Mountain Pine Ridge is one of the most beautiful nature preserves within Belize, but many people never saw it thanks to the fact that it was tucked away from major roads. But the path to Mountain Pine Ridge has now been fixed and paved, and it’s more accessible than ever. That’s a good thing, because there’s a whole lot worth seeing there. Here are the five things you should absolutely make time for when visiting Mountain Pine Ridge.
1. Go Spelunking at Rio Frio Cave
The 65-foot ceiling at Rio Frio Cave really puts the scale of nature’s beauty into perspective, but it’s the unique rock formations that make this such a treasured location for travelers. In the past, Rio Frio was used as a sacred burial site for the Mayas, and that makes sense given how supernatural the interior’s massive and natural stone chandeliers look. Best of all, the entire cave is only about half a mile long, and it’s wide open. That makes it a perfect choice if you’re going caving for the first time or if you’re with someone who isn’t capable of more strenuous exercise. It also means that you’ll have plenty of time to see the other things worth doing at Mountain Pine Ridge.
2. Take a Splash in the Water
While Rio on Pools is a completely natural set of rock and water formations, it has the joyous appeal of a water park. A huge number of pools of varying sizes are available — meaning that you can have the experience you want regardless of your experience level or how much privacy you want to have. But the fact that the pools often tumble into one another makes it a great place to go exploring. And when you’re done getting wet, the Pools also offer one of the best places to have a picnic.
3. Go Bird Watching
Mountain Pine Ridge is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful tropical birds in the world. Hunting birds like the orange-breasted falcon are common sights throughout the woods, but you’re also likely to see colorful and unusual species like the Stygian owl, Eastern bluebird, and pine siskin. Many of the birds who call Pine Mountain Ridge home are migratory, so you can see different species by visiting during different seasons.
4. Check Out the Waterfalls
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the scale of Mountain Pine Ridge — but if you want to really make the most of your experience, your best bet is to follow the waterfalls. While there are plenty around, a few big ones stand out apart from the rest. Big Rock Falls and Five Sisters Falls are both popular choices, but the most stunning is Thousand Foot Falls. This accurately named waterfall is actually the tallest in Central America.
5. Explore Maya Sites
It may be hard to believe that Belize was once home to a massive and sophisticated empire that has more or less disappeared from the planet, but seeing the Maya sites is an eye-opening and existential experience. The pyramid of Caracol is buried deep within Mountain Pine Ridge, but it towers 140 feet over the surface of the ground. Visiting Mountain Pine Ridge doesn’t have to mean roughing it. San Ignacio Resort Hotel will roll out the red carpet for you so you can have all the modern amenities you want while still getting the full experience of seeing one of Belize’s most beautiful parks. Even if you decide to spend the night or camp out at the park, the staff at San Ignacio Resort Hotel can help you get the details just right.