Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Play in waterfalls and frolic in caves during a day spent in Belize’s Mountain Pine Ridge. A protected forest reserve of over 100,000 acres, the Mountain Pine Ridge holds some of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders. An excursion here will include the following:
Big Rock Falls
Part of the Vaca Plateau, Big Rock Falls is an impressive 60-foot waterfall boasting two large, deep emerald pools filled with spring water perfect for swimming or, for the more adventurous, cliff jumping. The water from the peaks of the Maya Mountains rusher over giant granite rock outcroppings and down the waterfall. The footpath to the falls is a 15-minute hike and involves some difficult climbing down hand hewn stairs to the valley below. Once to the water, you must walk over the large slabs of not-so-flat and sometimes slippery granite to reach the falls. This site is amazing, but only for those who are in moderate physical condition. This site can be substituted with Rio On Pools.Drive Time From Table Rock: 45 minutes
Adventure Level: strenuous The drive is 13 miles on unpaved roads and the hike down to the falls can leave even the fittest traveler’s legs sore the next day.
Rio On Pools & Falls
As the cool, pure water of the Rio On River runs over a moonscape of dark granite, it creates dozens of small pools and waterfalls that visitors relish swimming in. The smooth and comfortable surfaces of the water-worn rock just beg to be sunbathed upon, and jumping from boulder to boulder like the proverbial billy goat is often a favorite activity here. There are a long series of cement steps down to the lower pools and a well worn foot path (about 150 yards long with a few ups and downs) through sand and stone to the upper pools.
Drive Time from Table Rock: 45 minutes
Adventure Level: Moderate. Anyone can view this spectacle of nature and take photos of the site, no matter what your level of fitness. To access the pools and falls for swimming, however, you must either descend many stairs (and then ascend them back up) or take on a bit of a hike with the foot path. Increase your Adventure Level by jumping from boulder to boulder to get to farther pools and falls.
Rio Frio Cave
Rio Frio Cave is by far the most easily accessible of Belize's river caves. Everything is big in this cave! The two 65-foot arched entryways leave you in awe. Huge stalactites hang from the massive cathedral-like vault, which is part of a cave system the Maya used to bury their dead. Room sized boulders are strewn throughout the cave and a stream flows through, forming pools with cascading falls. Openings at both ends make flashlights unnecessary for viewing the cave's formations during daylight hours.
There is a beach area with a foot bridge for crossing the stream and getting to the other side, which leads to the exit opening. It is a quarter mile through to the other side, another equally impressive opening. (Do bring a flashlight to watch your footing as you walk through to the other end and to explore other caves in the area). Laughing Jaw and several other caves are also located nearby. The trails are marked; and you can explore them on your own, or with your guide.
Drive Time from Table Rock: 45 minutes
Adventure Level: Easy to Moderate. This is another bumpy dirt road drive, but the cave itself is very easy to get around in and it is a very short walk from the parking area to the cave opening. It is large and bright inside, so no worries for those who have claustrophobia. You can increase the Adventure Level on this trip by exploring some of the smaller and darker caves in the system. A military escort may be required to visit this site due to recent looting in the area.
This Adventure is available as a Full Day package with the Mountain Pine Ridge excursion.
Five Sisters Waterfall
This site is named for its five waterfall “sisters” lined up side by side to make their domineering presence in the Privassion River known. Providing cool refreshing swimming for visitors, Five Sisters Falls is another breathtaking destination in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. Accessed through the Five Sisters Lodge, the white cascading waterfalls in the pine forested valley below can be reached by descending a steep flight of steps or by riding the hydro-powered tram paralleling the mountainside.
Drive Time from Table Rock: 50 minutes
Adventure Level: Easy to Moderate. There are over 200 paved steps down to the waterfall, so if the tram is out of order the climb can get a bit tiring.
This Adventure is a Full Day package with the Mountain Pine Ridge tour.