Finding Adventure in Belize

Two people floating in inner tubes with the dark entrance of a cave behind them.
Cave tubing involves floating on a river in a large rubber inner tube as you pass through cavernous chambers and jungle. Photo © Nick M., licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

With pristine coral reefs, epic mountains, and teeming jungles, Belize is the ideal destination for outdoor adventure. Get your heart racing by exploring the largest cave system in Central America, more than 11 national parks, and numerous forest and marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries.

Bag a Peak

Arrangement a summit hike of Victoria Peak, the second-highest point in Belize at 3,675 feet. The steep three-to-four day trek (30 miles round-trip, Feb.-May only) starts from Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, near Maya Centre. You’ll be one of the few to reach the summit, where you can celebrate with a panoramic view of Belize’s coastline.

Climb a Waterfall

Thrill seekers will love rappelling their way down Mayflower Bocawina National Park’s five stunning waterfalls of varying heights—from the “smaller” Bocawina Falls, at a height of 125 feet, to the 1,000-foot Big Drop Falls.

In the Toledo District, take a refreshing swim in the gorgeous waterfall pool at the Río Blanco National Park—after cliff diving from the top of the waterfall.

Dive the Barrier Reef

Belize’s claim to fame is the second-largest barrier reef in the world, home to some of the top dive sites. The great Blue Hole is the holy grail of diving. This circular sinkhole, with depths of more than 400 feet, is not for novices. Prepare to roam through caverns and around stalactites and, if you’re lucky, hang out with nine-foot grey Caribbean reef sharks.

Go Underground

Spelunking in ancient Mayan caves is a must in Belize. Actun Tunichil Muknal tops the list, but there are numerous caves worth exploring. The Waterfall Cave, in the Cayo District, won’t disappoint. Located at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company and Jungle Lodge, it’s a long hike through a dry cave with low ceilings. The reward is a waterfall that topples over the rocks; the brave can climb up the rocks and jump down into the refreshing pool. While you’re there, go for your next thrill: Ian Anderson’s Black Hole Drop, an unforgettable full-day experience of rigorous hiking followed by rappelling 400-feet into the rainforest, landing at the entrance of a cave.

Cave tubing is as adventurous as it gets. This popular activity involves floating on a river in a large rubber inner tube as you pass through cavernous chambers and jungle, dodging stalactites and rocks as a helmet lamp lights your way. The most exciting cave tubing experience is on the Caves Branch River, in the Cayo District.

Hike the Rainforest at Night

The thrill of a night rainforest hike is unlike any other. You haven’t experienced the jungle until you see it come alive in the dark of night, guided only by your flashlight. Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company and Jungle Lodge and Pook’s Hill Lodge offer nighttime hikes and tours, such as night canoeing on a lake or river—talk about an adrenaline rush!

Swing Through the Jungle

In Cayo’s Mountain Pine Ridge, the folks at Calico Jack’s challenge you to go for el columpio, the jungle swing. Grab hold of a rope from the top of a re-created Maya pyramid and swing 200 feet up in the air into rainforest oblivion.

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