6 must do activities in Mountain Pine Ridge!

There’s a lot to take in at the Mountain pine ridge reserve in the Cayo District of Belize and here are the must do firsts’ if you are an intrepid explorer!

The mountain pine ridge forest reserve area of Belize covers over 400km squared of land in the Maya Mountains and is the exclusive home of many of our wildlife species and some interesting jungle resorts.

Belize Mountain Pine Ridge

Of course with all these possible activities and destinations one can get confused, for that we bring you six (in no particular order) things you really can’t miss when up in Belize’s pine ridge!

1. Explore the Barton Creek caves

The Barton Creek cave system, one section of a much more extensive limestone cave system in the region is just about 2km long and home to a host of wonders.

The ancient Maya believed that the limestone caves that dot Belize were entrances to Xibalba (which roughly translates to “place of fear), their ancient underworld and home to their death gods.

Belize Barton Creek Cayo Caves

While canoeing through the mile long cave waterway the edifice opens up into large high ceiling rooms which are reminiscent of old cathedrals and centuries old Mayan pottery can still be seen perched on the many ledges overlooking the water.

At the end of the journey, breaching the cave door on the far side of the winding caverns will leave you wth the sense of having traveled through a portal to another world and back!

Belize Barton Creek The Lodge at Chaa Creek

What to bring:

  • *Nothing you wouldn’t risk getting wet*
  • Breathable clothing (Shorts and a quick dry tee or shirt)
  • Grippy shoes (or water shoes)
  • Waterproof Camera (or floating phone case)
  • Snacks

2. Swim in the Rio On Pools

A short drive up into the mountains one would happen upon the Rio On Pools, a wide shallow stream cascading over the granite rock formations, forming pools in the deeper crevices and mini waterfalls on the overhangs.

Rio On Pools Belize

The pristine spring water that races across and down the mountain is always clear and pleasantly cool even on the hottest of days, this mountain oasis makes the perfect rest spot for any phase of a trip, you might even want to make it your entire trip! Scenic and serene yet perfect for an adventure this is a definite must stop in MPR.

Rio On Pools Belize

What to bring:

  • Swim gear (any and all are game)
  • Towels (you’ll feel cold at some point trust me)
  • Dry clothes
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Any toys or games you think are water friendly

3. Shower under Big rock falls

Downstream from the 1000ft falls lies another visually impressive wonder of a fall. Big rock falls, so named because of the giant granite boulders that barricade the banks and indeed make up the fall itself, is a wonder to behold and an adventurers dream.

Big Rock Falls Belize

The sheer cuts on the rocks create platforms, ledges and grip rails which almost beg to be scaled and later jumped off from and the constant whoosh of the fall drowns out the noise in your mind and around you making it uniquely serene despite the chaos that seemingly composes it.

Belize Big Rock Falls

The swim against the stream is not for the faint of heart but well worth the heart pumping journey, the mist that engulfs the base of the fall will transport you to another world and make you forget where you were 10 seconds prior, truly a unique experience.

What to bring:

  • Hiking shoes (it’s a steep walk down and back up)
  • Back packs with snacks
  • Light water bottles (an icebox isn’t advisable)
  • Extra clothes
  • And action cam (for cool diving footage)

4. Sight the 1000ft falls

The 1000ft falls in Belize is as you’d imagine the tallest waterfall in the country and it is quite an impressive sight, especially being taller than any Belizean man-made building by about 90 floors! It is however, not as closely accessible as the other destinations on this list because of the thick brush and uneven valley leading directly to it.

1000 ft falls belize

The vista point is, however, magnificent, enough so to make you forget that we are unable to see it up close, perched on one of the leading edges on the valley it gives an incredible view of the surrounding area and after a short hike (caution: it is on a mountainside and there are no guard rails, it is a risk) even Big Rock is visible.

What to bring:

  • Appropriate clothing
  • A camera (you’ll definitely want photos)

5. Scale Caracol Mayan Ruins

The Caracol Mayan Ruins; seeming as though almost balanced atop the peaks of the Mountain Pine Ridge Range is the largest of our sites and is storied to have been quite the local power, on many occasions rivaling and trumping the inhabitants of Tikal, Guatemala to the west.

Belize Caracol Maya Ruin

The central site covers 15 square miles of causeways, temples, ball courts, Stella, tombs and a myriad of artifacts, much of which still remains unexcavated meaning there’s still a lot to be explored out there. Caracol, due to the height of its peaks and location has become a choice location for bird watching in the area, one of the most notable sightings is of the Scarlet macaws who only nest in a specific region of Belize that happens to be close enough to the ruins for sightings!

Belize Caracol Maya Archeological Ruin

Caracol, due to the height of its peaks and location has become a choice location for bird watching in the area, one of the most notable sightings is of the Scarlet macaws who only nest in a specific region of Belize that happens to be close enough to the ruins for sightings!

Birding in belize

What to bring:

  • Hiking gear (it’s quite a hike up!)
  • Camera (as always J )
  • Binoculars
  • Sun screen
  • As always: snacks

6. Take in the sights at baldy beacon

Belize Baldy Beacon

Somewhat of an oddity in Belize, Baldy beacon is so named because it has a stark contrast of foliage compared to the rest of the pine ridge area, trees barely grow there and it’s inhabited primarily by thick grass which gives it a bald appearance when seen from above.

Belize National Parks

There are rumors that circulate in relation to the lack of vegetation including that at one point sheep had been introduced to the area which all subsequently died due to digestive problems leading people to believe the ground just isn’t fertile enough to sustain very much life.

If you go there instead for sightseeing, however, the grassy knolls and brush covered peaks in the area offer breathtaking views uninterrupted by forest for miles around allowing for astonishing perspectives of the surrounding landscape.

What to bring:

  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • A wide angle lens camera (the panoramas are gorgeous!)

For a truly unique take on the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest range Tropic Air offers flight charters that will take you anywhere above and around the area and the rest of Belize.

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