The Top 10 Caves in Belize

Crystal Cave, Belize
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The caves in Belize are world-famous. Many of them are consistently featured in international documentaries and articles by large media organizations such as National Geographic. The reason for this is that aside from having beautiful characteristics, most of Belize’s caves, to this day, have ancient Maya artifacts, including sacrificial remains.

Related: Top Belize Rainforest Tours & Best Jungle Lodges in Belize

Of course, this means that you should definitely visit a cave during a Belize vacation–the question should be, which one, should you visit first? Below I’ll list the best caves in Belize based on their popularity and accessibility. I hope you enjoy your caving adventures!

Ranking the Best Caves in Belize

1. Actun Tunichil Muknal

Family at ATM Cave

Deep within the Belizean rainforest lies a wonder of both ancient and natural Belize. Just a short drive from San Ignacio, and after a 45-minute hike through the beautiful Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, visitors can find the ATM Cave. Take a short swim into the cave and a guided hike through the passage to one of the most impressive Belizean Maya sites. Here you’ll find evidence of ceramics, stoneware, and skeletons.

2. Caves Branch

Cave Tubing at Nohoch Che'en Caves Branch

Flowing west of the Sibun River, the Caves Branch River carves into limestone walls deposited by ancient reefs to form a massive cave system. The river dips in and out of these caves, allowing guests to float on river tubes through the filtered light of the jungle foliage at Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch. As you enjoy cave tubing, fertility gods, 1,000-year-old pottery shards, and embedded human footprints can be seen along the way.

3. Barton Creek Cave

Cave Canoeing at Barton Creek Cave is very popular with families

Hidden in the small Mennonite community of Barton Creek, along the Chiquibul Road in the Cayo District, are the cool, dark caverns of Barton Creek Cave. This cave was used by the ancient Maya for rituals such as human sacrifices, bloodletting, and fertility rites.

4. Rio Frio Cave

Rio Frio Cave in Mountain Pine Ridge
Entrance of Rio Frio Cave – Photo by Dave Hernandez

The Rio Frio Cave is located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and reveals an impressive 65-foot arch at its opening. Just about a half a mile in length, this is a great choice for the first-time caver. From the cave’s opening, visitors have a striking view of the entire cave and the stream that runs through it.

5. Che Chem Ha Cave

Che Chem Ha Cave
Maya pottery at Che Chem Ha Cave

Che Chem Ha Cave is located 16 miles from San Ignacio and offers an extraordinary experience. The cave entrance is decorated with Maya motifs and is guarded to prevent looting of hundreds of fully intact ancient Maya pots. Beginning with a 45-minute uphill hike through farmland and beautiful forest, guests are escorted to the cave by an experienced guide.

6. St. Herman’s Cave

St. Herman’s Cave - Inland Belize Blue Hole

One of the most accessible caves in the country, St. Herman’s lies among the dense tropical forest on the Hummingbird Highway, just 12 miles southeast of the capital city of Belmopan. As part of the St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, established in 1986, this cave holds important cultural and archaeological significance as evidenced by its use by the Maya during the Classic Period.

7. Crystal Cave aka Mountain Cow Cave

Crystal Cave, Belize
Crystal Cave

Also located within the Blue Hole National Park, the Crystal Cave is for more established cavers who are seeking a little more adventure than what St. Herman’s Cave offers. In this tour, visitors take a 1.5 to 2 hours guided hike in rugged terrain to the mouth of the cave where they are repelled down into the cave and greeted by huge caverns adorned with crystalline formations.

8. Hokeb Ha Cave aka Blue Creek Cave

Blue Creek Cave (Hakeb Ha Cave)
The mouth of the Blue Creek Cave during the rainy season

On a shady hillside near the village of Blue Creek is Hokeb Ha Cave. According to archaeologists, the discovery of several ceramic and ceremonial altars reveal that the Maya used this cave in the Late Classic Period.

9. Cave World Adventures

Actun Chapat Cave
Actun Chapat Cave

Cave World Adventures is a 300-acre property in San Jose Succotz that features over 30 different tours and adventures including numerous caves with pottery, 3 lakes, Mayan Shamanic experiences, events, medicinal trail, bird watching, and much more. Their most popular cave is named Actun Chapat Cave.

10. Tiger Cave

Tiger Cave in San Miguel, Toledo Belize

Also referred to as the San Miguel Cave, given its proximity to the Maya village of San Miguel in the Toledo District, the nature hike to this cave offers an opportunity to learn about the diversity of the Toledo rainforest and a firsthand view of Maya farming practices.

Bonus: Great Blue Hole

Belize Blue Hole
Diver at 130 feet inside the Great Blue Hole. Photo by Gordon Kirkwood

Although not a traditional cave, the Great Blue Hole is a world-famous underwater sinkhole located off the coast of Belize. It’s a bucket-list dive for divers from around the world, offering a unique and breathtaking cave diving experience that can only be done in Belize.



Reader Interactions


  1. Grasiel Moguel says

    Hi I am a Std 6 teacher and love your info. Very informative and awesome to use with students

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