Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Belize Cave Tubing Shore Excursion

Belize cave tubing
Cave tubing begins with relaxing river float. © 2020 Scott S. Bateman

Cave tubing in Belize is one of the top shore excursions on western Caribbean cruises. It has been called the most popular adventure trip in the entire country.

We thought it was one of the best shore excursions we have ever taken.

The time we spent getting to the caves and returning to the cruise port was worth every hour. The first stage of the five- to six-hour trip was a bumpy, one-hour drive from Belize City to the Sibun Caves Branch Archaeological Park.

Once there, we were given large inner tubes, water slippers and caving helmets with lights, then went on a 45-minute hike through the rain forest. The hike included going through a cave and over a trail that was moderately challenging at times. Our guide hinted that jaguars lived in the area, but we didn’t see any.

Eeriest Shore Excursion Ever

Once we arrived at the entrance to the river’s cave system, all three children and both parents jumped into uniquely beautiful lime green water, popped through our tubes and immediately floated into the opening of the first dark cave.

Our guide explained the Maya archaeological importance of the cave system, which was used for spiritual purposes, as the light from the entrance grew dimmer and the darkness ahead grew blacker. The river moved us gently.

Finally, as the darkness grew greater, the guide suggested we turn on the lights in our caving helmets so we could see better. We drifted lazily as he talked, sometimes we bumped into each other with our inner tubes, and sometimes the children in the group would play around in the water.

We reached a point where no light from the entrance remained. Our guide suggested we turn off our lights together to experience the feeling of the water surrounding our torsos and legs and listen to the deep quiet of the cave. Almost immediately, a few of the tourists in our group turned their lights back on, as if nervous at the eerie blackness above us and beneath us.

Highlights of the journey included stalactites and stalagmites, pottery shards that were 1,000 years old, Mayan footprints and an underground waterfall leading into the Crystal Cathedral, a place used by the ancient Maya for spiritual practices.

We also stopped at one point to get out of the water and explore one of the larger portions of the cave on foot. The total amount of time we spent tubing was about one and a half hours.

Cave tubing in Belize is the eeriest experience of our travels, a great family experience and a highlight of any western Caribbean cruise.

How to Go

Help from the cruise line: Most Caribbean cruises have excursion information available on the ship and the ability to book an excursion before arriving at the port. Shore excursion prices range from $80 to $150 or more depending on the length and amenities such as lunch.

On your own: Many Belize excursion operators offer cave tubing tours. If you buy on your own, consider going through companies such as Viator that act as third party booking agencies. If you book directly to save more money, look for online reviews at major travel sites or consider contacting the Belize Tourism Board at for recommendations.

Expect to pay anywhere between $50 to $100 per person depending on the size of the group, whether you get it through the cruise line (which gets a commission) or on your own, the time of year and other factors.

Some cave tubing shore excursions cost more, but they often include other activities such as ziplining. Kayaking through the caves is an option in place in tubing.

Note that participants must be at least eight years old and at least 48 inches tall.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
August 15, 2022

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