A Three Day Wildlife Adventure in the Rainforest of Belize
The Rainforest Wildlife Extension travels off-the-grid to a jungle lodge and eco-resort in the southern Maya Mountains.
Situated in 7000-acre Mayflower Bocawina National Park and adjacent to the world-famous Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve, your location is superb for adventure. This three-day trip is ideal for those wanting to experience the essence of this untouched, tropical rainforest while vacationing in Belize.
- Stay in an eco-lodge in the heart of the jungle – wake up to the sounds of the rainforest, with first light emerging through the mists.
- You can hike along bush trails to waterfalls and unexcavated Mayan ruins. Or for a quieter thrill, you can opt for hiking, waterfalls, and flora and fauna focused experiences.
- Go on a cultural/birding/wildlife excursion to the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve and some of the local villages.
- This adventure is ideal for guests who would like to explore the tropical rainforest enjoying nature, birdwatching and wildlife viewing while vacationing in Belize. At Bocawina Rainforest Resort you can also choose from a range of fully guided adventure experiences.
Available any date, any time of year. This Extension works wonderfully before or after any of our Expedition trips, or can be booked as a stand-alone itinerary. Call us directly to help you coordinate the dates.
Meals: Lunch & Dinner
Your adventure starts in the coastal town of Dangriga. From here you’ll travel a short distance “off the grid” and into the southern Maya Mountains. You’ll have a special welcome at our rainforest lodge where you’ll be staying for the next two nights. This is a true eco-resort in the middle of Mayflower Bocawina National Park. The lodge is powered by an array of solar panels and a small-scale hydroelectric generating station. Wi-Fi is available in the restaurant so you can share daily experiences with family and friends from this remote rainforest setting.
You’ll start your trip by settling into our lodge and learning about the property and the experiences that lie ahead in the surrounding mountains and rainforest. This afternoon you will venture on the Bocawina Rainforest Trail Walk, you will hike along bush trails as you discover local birds, wildlife, waterfalls, and unexcavated Mayan ruins. Your guides will point out medicinal plants and bring to life the layers of biological diversity that make the worlds’ tropical rainforests such a rewarding experience.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Rise with the sun and be on the grounds for the first light of day emerging through the jungle mists. Waking up to the sounds of the tropics is a pure delight, with the chatter of parrots and parakeets flying overhead, the fresh morning air scented with tropical blossoms, and the expectation of an exciting adventure-filled day ahead. There is no need to venture far to experience the heart of the jungle. Finding a quiet spot to sip a coffee with binoculars close at hand is a sure way to soak in the essence of the rainforest.
After breakfast, you will go on a cultural/birding/wildlife excursion to the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve and some of the local villages. The Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Cultural Village Tour travels by van twenty minutes from our jungle lodge to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Reserve. You will enjoy a guided trail walk and some amazing bird watching and wildlife viewing opportunities. Cockscomb is home to the world's largest concentrations of jaguars, as well as other endangered animals including ocelot, margay, baird's tapir, and scarlet macaw.
After the hike, you will visit the nearby Maya Center, the Women's Craft Cooperative, and Che-il Cacao - a traditional cacao chocolate maker. As you wind your way back to the jungle lodge, you will drive through the tranquil Creole Village of Sittee River, stopping at the historic Serpon Sugar Mill. From there you will enjoy a traditional lunch at a beachside café in the small fishing village of Hopkins. Hopkins is considered the cultural capital of the Garifuna people in Belize and is a great place to experience the food, music and traditions of the Garifuna people.
This evening, you may want to sign up for the eco-lodge’s optional nocturnal hike. A walk in the rainforest is magical at night, exploring the moonlit trails and listening to the calls of the crickets, frogs and birds. You are likely to encounter paca, owls and kinkajou …and maybe even see a wildcat!
Meals: Breakfast (if you arrived after lunch on Day 1 then lunch can be included on this day)
Victoria Peak, the highest peak in Belize, emerges early from the mists this morning. It reminds us of the many secret places that lie hidden in the swaths of green jungle. Five species of wildcats pad silent trails and the legendary Harpy Eagle nests in the upper reaches of the canopy. Day three is completely flexible. You can stay close to the lodge or follow a trail to a favorite pool or waterfall. We highly recommend a morning birdwatching guided tour, with over 290 species identified in the property, this National Park is ideal for birdwatching aficionados. Your return transportation by van to Dangriga can be arranged for either before or after lunch.
A three-day off-grid wildlife watching & hiking in the rainforests of Southern Belize.
Belize is home to the largest tracts of unspoiled rainforests remaining in Central America. Until only recently, Belize was a forgotten corner of the Caribbean. With no plantation history and few if any economic bonanzas there were minimal incentives for settlement and development over the last 200 years. This legacy of neglect has resulted in a modern-day treasure trove of virgin forests laced with mountain clear rivers. The region is characterized by moderate to heavy rainfall during the wet season (June through November) and drier, sunnier weather from December through May. The Bocawina Reserve where our trip takes place has five waterfalls within hiking distance of our lodge. The population is primarily Maya. Scattered small villages border the green hills rising into the highest peaks of the Maya Mountains. Linking the communities there is one main road called the Southern Highway. Most of the road has been paved in the last few years, bringing change to the area in the form of increased trade, electricity to villages and more small scale tourism development.
Belize Broadleaf Tropical Rainforests
The year-round growing season, plentiful precipitation and millennia of evolution has yielded this area with a tremendous biological diversity. This rich nutrient cycle supports a diverse range of plant life, where huge buttressed Ceiba trees to the smallest of fungi thrive. High above the forest floor is the enchanting world of the broad-leafed canopy. The canopy may tower 100 ft or more, with massive hardwoods like Santa Maria, Mahogany and Sapodilla trees forming a broad canopy, and in turn supporting many species of Epiphytes (air plants). This habitat provides for a unique community of wildlife, with many species spending most of their life inhabiting the roof of the rainforest.
Large tropical birds are frequently sighted. We see toucans with their oversized bills flying from one fruiting tree to the next. High overhead loud squawking alerts us to the presence of scarlet macaw. Once in view, the size of the bird and the splendor of their red and blue plumage is unmistakable. There is also a multitude of falcons, hawks, and vultures scavenging and hunting from the sun bright upper canopy down to the mottled light of the forest floor. Also found in the southern Belizean rainforest are a number of bizarre mammals. The largest of these is Belize’s national animal, the Baird's tapir - locally known as the mountain cow. It has a large hippopotamus- like body and a long snout, much like the fabled aardvark. The tapir, along with the white-lipped and collared peccary and the jaguar, are some of the larger mammals that inhabit the river valleys and forests where we travel.