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ATM caves. I need some info please

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Oct 31st, 2012, 10:04 PM
  #1
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ATM caves. I need some info please

Hi, we are going to Belize in January and want to do the ATM caves because we have heard so many wonderful things about it.
Here is the question though, to those who have been there.

I know that you need to walk through the water, and do some swiming. That is all fine but wondering what the bottom of the river is like. Is it rocky, sandy, uneven? My husband has problems walking on uneven surfaces, for example he cant fly fish in the river because of poor balance and my balance is not that great anymore either.

Thanks for any info.
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Oct 31st, 2012, 10:49 PM
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I think it would be a difficult tour for someone with poor balance. The hike in requires 3 river crossings and the walk up through the wet part of the cave (after you swim to get in) is mainly up uneven, rocky stream bed with moving water. You can use your hands on much of it and the guides are good about suggesting where to put your feet. If you start with this photo:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyh...57622234749818

and keep hitting 'next', you'll get an idea of what the tour is like from the photos of our extended family group going through. Have a great trip to Belize, whatever you decide!
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Nov 1st, 2012, 05:03 AM
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The balance in crossing the stream is a bigger issue, IMO; the rocks are larger than cobble-sized, and slippery. The hiking trail there is done at a brisk pace, and is fairly level, but not all of it, and it isn't what I'd call even footing.
I think that the cave itself has better footing, for the most part; it's dry in places, but not bad in the flowing water. There's a bit of a scramble to get up to the level where the pottery and skeletons are (and an optional ladder at the very back of the that level). (They tell you exactly where to put your feet and turn your body to make that scramble.)That might be challenging for someone with balance issues.
If the balance is really bad, you might want to substitute a different cave experience, even though I hate to discourage anyone from the trip (our group had oldsters who weren't in the greatest shape).

Hopeful, really nice photos! (several look just like mine, esp. Cahal Pech, which I love; just different faces!)
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Nov 1st, 2012, 06:23 AM
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If you decide against it, take a look at Barton Creek Cave. You go by canoe there and are paddled by a guide. There are some relics inside like pottery and a human skull.
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Nov 1st, 2012, 09:18 AM
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Great idea, volcanogirl; I was trying to remember the other option (Che Chem Ha, with tons of pottery), but I think it's more grueling a hike. (I believe that there's a new cave offering right outside San Ignacio, too, Actun Chapat.)

ANyway, here's a sample site of cave tours: http://www.cayoadventure.com/Tours/C...CreekCave.aspx
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Nov 1st, 2012, 09:24 AM
  #6
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thanks very much everyone. Thanks for the alternate suggestions too, we will look into Barton Creek. We are spending a week at Cahal Pech so will have lots of other activities it looks like.
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Nov 1st, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Chechem Ha would, in general, have better footing, but the mile long hike uphill is fairly steep - not sure if that would be a deal breaker. Actun Chapat requires a jungly hike. There are some narrow places and areas where you are crawling over and around boulders; parts of the cave have very stable footing but not all.

There are 6 photos of Chechem Ha starting here - not very illuminating:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyh...57600122958803

Here's my 2012 trip blog; you can look in the archive down on the right for the Actun Chapat post, lots of photos.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections/

Hope that helps a bit!
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