The Crystal Maiden of the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-crystal-maiden-of-the-actun-tunichil-muknal-cave-belize?utm_source=atlas-forum&utm_medium=referral

I’ve never been into dark tourism/macabre places, but this was probably one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited. My dad, sister, and I visited the Crystal Maiden on the 4 of July in 2011, which made for the most memorable Independence Day ever!

The whole experience is incredible. Getting to the skeleton involves winding through a dark cave, complete with some scrambling over rocks, squeezing through crevices, and swimming through somewhat deep stretches of water. It’s eerily dark, and knowing what this place once meant to the Mayans made it feel even more surreal. And of course, walking around the spot where the Crystal Maiden lies is just unreal. The area is littered with bits of pottery and bone, and the way the skeleton glitters in the beams from everyone’s headlamps seems almost magical.

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Kerry - I totally agree! I usually prefer to stay away from crowds, but this experience was absolutely incredible despite being a fairly popular destination.

Our guide even took us on a special spelunking back channel to exit the cave where we had to squeeze through super tight rocks and drop into a pool beneath us. It was exhilarating!

I highly recommend dressing warmly (NOT wearing cotton) and understanding that you will be completely submerged in water at times. Also, don’t try to sneak your phone in, that’s why some of the remains have been ruined forever.

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