Barton Creek Cave is a remote cave formerly used by the ancient Mayans as a burial and ceremonial site. It is a river cave about 7 km long with a single entrance. We paddle into the cave in a canoe, and on the day of our visit, we were the only ones in the cave. There are bones and ceremonial artifacts among the beautiful stalacites and stalagmites. Our guide decided to turn off the torch when we were deep inside the cave, the quiet lapping of the water against the canoe in complete darkness was a bit eery – gave us insight into how this place, their underworld, felt to the ancient Mayans.
There are many other Maya caves here in Belize with the most famous being Actun Tunichil Muknal or ATM where skeletal remains and ceremonial artefacts were found. I was told that the visit to ATM is a rather strenuous one with lots of climbing, hiking, and even wading or swimming in water. For the less adventurous, there are also cave tubing excursions. But for me, I didn’t feel comfortable getting in the water inside these ancient caves. I will probably freak myself out thinking there is something lurking right under the surface!