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Cave Tube Through the Water Filled Caverns of Belize

Annette White cave tubing in BelizeI had always thought that I would be accomplishing the 'exploring a cave' bucket list goal by spelunking through the mud-filled, bat-infested, claustriphobically narrow caverns of California, which I was elated to do.

But, when I heard that there was such a thing as cave tubing my direction turned to the water-filled, bat-infested,  claustriphobically chilly caves deep in the rain forest of Belize. Same thing.
tubes for cave tubingcave tubing headquartersAfter reading numerous, literally hundreds (because I am obsessive like that), reviews on TripAdvisor I decided on Cave Tubing with Vitalino Reyes. He happened to be half the price of the cruise lines ($50 per person) for, what seemed to be, a better experience.

Yes, I am pretty cheap. But, I would have happily forked over the extra fifty bucks if I thought my safety would have been compromised.

There were so many praises about this cave tubing tour group that I felt confident. I emailed the company and got a super rapid response. High-speed internet must exist in Belize. They required no money up front, just our word that we would be there. After confirmation, I received an email with a foolproof map on how to locate them when we were at port.
water shoe booth for cave tubingWe were greeted by Vitalino himself, a humble, sweet man who introduced us to our guide and directed us to a small 6-person van which far exceeded the large tour buses that we had been used to on this vacation. The ride was about an hour, but filled with historical information, a shopping stop (AKA: potty break) and  a quick glimpse inside the streets of Belize. We arrived at our destination and parked amongst the dozens of other buses.

Most folks had brought their own water shoes, but we opted to rent ours for a mere $3.

A part of me had the fear that they may be infested with all sorts of Belizean critters and wondering if they sanitized them after each use like bowling shoes. Probably not. We were then issued our ginormous yellow tubes and lighted helmets. We were ready for business. But, not so fast.  We now had to walk, with our helmets on and lugging a 4-foot innertube, to the water which was a 45 minute hike away.

After trying ten different ways to carry my tube, which was almost bigger then myself, I opted for resting the inner circle on my head. Highly recommended.
cave tubing risk level sign
When we arrived at the waters-edge, our butts were plopped into the tube and our legs linked together. We looked like a giant yellow caterpillar, pretty sure we would not be turning into a beautiful butterfly anytime soon.

For the next hour we were floated through the canals, learning the history and witnessing the beauty.

During the high rain seasons, the cave tubing adventure flowed more easily, but now our poor guide was subjected to an Olympic-like swim while towing us throughout. It seemed like harsh labor or a fantastic exercise regime. Not tipping him would have almost been a crime.

This was not exactly the "white-water rapid" experience that I had envisioned, but a perfect excursion for all ages. My one big regret was not having a waterproof camera…still kicking my self, really.Belize MealOn the bus ride back, we were taken to Vitalino's personal restaurant (& home) where we indulged in a traditional Belizean meal made by the wife, aunts and children. We munched on rice & beans, spiced chicken and a never-ending supply of rum punch. I took an interest in the bottle of Cashew Wine for sale and when the driver overheard this he went back into the restaurant just to get me a sample.  All said and shared, Cave Tubing with Vitalino's and his staff was one of the highlights of our trip. They were authentically nice, family folks who knew how to make their guests feel at home and their passion for their country was infectious.

Have you ever been cave tubing?

16 Comments

  1. Wow!  I'm so impressed.  One of my biggest fears is water within caves (even man made "caves" in amusement parks).  But since I'm big on conquering my fears, I wonder if I should put this on my list…

  2. Sounds like an awesome experience in customer service as well as an adventure. I hate we didn't get to see more of Belize when we were there for our port day and our table mates did a cave tubing excursion that they raved about. I think it would be fun and relaxing, esp. if you could have a cooler trailing behind you…

  3. Love the cooler idea ;)

  4. You absolutely have to add this one to your list! I felt pretty safe knowing that this was the tour companies livelihood, so I was sure he didn’t want to screw that up.

  5. Wow what a great experience. I've been seeing a lot more cave activities lately but I've only been walking through some caves in Missouri. I need to step up my game!

  6. This is a great post. We just booked a cruise and will be doing this very activity and I'm totally excited. :) I'll be sure to bring a waterproof camera – thanks for the tip!

  7. Yes…bring a waterproof camera and carry the tube on your head! I did the stingray, hell, turtle farm too. If you have any questions just let me know.
    Have a fantastic time!!!

  8. This has been one of our favorite excursions of all time. Too bad all we had at the time was one of those old disposable waterproof cameras. I doubt we have one picture of one of those darn bats… those things were every where.

  9. I so wish that I would have had a waterproof camera with me!

  10. Ever since I read this post, I wanted to try something similar.  I managed to go caving in an inflatable kayak in Thailand, and saw sooo much wildlife.  I think you would love it! This is the post I wrote about it:
    http://emmasbucketlist.com/2012/12/26/caving-in-a-sea-canoe-in-thailand-with-john-grays/

  11. AMAZEBALLS! That’s all I can say.

  12. It was! You should definitely try it if you get to Thailand… BEST way to see the islands in my opinion :)

  13. I am very glad that you had done the Cavetubing adventure invented in Belize. We at http://www.cavetubing.bz are the pioneers of the pursuit. It would be my great pleasure to take you to this natural wonders, the best in the world, the only place in the world where you can enjoy the leisurely ride in a fancy Yellow Tube with handles, headrest,cupholder,etc. Thanks so much for supporting a local family owned business.

  14. This sounds thrilling. Do you have to be able to see to know what to do or do you just hold on for the ride? I have a fear of bats so I would like to conquer that by zooming through a cave full of them. :-)

  15. You don’t have to be able to see, you can just hold on and they will tow you!

  16. Great. Thanks. :-)

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