Nestled between the Caribbean and Central America, Belize has no shortages of stunning beachscapes donning the coast. Sun-blanched sand stretch for miles in seafront towns, ideal for summer travelers looking to cool off. But islands and coastal destinations aren’t the only places in Belize thalassophiles can get their watery fix.
With meandering rivers snaking throughout jungle towns, gushing waterfalls plunging into the rainforest, and glass-topped lakes tucked behind highways, swimming spots in Belize are not hard to find. Here are the best swimming spots in Belize if you want a change of scenery yet still crave a refreshing dip in the summertime.
Big Rock Falls – A Swimming Gem
The colossal Big Rock Falls lies at the bottom of a steep set of wooden stairs deep in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
Towering at 150 feet, Big Rock waterfall offers the most stunning vistas of the Privassion Creek cascading into natural pools. These are regulated by the big rocks surrounding the waterfall, hence its name.
The enchanting scenery is a mere hour away from the town of San Ignacio. The proximity makes for a great day trip paired with other jungle adventures hidden within the forest reserve. You can park your sunbaked self on any of the jutting rocks and let each rivulet wash away worldly worries.
Rio on Pools In Mountain Pine Ridge
Mountain Pine Ridge is the gift that keeps on giving, as is evident with the breathtaking rapids at Rio on Pools. The oasis wraps each guest in its greenery-shrouded surroundings, the tranquility pierced only by the chirps of birds and the gurgles of the ponds. With mini-waterfalls planted on walls and a series of ponds flowing into a staggering cliff, the pocket of paradise that is Rio on Pools is unrivaled. The natural attraction doubles as a wellness spa without the four walls (or hefty price tag). Feel the cascades massage the kinks out of your shoulder, leaving you brand new to continue exploring Belize’s swimming holes.
Explore The Macal River
Bisecting the broadleaf trees in San Ignacio Town is the unsung highway of the ancient Maya, the Macal River. Its longstanding history carried river travelers for years before becoming the adventurous waterway it is today.
The Macal River is easily accessible when at Chaa Creek, awaiting exploration a short walk away from your room. Take your pick from any of the lodge’s canoes and paddle towards eclectic wildlife and verdant woodlands. Out here, your everyday life remains at the riverbank and a new one promising rejuvenation, stillness, and peace flourishes.
You can brave the rapids and paddle all the way into town, or take it easy and frolic a few miles downstream. Have your Go-Pro ready to snap orange-hued iguanas napping on tree branches or azure-crowned hummingbirds flitting from plant to plant.
Five Blues Lake National Park
Arguably the most secretive of swimming holes is the Five Blues Lake National Park near the capital of Belmopan. This majestic watering hole beckons the wayward traveler, baiting those curious enough to seek out the hidden gem with its stunning five shades of blue.
Five Blues’ wonders extends beyond its near-miraculous existence; the national park is a birder’s haven. More than 200 species of birds have been documented here, and all five of Belize’s wildcats are rumored to be within its boundaries. But don’t worry, you’ll be the only thrill-seeker cannonballing into the cenote.
Other than its cerulean waters, the park boasts Maya caves carved within its limestone hills. If you’re up to playing archaeologist, tread lightly for several Mayan artifacts spend their days within their caverns.
Monkey Falls/Cristo Rey Falls
Another off-the-beaten-path marvel sits a mere 20-minute drive away from the central hub of San Ignacio Town. Cristo Rey village may not be crawling with travelers, but that’s what makes its hidden gem that much more appealing. Stumble far enough along the trail off the main road and you’ll be greeted by dazzling showers tinged the loveliest blue.
The waterfall goes by different names: Monkey Falls, Cristo Rey Showers, or simply “the showers.” But it won’t matter for all words will stay forgotten on your lips once you set eyes on the cascades. The moss-covered rocks may seem slippery, but make a lovely seat to enjoy the small falls pummeling into your back.
Encourage your companions to jump from the small cliff above the Instagrammable basin. Or you can join them in simply relaxing at the natural pools for a rejuvenating experience.
Vaca Lake sits just a few miles upstream from our Lodge in the upper Macal River Valley. However, the man-made reservoir has more tricks up its sleeve apart from being a natural stunner. Water lovers can revel in the beauty of the waterhole via a quirky, fun vessel that feels straight out of a movie. The water vessel is known as La Capitana pontoon and drifts gently around the lake.
Not exactly an average boat and far from a canoe, the pontoon allows you to see Vaca Lake and all its natural wonders with no rush. The open seating means you can admire wildlife and jungle views with no obstruction. (And take as many selfies as you wish.) Especially once you catch sight of the pristine waterfalls located in the reservoir. Your trusty guide will dock at one of these cascades, where you can grab lunch against the breathtaking backdrop.
The jungles in Belize hold more than lush broadleaves and jaguar paw prints. It cloaks myriad swimming spots for the traveler who’s had their fill of sun and sand. Each of these – and many more – can offer a delicious respite from the Belize summer sun. One that tans any victim lovingly if they forget to swathe on sunscreen. By taking a dip at any of these swimming holes, you come closer to appreciating all the hidden beauties in Belize. If you need help picking your first one, give us a call at +1-877-709-8708 or email us today!
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