There’s something ominous and strangely scintillating about approaching the mouth of a cave, where you don’t know exactly what lies within—but for some reason are tempted to explore. At the Rio Frio cave in Belize, the massive, 65 ft. entranceway is as alluring and enticing a cave entrance you’ll find in any jungle. Though the cave is only half a mile long and light filters in from both ends, the mouth of the cave is the largest in Belize and makes for a grandiose entrance. A small river flowing through the cave has created very small beaches, and travelers who visit in drier months can have a picnic or simply relax on a beach inside of a cave. Though the surrounding cliffs are made of limestone, the climbing and rock scrambling surrounding the cave are additional, adventurous draws, as is the network of muddy trails that disappear into the forest. Unlike some of the other caves that are found in western Belize, access is via a three-minute walk from a large, accessible parking lot. This is a popular stop between San Ignacio and the Mayan ruins at Caracol, and a scenic, silent—and somewhat scary—place for stretching your legs.
Rio Frio Cave is in Cayo District in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. It’s a popular stop of many tour companies on the way to the Caracol ruins, and despite the fact it’s an enormous cave, there’s little need to pack a flashlight since sun filters in from both ends. Ideally situated at a halfway point, the cave is located about an hour from San Ignacio and an hour from the Caracol ruins.