Tiger Cave in Southern Belize
Tiger Cave is a 90 minute hike from San Miguel, a village located within Belize’s Toledo District. Despite featuring a tiger in its name, the site actually got its name after a dog chased a jaguar cub into the cave.
Hiking to this spot is not something that just anyone can do, you will need a guide. The trail leading to Tiger Cave winds its way through a second-growth forest; that is, it is a forest that grew on the chopped and burnt remains of previous forested terrain. Notable features of the path include corn milpas (organized corn farms) and jungle streams. Make sure you ask your guide to point out any jippi jappa plants along the way; the jippi jappa, beyond having a fun name to say, is a wild crop of the rainforest, known to have a delicious and tender white heart and whose branches are used in basket-weaving. One remarkable hidden landmark of the trip would be Blue Hole, a hot spring.
The final leg of the journey of reaching Tiger Cave involves swinging from a vine held in place by a massive limestone boulder. After you make it to the other side, the cave is only a 5 minute trip from a broad sea-green creek that is crossed by canoe.
See also: The top 10 caves to explore in Belize
The Cave Itself
Tiger Cave’s entrance involves narrow, raised caverns that lead to a huge interior chamber. Several sizable holes in the cave’s ceiling allow the sun to penetrate its depths and light up the place. Over time, rainfall has managed to fall through these holes consistently enough to wear away the cave’s limestone floor. Historians will note that contained within are several large shards of pottery strewn about a ledge.
While no waterways run through the entrance chamber, traversing deeper into Tiger Cave necessitates crossing water. In fact, water is the means by which most people leave Tiger Cave; returning from the site involves canoeing downstream while a Maya guide indicates any notable flora and fauna that happens to wander into his field of view.
Tiger Cave may not be as well known as Belize’s other exciting adventure sites, but this is hardly a bad thing; the fewer people who know about a place, the less crowded and more special that experience becomes. Lastly, Tiger Cave is a half-day expedition, meaning plenty of time to explore other adventuresome parts of Belize.