Nohoch Che'en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve

Top choice caving

in Around Belmopan
Image by Henry Georgi / Getty Images
Image by Henry Georgi / Getty Images

This extensive network of limestone caves northwest of Belmopan is super-popular for cave-tubing, kayaking and spelunking. The Caves Branch River flows through nine caves, providing ideal conditions for floating through on a rubber tube or allowing for exploration of side passages that lead to other caves, such as the spectacular Crystal Cave.

A number of operators run tours – you can only enter the caves with a licensed guide (minimum one guide per eight people).

The basic 1½-hour tour includes a jungle walk and a gentle float through the caves, witnessing (with the help of your headlamp), schools of eyeless cave fish, stalactites and strange Maya paintings high on the cave ceilings. The cost (from BZ$70) includes life vest and helmet, and the tubes are linked together for safety. Tours can be customized to explore further into the cave system – the ultimate full-day tour includes Crystal Cave.

The turnoff for Nohoch Che'en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve is at Mile 37 on the George Price Hwy, then it's 6 miles down a sealed road to the reserve entrance. The reserve has toilets, snack shops and numerous tour operators.