Cayo District & Mountain Pine Ridge

Belize travel destination

On the western side of Belize, you will find the Cayo District spreading over 2,000 square miles of luscious landscape. This area shows an incredible wealth of interest and activities for tourists and is also the gateway to Guatemala and the incredible ruins of Tikal. The Mountain Pine Ridge is often named the main attraction of the area, but the Cayo District also includes many great Mayan ruins, the towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the border town of Benque Viejo and the lush valley between the scenic Mopan and Macal rivers.

Cayo District in Belize

Cayo District in BelizeA 90-minute drive from Belize City (70 miles) will bring you to San Ignacio, the principal town of the Cayo District and the second largest metropolitan area in the country of Belize. San Ignacio, which is built on seven hills, has a population of over 4000 people and includes Mestizo, Creole, Maya, Guatemalan, Lebanese, Mennonite, and other cultures. Both English and Spanish are spoken in this part of the country.

The Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve consists of beautiful, unspoiled mountain country complemented by rivers, waterfalls and caves and hosting the most beautiful flora and fauna. This Reserve is the only pine forest in all of Central America and the largest and oldest of Belize's parklands. Many nature trails and impressive destinations make Mountain Pine Ridge the ideal place for hiking and horseback riding, while the many rivers that run through it are great for kayaking and canoeing. Above all, the reserve is a wonderful place to contemplate nature and view birds and other wildlife, as well as its many incredible natural wonders.

There are numerous waterfalls in Cayo District. The highest waterfall, and in fact in all of Central America, is the Hidden Valley Falls (also called Thousand Foot Falls), a spectacular cascade that plunges over 1,500 ft. down the mountain. Other waterfalls include: Butterfly Falls, situated on the property of Hidden Valley Inn; Five Sisters Falls; and Big Rock Falls.

Cayo District in BelizeThe Cayo District district offers many great lodges, catering for all tastes and interests, each with its own personality, and most in attractive locations. Although you can rely on transfers and transport provided by the lodge, for greatest mobility and flexibility we recommend a rental car. This should be a 4WD as all the roads in the Mountain Pine Reserve are dirt. All lodges offer guided tours to the different sites including nature trails, jungle tours, and cave explorations.