Basilio Mes: Belize's Best Guide To Tour Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave

Basilio Mes: Belize’s Best Guide To Tour Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave

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basilio mes

If you want to go birding or cave exploring in Belize, call Basilio Mes.

Mes is a tour guide with over 20 years of experience in adventure tours. He’s one of only a handful of tour guides who are licensed to accompany visitors to the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave. The Belize Tourism Board has instituted strict controls on access to the cave, and you can’t just go explore it on your own.

What’s Special About the ATM

The ATM, as it’s known here, is a spectacular cave that is on many adventurous traveler’s lists. National Geographic recently ranked the ATM as the top sacred cave in the world for intrepid explorers. Its eerie beauty has also made it a featured destination on the TV show Ghost Hunters.

Important Artifacts

The ancient Maya used this cave as a site for their most sacred rituals and ceremonies, and the cave is a treasure trove of historical artifacts and skeletal remains. The most famous skeleton is the so-called Crystal Maiden, a young girl whose skeleton has taken on a sparkling, crystal-like appearance because of calcification. Basilio will lead you to her and give a first-hand detailed explanation of how she got there.

Because the cave’s artifacts are precious and easily damaged, visitors are now prohibited from taking cameras inside, wear shoes or touch any artifacts when they’re inside the caves’ main chamber. Recently, the Belize government passed a law requiring that a specially licensed guide must accompany all visitors to the cave.

atm cave belize

An Experienced, Knowledgeable Guide

Besides his ATM license, Mes has an Advanced Level Birding Guide license.

A native Belizean, Mes was born in the rural Toledo District. He is passionate about Belize’s natural beauty and amazing ecosystems. Mes can work with many tours because he’s fluent in English, Spanish and Mopan Maya.

Person of the Week

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Mes was recently named Person of the Week by Breaking Belize News. In an interview, Mes talked about why he loves being a tour guide:

“І lоvе ѕіghtѕееіng. І lоvе еduсаtіng guеѕtѕ vіѕіtіng Веlіzе аbоut nаturе аnd іtѕ bеаutу. І lоvе ѕhоwіng guеѕtѕ ѕоmе оf thе mоѕt аmаzіng bіrdѕ thаt wе hаvе hеrе іn Веlіzе. І lоvе еduсаtіng guеѕtѕ аbоut оur Мауа сulturе аnd trаdіtіоnѕ. I love shаrіng оur fооd wіth thеm аnd ‘bіggіng’ uр Веlіzе.”

He encouraged Belizeans to get to know the beauty of their country and work to preserve its natural treasures. That’s good advice as Belize reopens for tourism.


Get a copy of The Ultimate Belize Bucket List! Written by Larry Waight, a local with more than twenty years of experience in the travel industry, the book is packed with tips, information, and recommendations about all of the best things to see and do in Belize.
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