5 Under-the-Radar Green Spaces In Belize That Will Surprise You 

by Gisselle Hernandez
Guanacaste National Park falls

Every year, thousands of travelers swarm to Belize’s bustling cities and towns. They take part in the country’s renowned food festivals, go bar hopping on party island Ambergris Caye, and have a packed itinerary for the short time they visit. But now and then, one might feel like taking a break from all the noise and retreating to somewhere with peace and solitude. Luckily, Belize has no shortage of pockets in nature that double as safe spaces. Natural behemoths like Mountain Pine Ridge and Cockscomb Basin immediately come to mind, but for avid forest bathers, these places may be all too familiar. When hunting for your next favorite green space to explore and meditate in, Belize has a few hidden gems up its sleeve. Here’s where to find them. 

Guanacaste National Park.

Perhaps the closest national park to a city, Guanacaste National Park sits at the entrance of the capital, the City of Belmopan. While small, this green space packs a punch as there are multiple things you can do within its boundaries. The area is a birder’s haven with myriad species flitting from tree to looming tree. The park has a creek ideal for taking a dip or simply hearing its gurgling while taking a stroll. After all, the protected area spans about 50 acres of lush greenery, rich in biodiversity. It also serves as a quick palate cleanser after spending the day exploring the urban Belmopan. 

Rio Blanco Falls. 

Deep in the south of Belize lies some of the country’s densest jungles. In Toledo, Belize’s southernmost district, the Maya Mountain range holds unspoiled territories that fancy the most curious and nature-loving travelers. Here is where you’ll find Rio Blanco Falls. As the name suggests, the attraction is a series of waterfalls that are not as highly trafficked as its northern counterparts.

The falls at Rio Blanco National Park, photo courtesy APAMO Belize

The massive falls require a little hiking to get to, allowing you ample chance to immerse in the surrounding sceneries. The site is about 30 miles north of the town of Punta Gorda and is a must-visit when venturing to the Garifuna and Maya-centric region.

Belize Botanic Gardens. 

This 45-acre Shangri-La is home to native and exotic plants winding about in the Cayo District. Hugging the banks of the Macal River and cocooned by the Maya Mountain foothills, Belize Botanic Gardens is a must-visit when staying at nearby Sweet Songs Lodge. Hike through the rainforest trails within the garden’s expansive property to witness orchids, mahogany, vanilla, all-spice, and more flora. 

Belize Spice Farm & Botanical Garden. 

The off-the-beaten-path Belize Spice Farm and Botanical Garden is southern Belize’s ace in the hole. Considered the largest black pepper and vanilla farm in the country, the area is Instagrammable heaven, with pops of color and aesthetic surroundings. Founded by Tom and Tessy of Bluefield, West Virginia, the farm grows magnificent trees like rosewood, mahogany,m banyan, teak, and sandalwood. The spice-filled air transport you to a plantation deep in Southern India. You’ll find this hidden gem just outside the town of Punta Gorda. 

Shipstern Nature Reserve.

This conservation area takes us to Northern Belize and is a whopping 21,500 acres in the Corozal District. Out here, you’ll be at peace birdwatching warblers, flycatchers, toucans, and more. Do not be surprised if you spot a tapir or jaguar print, too.

Image via Belize Tourism Board

But what makes Shipstern an idea green space is the vast openness that you’ll undoubtedly have all to yourself once you visit. Its location makes it easy to fly under the radar of most tourists, but savvy hikers and nature enthusiasts know a good spot when they see one. And Shipstern Nature Reserve will not disappoint. 

Header image via IG @345islandbarbie

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