Rio Frio Cave is located inside the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. From the town of San Ignacio it will likely take you about one hour because most of the road is not paved and rather bumpy.
Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is free to enter, although they ask that you make a small donation upon entering or exiting. We rented a car and drove ourselves into the park and got by fine without a 4-wheel drive vehicle. However, the road is not in the greatest shape.
About a mile or so before you get to Rio Frio Cave, you will come across an abandoned camp site or village with homes in serious disrepair. It actually kind of feels eerie which only adds to the mystic experience of the cave itself. Caves were very important to the Mayans who inhabited this area, as they believed they were gates to the underworld. For this reason, Rio Frio Cave, and other caves throughout Belize, were used as burial grounds for the dead. (A little creeped out yet?)
There is a small parking area once you arrive at Rio Frio Cave, and then it is just a short walk down a well-marked path. As you approach the cave, it’s enormous mouth greets you with a dark allure.
A makeshift rock staircase guides you into the cave, which is shaped like a horseshoe. As you walk deeper into the darkness of the cave you will soon see light peaking out from the other side. There is also a small river that runs through the quarter-mile long cave, although this caving experience does not require you to get wet.
Rio Frio Cave is perfect for those visiting with young children who are not old enough for the more extreme caving adventures. We were able to walk through the cave while carrying our 16-month-old in a hiking backpack with relative ease. The steps can be somewhat uneven in places, but if you’re careful, it is definitely doable. There are also sandy areas located on the floor of the cave that are great if you want to let little ones run around and stretch their legs after the long drive to get there, and a picnic bench located just outside the cave if you want to pack a lunch and stay awhile.