This is #3 in the Belize Family Vacation Travel Series
Next on our Belize adventure schedule? River cave tubing! Our adventure base for the day? Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company and Jungle Lodge, located in the heart of the Belize jungle about an hour from our home away from home, Jaguar Reef.
Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company offers expeditions sure to please the most ardent adventurers and the family adventurers too. Caves Branch welcomes kids and families with plenty of kid-friendly activities and adventures, and that’s why we picked them for our family’s cave tubing expedition.
Get ready for some real adventure when you book a Caves Branch expedition. It’s the real deal here – so real it’s off the grid. So real that humans and jungle creatures alike are welcome here, as we were about to experience!
So let’s get this family adventure floating down the river. Our expedition of choice? The “River of Caves” expedition.
Caves Branch’s River Of Caves – Family Style
Floating through underground caves on tubes sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it. So what’s to see along the way? Massive stalagmites and stalactites, and perhaps a few bats who call the caves home. Oh, and Mayan ruins too! Yep, the river we were about to embark on meanders past not just bats and cool cave formations, but also a Mayan spiritual center. Keep a keen eye open for Mayan artifacts, dating as far back as 400 A.D.
But I digress. Before going anywhere, you’ve got to gear up. Cave tubing is a very dark adventure – seriously dark! Without headlamps, you won’t see much once you float past the main cave entrance. Headlamps – check. Tubes in place – check. It’s time to get this float in motion! Oh, don’t forget to hang on to your neighbor’s tube. You don’t want to float the wrong way now.
As you float along, marveling at magestic stalagmites and stalactites, don’t forget to listen to your guide. He’ll fill you in on Mayan life “back in the day.” He might even “pull over” and let you wander along on foot. So go on, get up close and personal with this stunning inner underground world.
Watch your kids’ eyes open in amazement to the natural beauty surrounding them as they float through this dark world. Introduce them to another world, one long since past but not forgotten. Seriously! Just look at the amazement in my own boys’ eyes. Priceless!
Remember those Mayan ruins I mentioned? I wasn’t kidding! Here’s an ancient Mayan femur. For real! It was wedged in the rocks, and left “as is” for everyone to experience. Your guide will direct your attention to this and other Mayan artifacts as you float along the river and wander through the caves.
Oh snap! Our cave tubing expedition has ended. Shall we say … it was awesome! And shall we say … all that adventure sure has worked up an appetite. Time to head over to the the lodge for some grub.
Close Encounters of the Furry Kind – Priceless!
Lunch was an adventure in itself! Well, actually, it was the unexpected outdoor adventure that occurred after lunch as we explored the surrounding jungle. It all began quite so innocent. A little walk outside, taking a “ride on a jaguar.” Gosh, isn’t he so cute?
Hey mom! Look at me! Wait? Is that a monkey on that jaguar? Where’d my boy go?
No, my youngest’s “inner animal” didn’t suddenly morph into a monkey. It really was a monkey! A Howler monkey to be exact. He’d just wandered in from the wilds to “play” with my youngest. Well, ok, he wasn’t totally wild. He’d adopted the lodge, and the lodge adopted him. He really was a friendly critter.
And yes, there was a brief moment of “mommy panic” involved, though it was quickly resolved by our awesome guide, who “introduced” us to the lodge’s resident monkey. Though I think my youngest had a bit of “monkey phobia” for some time afterwards!
Tips For Family Cave Tubing and Monkey Encounters
Are you intrigued by the thought of a family river cave tubing adventure in Belize? Whether traveling with younger children or the less adventurous, here’s a few tips to ensure you get the most out of your own river cave tubing adventure:
1. Discuss your kids’ ages and sense of adventure with Caves Branch or the lodge where you are staying to ensure you book the expedition that best fits your family.
2. Ask about water levels for when you expect to go. High water rides may be more intimidating for younger and less adventurous kids. Too high water can also result in a change to or cancellation of the adventure.
3. The cave is dark. Very dark. That’s why we wore headlamps. If your child is darkness phobic, this may not be the best adventure for your family. Our boys were apprehensive at first, however, once we began moving, their sense of adventure quickly overtook their fear of the darkness.
4. Don’t let go of your neighbor’s tube. No matter what! My oldest son and I were in a tube together. We accidentally did let go while preparing for the float. We got caught in a current running the wrong direction and had to swim our way back upstream to our group.
5. Be respectful when disembarking the tubes to explore inside the caves. You don’t want to trample over ancient Mayan ruins nor knock into a cave structure.
6. Beware of overly friendly monkeys.
Ready for Your Own Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Fun?
Every adventure is different. Unique in it’s own way. You may not encounter a wild furry animal on your adventure. Or you might. Either way, a Caves Branch river cave tubing expedition makes for great family fun and long lasting memories. It sure did for us! We still talk about that monkey.
Read more about Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch Adventure Company and Jungle Lodge and the various expeditions offered there. Traveling with kids and wondering if Caves Branch is right for your family? Check out Caves Branch Adventure Kids.
Have you gone river cave tubing in Belize? Cave tubing somewhere else? Share your adventure with us in the Comments section below.
Note: As with all my reviews, I did not receive any compensation or other consideration for publishing this article.
- Dreaming of Sun, Sand and Beaches
- A Day At The Belize Zoo
- Hiking The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
- An Adventure Through Ancient Mayan Lands
- Exploring Mayan Masterpieces
Images from C.Biederman and Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch Adventure Company.