Caves Branch Belize

Underground River Running — Better than Tubing

Slickrock Adventures has specialized in kayak river trips since its inception as a kayak school in 1977. Today that tradition continues with our kayak trip down the Caves Branch River River in western Belize.

We run the Caves Branch River as part of our Belize Adventure Week multi-day trip. This full-week adventure tour includes this river trip, along with other activities such as whitewater kayaking, waterfall rappelling, ziplining, exploring a Mayan ruin, and three days on our private island for sea kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayak surfing, sport fishing, kayak fishing, paddleboarding, and board surfing.

Of all of the all-inclusive Belize trips available, this adventure package is a must do! This Caves Branch River kayak run is also available as a one-day trip for groups of minimum 8, with a maximum of 14.

Belize's Caves Branch River

Belize’s Caves Branch River
Sarah Moore

Cave Kayaking in Belize

Everyone knows about Belize cave tubing, but less is known about running this famous underground river by kayak, because so few companies have the equipment. Slickrock has been conducting this underground river tour of the Caves Branch River in Belize since 1991, using kayaks to explore this incredible underground river. The problem with cave tubing in Belize is that the runs have to be extremely short as this river is too shallow to allow an unimpeded float. Slickrock Adventures is the only company to use kayaks to run the whole section of caves.

If you are looking for more tours run as day trips in Belize, visit our Mopan River Kayaking page.

[photo credit at top of page: Tim Finley]

 

Kayaking the Caves Branch River

“We simply wanted to say that you gave us the vacation of a lifetime. Going into the trip, we had high expectations and you exceeded them by leaps and bounds. The trip had just enough activities to where it was challenging, but not to the point where it was too fatiguing. The variety of activities was fantastic too. Floating the Caves Branch River is not something that we will soon forget. The people, both guides and local staff, were more than friendly and made us feel comfortable in the jungles and islands of Belize. Everything else (food, transportation, entertainment, facilities) was fabulous too. You have a great outfit going on. We feel lucky to have taken part in your trip and hope to escape the worries of everyday life and relax in paradise with Slickrock again. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

The Hermann Family, Portland, OR

Belize Adventure Week, December 2008

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Belize One-Day Cave Kayaking Trip

One Day Tour for Groups

This one-day river tour is available only for groups of 8+ booking together, maximum 14. We do not sell this package to individuals. If you don’t have a group of eight, you can sign up for  either the full 8-night Belize Adventure Week package or the half week 4-night Belize Adventure Week package. We run the Caves Branch River on Day Four of this adventure itinerary.

Group size: Minimum 8, maximum 14.

When offered: Wednesday, Thursday or Friday only, Dec – April. Please inquire for availability.

Cost: $195 US pp, includes pick up and drop off in Belize City and lunch. No group discounts available.

Deposit: $75 deposit pp (8 minimum) is due to confirm your space. This deposit is non-refundable. You may make your reservation by telephone, fax, mail, or e-mail. Checks, money orders, VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted for all payments. The balance is due 60 days prior to departure.

Minimum and maximum ages to participate: 10 and 70

For families: We use whitewater, sit-on-top kayaks for everyone. The youngest person who may paddle themselves in a kayak is a 10 year old.

If the water ends up being too high to run the Caves Branch on the day you reserved, we will have to substitute another river of our choice on the day of the trip, because at some levels the river is unsafe. This does not happen often, but it does happen!

Paddling into one of the caves on the Caves Branch River
Jennifer Carlson

Instruction is Provided

Using modern sit on top kayaks designed for whitewater, our groups begin the trip with a thorough instructional class in kayak technique. This covers basic strokes, familiarization with balance and recovery methods, reading the river currents, and getting comfortable in moving water. No experience is necessary, but you do need an adventurous spirit. This is a great way to get to know Belize!

The Belize Caves Branch River flows through four caves on its course from the Maya Mountains to its confluence with the Sibun River. Slickrock puts-in near Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Jungle Lodge.

Caves Branch kayak instruction, Belize
Lucy Wallingford

Belize’s Premier River Cave

After the put-in you paddle through several miles of jungle and orange groves before arriving at a rugged section of hills that have eroded into what is known as karst topography.

Huge white cliffs covered with vines rise dramatically from the thick jungle, and suddenly the river veers right into one, where we enter a river cave that soon envelopes us in complete darkness. Using headlamps for lighting the way, the current takes us though the caves, which occasionally pass by openings into the jungle.

The second cave begins with a sump, where the water dives completely underground and leaves no passage. Here we must portage for a few hundred yards through the jungle to one of the windows mentioned above, where we can get back on the river and continue on. Dramatic openings covered with stalagtites and vines pass us by as we move in and out of the caves, and we stop at a tributary which joins the river underground and hike a short distance along this new cave.

No visitor to Belize should miss this fabulous one-of-a-kind experience! This truly has to be seen to be believed.

Entrance to the cave
Tom Holub

Caves Branch portage, about 1/4 mile
Rich Mitchell

What to Bring

  • 1 headlamp for each person (important!)
  • Dry clothes to leave in the van to change into after the trip is over
  • 2 quarts capacity water bottles for each person
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothes on that can get wet
  • Good river shoes with high traction soles and ankle support

The Caves Branch River trip is arguably the best one day adventure in Belize
Lucy Wallingford

Reservations and Cancellations

After a reservation is made: A Registration and Waiver of Liability Form is sent. The completely filled out form and the final balance is due 60 days prior to departure.

Cancellation policy: No exceptions are made to our cancellation policy for any reason. Your deposit of $75 pp x 8 persons is non-refundable. If we receive notice of cancellation 59-30 days prior to departure, 50% of total group trip cost will be retained. If we receive notice of cancellation 29-11 days, 75% of total group trip cost will be retained.; if notice is received within 10 days of departure, no refund will be given.

Unused services: No partial refunds or credits will be given for unused services such as meals or transport. Our trips are quoted as a package; credits are not given for services not used. No refunds will be given for any reason once the trip has begun.

Late arrival or departure: Any conditions out of our control that delay your arrival or departure may add to your cost; all extra charges caused by delays (catching up with a trip in progress) or any variations from the itinerary (early departure, evacuation) will be at the customer’s expense.

Slickrock reserves the right to sell additional seats up to the 14 maximum to others who might want to join this tour.

Paddling the Caves Branch River in Belize
Sandra Koch

Caves Branch River cave by kayak
Lucy Wallingford

River Equipment

Whitewater Sit-on-Top Kayaks: Big Yak by Ocean Kayak, Torrent by Perception

Paddles by Werner

Lifejackets by Extrasport

Final entrance, Caves Branch River, Belize
Kris Baird