You’ve been hiking for a while now, the burn in your thighs promising sore muscles tomorrow. The forest surrounding you is alive with cicadas and rare species of birds. “Just a little bit more. We’re almost there,” the guide encourages. “It’ll be worth it.” You command your feet to take you just a few steps more, when you hear it before you see it: the roaring sound of gushing water ahead. You pick up the pace and there it is: Tiger Fern Falls in all its glory. And he was right, it was totally worth it.
Belize is often commended for being one of the leading Eco touristic countries in the region. In fact, it comprises 70% forested area, a proud feature we go to great lengths to protect. Because of this, there are forest reserves teeming with hidden gems such as highly sought-after waterfalls. From easily accessible falls to ones that require extensive hiking (like Tiger Fern), here are the best waterfalls in Belize worth chasing.
- Big Rock Falls. Easily one of the most popular (and Instagrammable) ones, Big Rock Falls is massive at 60 feet, the water falling into a small pool at the bottom and flowing into a bigger cenote that leads to a creek overflowing with rocks – perfect for setting up a picnic.
- Antelope falls. Found in the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Antelope Falls is arguably the most daunting to trek to. Usually only experienced hikers take on the steep terrain to arrive at the impressive waterfall after a 1.5-hour hike. However, you can reward yourself by taking a dip in the emerald pools and taking in the view of the rainforest and the Caribbean Sea.
- Tiger Fern Falls. Located in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Tiger Fern Falls is at the end of a trail with sloped easy-to-follow terrain. Halfway through the trail, you arrive on top of a mountain where there’s a breathtaking view of the entire forest before you continue back down on the trail. The waterfall is actually called Tiger Fern Double falls because there are two waterfalls waiting for you at the end.
- Thousand-foot falls. Despite its name, Thousand-foot Falls measures closer to 1,600 feet and is truly a sight to behold. It is thought to be the highest waterfall in Central America, within the 1,290 acres of the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. Situated only about an hour and a half from San Ignacio Town, this waterfall is a definite must do.
- Butterfly Falls. This waterfall can be found on privately owned land in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve and the hike takes about 30 minutes. Butterfly Falls drops about 80 feet and is surrounded by lush forests and lots of greenery. You’ll feel closed off from the world, perfect for meditating in nature and recharging.
- Rio Blanco Falls. Belize’s southernmost district is often overlooked but it possesses its fair share of diverse attractions and impressive scenery. Rio Blanco Falls is about 30 miles north of Punta Gorda, the district’s largest town. Located in the Rio Blanco National Park, the waterfall contains a series of cascades perfect for swimming. There is also a ledge for adrenaline junkies to jump off of and plunge into the cold water below.
- Cristo Rey Waterfalls. Though the actual name of this waterfall remains a debate, it’s no question this hidden gem is an underrated site near San Ignacio in Cayo. About a mile away from Cristo Rey village, the locals call it “The Showers,” and is small compared to other falls in Belize. However, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty as the water has a lovely blue sheen to it with gentle cascades ideal for children to swim in.
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