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ATM questions

Colorado
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521 posts
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ATM questions

Trying to narrow down which guide/company to book. I read that one provides water shoes/keens to use which would be helpful. I can't find that post now so don't remember which tour company offered this. I don't have any and prefer not to spend $50-100 for some that I may not use again. Plus, based on our itinerary, this is the only time I would need them on this trip, so may be easier not to take up the room in the suitcase. Guess I could bring some old sneakers if needed, but does it get hard hiking in these after they are wet? Plus I would then have to pack wet shoes for the flight to our next stop.

Also, do you wear socks in the beginning while hiking in (I'd get blisters if I didn't) and then change into other socks for the part where you have to take off shoes, and then put dry ones back on to hike out? I'm a bit confused.

Any tips/suggestions are appreciated.

MayaWalk Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Caverns & Caves, Archaeology Tours, Taxis & Shuttles, Eco Tours
St Leonard's Tours
Cultural Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours, Archaeology Tours, Horseback Riding Tours
26 replies to this topic
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1. Re: ATM questions

I have worn my regular comfortable tennis shoes and some cheap crocs looking sandals .

Upon entering the main chamber You have to take off your shoes or sandals and here is were you need the socks .In the past I just wash off the little dirt and put on my tennis shoes the first time. The second time I used a cheap crocs looking sandals.

I know in some Chinese supermarkets in San Ignacio or at Belmopan, before you head into Atm at teakettle village too you can buy some cheap looking crocs that cost about 10usd.

But my conditioning of my feet may be different from yours since am always in flip flops.

Hope I help you with my response.

Edited: 17 May 2017, 15:01
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2. Re: ATM questions

You don't take your shoes off until you are nearly all the way into the cave. I wore a pair of socks under my Keens, and then just walked in the wet socks when it came time. They say you can put your extra socks under your helmet to keep them dry until they are needed too. The part that you are barefoot or with socks is very smooth rocks, and not hard on the feet at all. There is a ladder to climb though which i was unaware of. (I don't like ladders) but all in all the barefoot part wasn't bad at all. I saw just about every type of footwear in there though. Maybe consider a cheap pair of $5 Wal-Mart sneakers that you can toss afterwards. As long as they have a rubber sole you shouldn't have trouble with traction after getting them wet.

Colorado
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3. Re: ATM questions

Thanks for the replies. I think I'll bring an old pair of sneakers that are ready to be tossed out. They don't have a super tread left but I think that should be ok??

Also ladies... do you wear a swim suit under your clothes since it may dry faster than regular undies/bra and be more comfortable on the hike back as opposed to hiking back soggy? Do you just leave your change of clothes in a backpack etc in the van and then get them and change prior to the drive back to town?

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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4. Re: ATM questions

I LIVE in my Keens when I travel, they're generally the only shoes I pack in addition to a pair of flipflops (well, they're actually teva olowahus). That said, if you're planning to wear other shoes most of the time, the old sneakers and toss them plan sounds great. I wore a suit under my shirt and capris (worked better than shorts since they protected my knees), then changed into dry clothes when we got back to the van. We used Pacz and were pleased.

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5. Re: ATM questions

We went through Pacz Tours also and had a great experience with Oscar. There is a bath house there where the vans park. You can change there before and after the tour. I wore my swimsuit with a swim skirt for the hike and tour. The path to the entrance of the cave is a very well cleared path, with a couple river crossings. I put on bug spray before leaving the van and didn't have any issues with bugs. Hope that helps!

Tomball, Texas
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6. Re: ATM questions

How strenuous are the ATM tours. My wife and I are late 50's and both have some foot/ankle problems. We are in decent (but not great) shape. Can both swim but not strong swimmers. Will we be OK for the tour?

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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7. Re: ATM questions

There isn't much swimming but you hike a mile or so to get to the cave including crossing several streams and there's quite a lot of scrambling and climbing in the cave itself. We're fit - 60s now but in our 50s at the time - and I wouldn't say it required a high fitness level but it would be really hard on bad feet and ankles. Guess it would depend on how serious your issues are. There are a few photos from our extended family trip starting with the stream crossing here to give you an idea:

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Dallas, Texas
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8. Re: ATM questions

I went with ATM Cave Tour. They were awesome, but you do most of the work yourself. The company picked me up at my hotel and I trekked through the jungle til I got to the cave. Once I was at the cave they company helped some of the elderly or people that was not the best swimmers though the water. But once inside, it was mostly exploring by yourself. Unless you need help trekking for about an hour then help swimming to the cave, and help climbing the rocks, then don't over pay. The ATM tour is incredible and you should definitely not miss it.

San Diego...
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9. Re: ATM questions

I'm sad you can't take a camera into the caves... but did you get to take pics outside in the jungle?

CA
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10. Re: ATM questions

When we went, they had a very firm no camera rule - as in, if you brought one, leave it in the van. I would have loved pictures of the rain forest hike - it's quite beautiful. You can always ask your tour company, but I understand that if a tourist is found with a camera, the tour guide could lose their license for ATM access, and that's a huge deal.

We went with MayaWalk. I loved their company. They emailed me a set of pictures after our tour. They weren't pictures of us, but of a tapir, the jungle and inside the cave (from before the camera ban). The pictures were great, even if they weren't of our group specifically.

Hope that helps!

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