Why I Wasn’t Thrilled About Cave Tubing at St. Herman’s Cave in Belize

St. Herman’s Cave is located in St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park in the Cayo district. We didn’t know what to expect since it was our first time tubing in a cave and were quite excited at the outset, especially coming off of a fun ziplining tour in the jungle earlier in the day.

Excited to get started.

Getting to the cave requires a relatively short and easy hike (if you take the lowland trail). I would estimate that the trail is no longer than 0.5mi (0.8km), but it’s hard to say because it was so muddy the day we went that it was pretty slow going – at least, for us. For our guide, Jose, who’s used to it, it was literally just a walk in the park.

Muddy conditions from the previous night's downpour had us watching our step.

The jungle environment is beautiful, and even the muddy conditions didn’t get me down. Entering the cave requires a short walk down steps and looks beautiful.

Walking into the cave.
Looking out of the cave.

So everything had been fine up until now. Our guide, Jose, is an earnest conversationalist and had kept us distracted through the slip sliding mud, and he’s quite knowledgeable about cave formations and the archaeological scene in Belize.

The sparkly innards.
Nature's lamp shade.

Then we got to the staging area, put the tubes in the water, hopped on… and well… kinda nothing. It was mostly pitch black in there, and the headlamps didn’t penetrate very far. The darkness was actually fine as it added to the excitement… but… there was hardly any current, so we barely moved…just mostly floated in place. At some point, poor Jose got off his tube, jumped into the waist-deep water and dragged our asses the rest of the way across the quite small cave.

I know it’s a crappy pic below, but it was damn dark in there. So what’s going on here? That fleshy triangle at the bottom is my right thigh, with my ankles hooked under Alex’s armpits (blue shirt/orange helmet). We were so daisy-chained to make it easier for Jose (yellow), who is currently standing in the water, to drag our asses across the cave.

Getting dragged in the dark.

Then it was over. And we hiked back in the mud to the park entrance.

So I was not a happy camper with that “tour” and through no fault of Jose. I would have preferred just hiking and exploring the cave on our own or even paying Jose to guide us on a hike in the national park, which covers miles of trails.

I loved the Maya Guide Adventures folks, but I would ditch this tour. Instead, I would highly recommend the two other tours we did with them: cave kayaking and Crystal Cave.

Thanks for trying, Jose!

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