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Cave Tubing into Another Realm

Cave tubing is synonymous Belize. The experience is made possible by the country's unique combination of geology, climate, and geography.

Much of Belize rests on a foundation of limestone, a rock that is easily sculpted by the forces of water. Belize is also a country of hard-driving tropical rain and swiftly flowing rivers. Over the eons, the water has carved out magnificent caves, especially along the banks of rivers and streams.

Cave Tubing in Belize In ancient times, the Mayans saw the caves as a gateway to the supernatural. They entered them to conduct religious ceremonies and strengthen their bonds with the deities of nature. In some caves, shards of pottery and ceramics testify to the Mayan presence.

Today, the caves are a remarkable tourist attraction. While committed spelunkers explore caves deep in the jungle, most visitors experience them through cave tubing.

Cave tubing is not for everyone. In most cases, getting to the rivers and streams that pass through the caves requires a drive over bumpy jungle roads and at least a few minutes of hiking. For nature lovers, however, the trek is a wonderful opportunity to learn about Belize's tropical ecosystem. Most cave tubing guides are only too eager to share their knowledge of the country's land and culture.

The reward at the end of the journey is stepping into a refreshing river or stream with your inner tube, headlamp, and life jacket. The tubing part of your adventure varies according to the season. During the dry season (mid-November through May), the journey will usually be slow and leisurely. There may be spots in the river where you'll need to pick up your inner tube and walk to deeper water. During the rainy season (June through mid-November), water levels are generally higher and the current stronger. Most cave tubing guides are experts at shepherding their groups. Nonetheless, visitors need to exercise personal responsibility and common sense.

Whatever the circumstances, entry into your first cave will more than compensate for any difficulties along the way. The caves leave most visitors awestruck as their headlamps shine on stalactites, stalagmites, and other limestone formations. Some cave complexes feature enormous chambers with cathedral-sized rooms. Others have the shape of an amphitheater in which you can almost hear the echoes of ancient Mayan rituals. You'll want to make sure that you're part of a group that is small enough to allow you to take your time within the caves and hear the water dripping from the ceilings. It's a sound you won't soon forget.

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