The Cayo District Sights

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

  • Body Of Water/Waterfall

Published 03/09/2017

Fodor's Review

This reserve is a highlight of any journey to Belize and an adventure to explore, although the scenery may remind you more of the piney woods of the far southern Appalachians than of tropical jungle. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is in the high country of Belize—low mountains and rolling hills are covered in part by vast pine forests and crisscrossed with old logging roads. Waterfalls and streams abound, and there are accessible caves, such as Rio Frio. The higher elevations, up to near 3,400 feet, provide cooler temperatures and outstanding views. The best way to see this area, which covers more than 106,000 acres, is on a mountain bike, a horse, or your own feet. It's also not a bad ride from an SUV, which you'll need to get you through the Pine Ridge to the Chiquibul wilderness and the magnificent ruins of Caracol. Aside from the Honduras pines, 80% of which were damaged in recent years by the Southern pine beetle but are now recovering, you'll see lilac-color mimosa, Saint-John's-wort,

and occasionally a garish red flower appropriately known as hotlips. Look for the craboo, a wild tree whose berries are used in a brandylike liqueur believed to have aphrodisiac properties (the fruit ripens June through August). Birds love this fruit, so any craboo is a good place to spot orioles and woodpeckers. You may not see them, but the Pine Ridge is home to many of Belize's large mammals, including tapirs, cougars, jaguars, and ocelots, and in the streams are a few Morelet's crocodiles.

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Sight Information

Address:

Mountain Pine Ridge, San Antonio Village, Cayo, Belize

Published 03/09/2017

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