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Popular Belize Cave | Actun Chapat Tour with St. Leonard's Tours

By 12/21/2018 3 minutes  (1)

Actun Chapat Cave is one of the best caves in Belize to explore! Inside this massive cave system are crystalized cave formations, flying and crawling cave critters, and a beautiful cenote, also known as the skylight. Actun Chapat is one of the best caving experiences in Belize! Similar to some of Belize’s famous caves such as Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave and Crystal Cave, Actun Chapat Cave holds secrets to ancient Maya rituals and sacrifices through the pottery and skeletal remains inside the cave.

Caving at Actun Chapat

St. Leonard's Tours offers fun and professional services to anyone who wants an adventure in Belize. One of their most fun tours in Belize is a spelunking journey into the underworld of Xibalba at Actun Chapat Cave. Accompanying us were 3 expert cave guides, Mr. Rodolfo, Elio, and Shanice.

The name “Actun Chapat” means “Centipede Cave;” and if you can make the connection, the cave is littered with centipedes inside. Don’t worry, they won’t bite.

Getting to Actun Chapat requires a short drive to Cave World Adventures Park in San Jose Succotz Village, and a hike for about 20 minutes before reaching the cave entrance. At the park there are many activities that you can do such as horseback riding, natural spa, rock climbing, and hiking. For our trip, we were interested in exploring the extensive cave system in the area so we headed straight for Actun Chapat.

Along the way, the first cave that we encountered was “Baby Chapat,” a smaller cave within the larger cave system. Passing Baby Chapat, we entered into Actun Halal, which is a rock-shelter where the Mayas carved faces in the cave’s soft flowstones.

After briefly visiting Actun Halal, we hiked a bit more before getting to Actun Chapat, our main destination for the day. The entrance to the cave was our first challenge. We had to keep a 3-point contact to climb inside the cave. Most the rocks were slippery so we had to be very careful.

Once we got inside the cave, we were met with grand crystalized rock formations, many broken pottery pieces, and, of course, centipedes!

Interestingly, each pottery piece is said to have been brought in by ancient Maya priests to conduct rituals and sacrifices for their deities. After the rituals were performed, they were then broken to release its spirit. Many of the pieces in this cave date back to as early as 1800 A.D. - so fascinating!

Exploring Actun Chapat, we entered into one of the largest chambers I have ever seen! The cave ceilings were really high, and inside was rather hollow with little formations and rocks. What made the experience even better was turning off your headlamps and hearing your voices echo inside the cavern.

After a lot of walking and a lot of rock climbing, we made it to the skylight! Our guide, Elio, explained that the skylight is a cenote or sinkhole that the Mayas believed was the entrance to the underworld of Xibalba.

The sinkhole is caused by the process of carbonic acid softening of the minerals inside the limestone mountains, which later collapses. The carbonic acid comes from water that had accumulated on top of the mountains.

Making it to the skylight was definitely worth all the climbing and crawling! We wanted to capture this moment with as many pictures possible.

If you’re looking for a cool caving experience in Belize, then Actun Chapat is the cave to go! It is one of the most beautiful underground caves in Belize filled with ancient stories, massive rock formations, and a magnificent skylight.

Where is Actun Chapat located?

Actun Chapat is located in Cave World Adventures located at #1 Minhocão Trail, San Jose Succotz Village in the Cayo District of Belize. Cave World Adventures is an adventure and wilderness park created as a preservation project for Belize’s flora and fauna.

How to get to Actun Chapat?

Getting to Actun Chapat takes a total of roughly 1 hour and 35 minutes from San Ignacio Town. This includes the time to get from San Ignacio to San Jose Succotz Village (15 minutes), the drive on Waterhole Road (1 hour), and the hike from Cave World Adventures to the cave entrance (20 minutes). Getting to Actun Chapat from Belize City would take 3 hours and 35 minutes. You can get to Actun Chapat in a private vehicle or car rental. St. Leonard’s Tours offers pickups within limits of San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town, but they can also arrange pickup anywhere in Belize for an extra transportation fee. You can contact them here on Belizing.com

When is the best time to go to Actun Chapat?

The best time to visit Actun Chapat is in the morning - you don’t want to be hiking out of the cave when darkness is approaching. Taking into consideration that most days in Belize are warm and sunny, any day is appropriate to go spelunking in Belize. A pro tip is to always check the weather before booking an outdoor adventure tour.

What is the level of difficulty of Actun Chapat?

On the difficulty scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most difficult, Actun Chapat is a 4.5. Inside the cave is rather slippery, even in the dry season and exploring the cave requires a lot of crouching and climbing.

Compared to one of our recent caving adventures at the Crystal Cave, also known as the Mountain Cow Cave, Actun Chapat is quite easy. On the difficulty scale of 1 to 10, Crystal Cave was an 8.

How much does this tour cost?

The cost of visiting Actun Chapat with St. Leonard’s is $135. This includes transportation from San Ignacio, all entrance fees, private guide, equipment, lunch, and water. You can book this tour from this link: https://belizing.com/Actun-Chapat-Cave-and-Xunantunich-Combo/

What to bring/wear to Actun Chapat?

You should pack snacks (if you’re always hungry like me), a complete change of clothing (you WILL get dirty inside the cave), sturdy hiking boots (the cave is VERY slippery), and a change of footwear (you don’t want to be stuck in muddy shoes after the trip).

If you are daring enough to explore Actun Chapat, book this tour today with St. Leonard’s Tours and #letsgobelizing!

Learn More
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Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Your adventure starts with an 8 am pick-up from your San Ignacio hotel. You will then have a short drive to the stables where your personal guide will enthrall you with the site's ... morehistory and fauna of the archeologically rich San Lorenzo area for approximately two hours. Once you leave the farm you then take an approximately 1-hour drive to the amazing Big Rock Falls. Once at the falls, you will enjoy your home-cooked lunch. Although the path to the falls will require some physical agility, the opportunity to witness and swim close to this spectacular 150-foot cascade is a must-see. After a few hours of frolicking in the water, you will be ready for your drive back to your San Ignacio hotel. Alternatively, you may opt to curtail your time at Big Rock Falls and enjoy the sedate Rio On Pools as well before driving to your hotel. WEIGHT limit: 250 lbs per rider
/ Adult
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
A quiet riverside trail will take you to the village of San Jose Succotz where you will cross the river by ferry. Just a little further on is the well-known Mayan city complex of Xunantunich. ... moreAfter an hour of exploring this site, you will be happy for your steady steed to get you off your feet for your ride home. WEIGHT limit: 245 lbs per rider ATTIRE: comfortable long pants & footwear fit for riding & walking 
RIDING LEVEL: moderate - experienced riders Minimum of 2 persons 

Time: 4-5 hours (includes 1 hour at the site)
Service Providers
In this episode we speak with Dorian Rivero, owner of Private Belize Adventure and tour guide of over 20 years, to discuss what activities are available to visitors in and around Belize ... moreCity. Take a virtual walk-through of cave tubing destination Nohoch Che’en as well as the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha.
Guest Name:
Dorian Rivero

Angela Wu

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Cave World Adventures in San Jose Succotz has a number of caves and attractions to visit that you may book through Belizing.com