Belize Top Destinations
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary / Jaguar Preserve
Belize travel destination
The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as the Jaguar Preserve and situated within the shadows of the Maya mountains. The Cockscomb Basin encompasses some 100,000 acres of tropical forest, rising from 300 to 3,675 ft. at the summit of Mt. Victoria. Most of its protected acres are east of the Southern Highway between Dangriga and the Turn off to Placencia. The entrance to the sanctuary is in the village of Maya Centre, which is at Mile 15 on the Southern Highway in the Stann Creek District. The parks headquarters are 7 miles further west on a dirt road. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1984 as a reserve to protect a large population of jaguars. It is the world’s only jaguar reserve and home to other exotic wildlife. Since the sanctuary is home to numerous members of the elusive cat family, there is also a large population of mammals and birds to support the food chain. Travelers can easily spot some of these animals when visiting.
The main feature about the Jaguar Preserve is its trail network. It is the most extensive of any other National Park in Belize. Jaguars are often found in dense forests and swamps with good cover and simple access to water. The best time to spot one is at dusk or dawn. Wildlife happens to be more active during the rainy season from June to November while birding is better in December until March. The animals are livelier on cloudy, cool days and tourists usually go to Cockscomb Basin to hike, camp, kayak, canoe, tube, and swim.