What to Bring Along:
- Bug spray
- Water shoes
- Camera (Waterproof)
We start at 8 am with a 45 minutes drive from San Ignacio Town and into Cristo Rey and San Antonio, passing through the Mennonite community (Amish). Upon reaching the entrance of the cave, we board our canoes and slowly paddle into the cave passage. This is a relaxed, but exciting canoe trip inside a mountain on an ancient waterway where you can observe grand cathedral ceilings in the cave, as well as numerous formations of stalactites and stalagmites. In addition to the natural beauty of the area, Barton Creek Cave contains many cultural remains left in the cave by the ancient Maya, centuries ago. Artifacts, Hearths, modified cave formations and human skeletons were deposited on stone ledges as part of the ritual activities of the ancient inhabitants of the Barton creek valley.
Barton Creek Cave is part of a large riverine system and one of the longest subterranean caves in the country of Belize. Cultural remains, however, have only been found within the first kilometer from the downstream entrance. This kilometer long space contains ten ledges above the river with evidence of ancient Maya activity. The first ledge is located on the left just inside the entrance to the cave, and continues to roughly 30 meters beyond the Maya Bridge that straddles the river.
The Mayas began utilizing the cave ledges for ritual activity; the ceramics that have been found suggest that the Maya were using Barton Creek Cave from the Early Classic (A.D 200 to 600) to the Late Classic Period (A.D. 600 to 900).