Thinking of hiking the famous Victoria Peak? Here’s how to do it
Despite being the second highest elevation (approx. 3,670 ft/ 1,120 m)in Belize whose summit is many mountain climbers’ holy grail, the rumor goes less than 200 people have actually reached the top of this herculean mountain. That doesn’t stop adventurous travelers and intrepid Belizean hikers from trying, though, and many do in fact get to witness the vast rainforest canopy from atop the jutting rock. Every year, (pandemic notwithstanding) adrenaline-chasing hikers await impatiently for the dry season to open so they can finally take on the arduous journey they have spent months – if not more – preparing for.
A much-needed reprieve from a year cooped up indoors, spending three to five days in the Belizean jungle with only the broad-leafed trees and curious fur-covered fauna as sleeping companions is definitely welcomed. The journey begins at the world’s only jaguar preserve, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in the Stann Creek District. This protected area on its own is one travelers must explore, if not for the sole reason of the impressive double waterfalls after the hike (but that’s for another time.) This time, you begin the journey here so that 27km later, the sight of undulating green-carpeted hills below you is seared into your memory forever.
Most complete the first leg of the journey in 12 –19 km, stopping at a camp to rest for the night. After settling into your comfy hammock and falling asleep to nearby gurgling streams (no white noise machine needed here), you awake and set off on to summit the daunting Victoria Peak. It usually takes three to six hours of steep inclines, using roots to pull yourself up, and thigh-burning grapples. But by the time you arrive, the reward has never felt so refreshing. We recommend taking a moment to center yourself, and snap photos of the well-earned view splayed out at your feet. It is now time to return back to the 19km camp (and you just might spot one a shy jaguar or two on your way down!)
If this adventure screams “this is for me,” here are some tips to know:
- You MUST be accompanied by a certified guide in order to summit Victoria Peak.
- The journey is recommended for experienced hikers (or at least fit travelers.)
- Pack light (hence hammock instead of tent).
- Long-sleeved breathable clothing
- Insect repellant
- Lots of water & snacks
- Proper footwear with great grip
- Possess sheer will
For more information on activities to do in Belize, email us at [email protected] or call us toll-free at 1-800-624-0686.
Images credit: Kevin W. Quischan/ Belize My Travels Photography