Central America, specifically Belize, is well known as the land of caves and sinkholes often referred to as Cenotes. These formations were once used by the Mayas for generations and present a great opportunity to learn about this ancestral culture and to discover the mysteries inside these ancient caverns.
Upon your arrival to the St. Herman`s Visitors Center, your guide will give you a short briefing about the place and the most important thing, your tube! After a brief lesson on the history of St. Herman’s Cave and gearing up for the walk ahead, you will go on a 15 to 20 minute hike to the entrance of St. Herman’s Cave. While hiking through the rainforest you can see the hill where the cave is located, covered by vegetation. Along the way your guide will point out magnificent and centuries old trees like the Guanacaste and the Ceiba. You will almost certainly cross over a host of tiny trails made by one of the most interesting and strongest insects in the world… the Leafcutter Ant. They travel in long lines far into the rainforest in search of leaves that they take to their nests and use to grow a fungus that they will later feed on. So they are actually farmers! Be careful not to step on them!
Spiders might not be one of the most loved creatures in the world but I find tarantulas to be simply spectacular! A large tarantula lives on the route to the cave where it hides during the day, but the guides know how to wake her up. If the guide is successful and you are lucky enough, you’ll be able to see her peeking out to see what all the commotion is about.
At the entrance of St. Herman’s Cave, you will walk the actual steps that the Mayan Shamans walked as they entered Xibalba, “The Underworld”. Enter into an exciting world of rivers disappearing into the darkness as you float on inner tubes with views of massive cathedral size chambers, huge stalagmites and stalactites and crystal formations over 5,000,000 years old.
During the incredible tour, floating on your tube on the underground river, you will enjoy amazing waterfalls and exciting rapids. At the end of the cave where the river flows under the wall, our guides will ask you to turn off your helmet lights. Once you do so you will be in total darkness. Whether you keep your eyes open or close it won’t make a difference. I’ve never felt that feeling before and it was so extremely astonishing!
If you stay silent and pay keen attention, you will be able to recognize all the sounds of the cave. The water flowing, the waterfalls, the tiny bats that live in the walls above and other sounds that will be unfamiliar to you. It was there where I really felt the mysticism of this cave. Now I can understand why the Mayans used it for their rituals, it is indeed magical!
After that remarkable experience in the darkness while floating through the river in such an ancient cave, you will go out to the inland Blue Hole National Park which is just a 3 minute drive from St. Herman’s cave. At the inland Blue Hole you can swim and relax in a clear sapphire pool surrounded by sheer rock walls, hardwood trees and tangled vines, all emerging from a collapsed karst sinkhole 25 feet deep. The water, on its way from a tributary to the Sibun River, appears briefly in this jungle setting before disappearing into a large underwater cavern.
There is no better way to finish your tour than swimming in the Inland Blue Hole. It is the best pool possible! All you need to do is enjoy the sunlight that shines through the treetops while you are floating in this amazing clear blue water in the Belizean rainforest.