Tata Duende Cave/Five Blues Lake
The park is centered around an intensely blue lake, still unexplored but so far thought to be 200 feet deep. It's used for swimming and boating, and sits surrounded by ragged limestone hills, many with caves, and all covered in thick forest. Almost 200 species of bird have been recorded here, including various water birds, among them the Sungrebe. Five Blues also boast caves, many with spectacular rock formations and Mayan artifacts (not to be touched). Many are used for bat roosts. Ecologists have found over 20 different species of these tiny mammals, some vital for eating thousands and thousands of insects every night, and others for pollinating forest plants and, commercial fruit trees as well. That's why if you do visit bat caves, keep extremely quiet, and don't disturb them. One of the easiest to see is the oddly named Lesser Dog-like Bat. It roosts in caves near the entrance where there's still light. Like all sac-wing bats, it hangs upside down with its elbows out and its head in between, forming a sort of W shape.
The ceramics at the site are significant partly because they are marked with "kill holes", which indicate that they were used for ceremonial purposes. Many of the Maya artifacts and remains are completely calcified to the cave floor. One artifact, named the "Monkey Pot", is one of just four of its type found in Central America. The Maya also modified cave formations here, in some instances to create altars for the offerings, in others to create silhouettes of faces and animals or to project a shadow image into the cave. The cave is extensively decorated with cave formations in the upper passages.
Animal life in the cave includes a large population of bats, large freshwater crabs, crayfish, catfish and other tropical fish. Large invertebrates like Amblypygi and various predatory spiders also inhabit the cave. Agouti and otters may also use the cave. These and many other species are quite common in river caves of this size in Belize.
Price: $100 pp. min. 2pax
Depart: 8:00 am