Barton Creek Cave is a unique natural phenomenon in Belize. This is the perfect introduction to the long-lost world of the ancient Maya.
The tour begins with a mile-long trek along the river before arriving at the cave’s entrance. Once inside, participants will see an enormous space reminiscent of European cathedrals with rock formations that shimmer in the play of a flashlight. Your guide will explain the history of the cave and identify interesting artifacts and relics left behind by the ancients.
Barton Creek Cave is One of 9 Most Beautiful Cave Destinations in the World
Mother Nature Networks listed Barton Creek Cave as one of the 9 Most Beautiful and Unusual Cave Destinations in the world. The combination of the subterranean river and enormous subterranean formations provide an amazing experience for visitors of all ages. Barton Creek Cave is located near the town of San Ignacio in Belize’s western Cayo District.
The Ancient Mayans
The ancient Maya believed that caves served an important role as the nexus between the world of humans and the underworld of the gods. Barton Creek Cave has many important historical Maya artifacts, including pottery, ritual objects, and even jewelry. The tour of the cave will extend approximately one mile (1.6 km) underground. Your guide will explain the important historical and cultural items within the cave.
The entire underground structure runs over 4.5 miles or 7 kilometers (and may extend an additional half mile beyond that). Archeologists are still actively excavating and documenting the site. The carvings and artifacts discovered in Barton Creek Cave have provided important information to help better understand the Maya culture. Archeologists believe that the cave was in use for a wide variety of sacred rituals. These rituals include agricultural offerings, ritual bloodletting, fertility rites, and even human sacrifice. Experts from New York University, Colorado State University, and Maya experts from the United States and Belize are now overseeing the ongoing archaeological excavations.
The interior edges of the Barton Creek Cave contain pottery shards and other artifacts that have allowed archaeologists to date the cave’s use by the ancient Maya from as early as 200 AD. It is believed that it was used up to the end of the Post-Classic Period around 900 AD. The remains of at least 28 individuals of different ages have been discovered in the cave.
The Barton Creek Cave tour ends at the nearby waterfalls. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or take a refreshing swim in the pools at the base of the waterfalls.