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Belize: The Underworld

Belize: The Underworld

Belize has a huge system of caves to explore. Tourists often visit at least one cave while in Belize. Now, you might think that these caves are cramped and dark, but most are massive. There are even underground rivers that flow through these caves. This allows visitors to lazily float through them via an inner tube.

But what seems like a calm cave adventure is quite creepy. Especially when you learn that the Maya believed these caves were openings to the Underworld.

The most famous cave in Belize is Actun Tunichil Muknal. Try saying that three times fast! Belizeans and archaeologists simply call the cave “ATM”, and inside are some of the most important remains of ancient Mayan history – the Crystal Maiden.

The Crystal Maiden is the skeleton of a teenage girl who was sacrificed to the gods of the Underworld. Most archaeologists believe that human sacrifice would have taken place when the Maya experienced disease or drought. Killing people for sacrifice would only happen if the Maya felt they needed to make a bigger offering to the gods.

The Crystal Maiden dates back more than 1,000 years. Over time, her bones turned into a shimmering, crystalized skeleton and have become part of the cave floor. They are a reminder of the ancient Mayas past.

I think this super scared spelunker will stick with the science of caves and leave the spooky stuff to the archaeologists.




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