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 these three beautiful natural wonders:
Part of the Vaca Plateau in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, 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 rushes 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.
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.
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: 45-60 minutes
Adventure Level: Moderate. Some climbing of uneven stairs is required and stones at the sites can often be slippery. The 13-mile drive to the Reserve is entirely unpaved, so be prepared for lots of bumps.
What to Wear & Bring: Bathing suit under shorts or lightweight long pants, shirt, hiking/walking shoes, and water shoes. Don’t forget your extra water, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a change of clothes.
*Restrictions: This tour is not for those who suffer from car-sickness or who have serious balance, joint, or mobility issues. Some modifications to this tour may be able to be made for families with small children—please inquire.
Duration: Full-day tour.
- Includes licensed guide, transportation to and from the lodge, and lunch.
- Minimum two persons
- A 50% cancellation fee applies to any tours booked and then cancelled by the guest less than 24 hours in advance
- Prices subject to change without notice