the gazebo before the small bridge. The trail to the cave starts at the parking spot and should take about twenty minutes to negotiate. Although the beginning is very well maintained and recognizable, the closer you get to the cave the less apparent the trail may be.
Also, be sure to wear solid shoes or sandals, since the last section of the trail, approaching the entrance, will involve scrambling over roots and rocks along the creek’s edge. The hike is easier in the dry season but is generally considered accessible for fit young and old alike.
To say it again, if you come to southern Belize, go to the Blue Creek Cave. Between the beautiful and refreshing rapids, falls, and deep-water pools, quiet and pristine rainforest surroundings, and the awe-inspiring size of the cave itself, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Have questions about how to get to the cave? Want more information on logistics? Interested in booking transportation or a guide? Some good places to start are TIDE Tours and Cayo Adventure Tours. If you aren’t interested in a tour, most of the hotels or lodges in PG should have information as well.
Interested in other activities in sleepy PG? Feel free to check out my post on what to do in Punta Gorda and on volunteer opportunities in Belize!