Belize: The Underworld
Belize has a vast system of caves to explore. Tourists often visit at least one cave while in Belize. One might think that these caves are cramped and dark, but most are quite vast. There are even underground rivers that flow through these chambers, allowing visitors to lazily float through them via inner tube. But, what seems serene is actually quite eerie, especially when one hears that the Maya believed the caves were the entrances to the Underworld.
Actun Tunichil Muknal is, perhaps, Belize’s most famous cave. Actun Tunichil Muknal is quite the mouthful, so Belizeans and archaeologists simply call it “ATM”. Inside are some of the most important remains of the country’s ancient Mayan history and a rather gruesome attraction – the Crystal Maiden.
The Crystal Maiden is the skeleton of a teenage girl, possibly a sacrificial victim. Her bones now have a shimmering, crystallized appearance due to the carbon build up in the caves mentioned above. She has quite literally become part of the cave itself.