Chasing Waterfalls: Use This Guide When Exploring These 2 Stunning Waterfalls in Belize

by Gisselle Hernandez

As a tropical country teeming with verdant jungles, Belize has no shortage of waterfalls. Gushing cascades pepper the Maya Mountains and Mountain Pine Ridge region, as well as the southeast coast. To make sure you experience the very best ones, we’ve outlined a guide to a few stunning Belize waterfalls below. 

Maya King Waterfall

Stann Creek’s Maya King Waterfall is perhaps one of the most accessible since it requires practically no hiking. You can drive up to the falls which are tucked in the jungle about a half hour away from Placencia. The waterfall is privately owned but guests are welcome after paying a small entrance fee. 

Closest town: Hopkins Village

What the trail is like: Instead of a hiking trail, the road leads you through citrus orchards and up a winding hill filled with lush foliage. Parking is available at the base of the waterfalls, as well as restrooms.

Difficulty: Easy. You can drive all the way up to Mayan King. No hiking except climbing up some stairs to reach the larger waterfall. 


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How to get there: The falls lie in between Placencia and Hopkins, each a half hour away from the point of entry. Off the highway, you will notice a faux Maya ruin on the side of the road. Turn here and this is the entrance that leads you to Maya King. 


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What to expect: A smaller waterfall is the first to greet you once you walk into the rustic visitor area. Here, you’ll find a recently opened restaurant that offers delicious lunch while the gurgling cascades roar nearby. Climb some steps on the right and you’ll see a small trail leading to the large waterfall. A couple of picnic tables face the cascades as well as a platform with a small ladder leading into the cenote. You can jump in or lounge on a rock while the arctic cold water washes over you. The surrounding jungle creates a sort of canopy over the waterfall area. 

Tip: Spend the morning here when it’s the least crowded and order lunch before heading back to your stay at Placencia or Hopkins. Since your car is just a few steps away, you can pack as much as you need. 

Big Rock Falls 

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Big Rock Falls in Mountain Pine Ridge. Image courtesy Duarte Dellarole

The towering 150-foot Big Rock Falls has been on the cover of magazines and many Instagram photos for a reason. The massive waterfall sits on the Privassion river offering arguably the best views of the surrounding Mountain Pine Ridge forests. 

Closest town: San Ignacio

What the trail is like: It mostly involves a descending staircase after a bit of hiking. You’ll find the hiking part is not that long and is mostly flat ground, with short foliage flanking the trail. After coming upon a sign to the right that points you to Big Rock Falls, head in that direction. 

Difficulty: Of course, going down is not the difficult part but climbing back up the long wooden staircase can leave you winded if you aren’t used to much activity. 


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How to get there: This waterfall is located in Mountain Pine Ridge less than an hour away from San Ignacio Town. 


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What to expect: As mentioned before, the falls themselves are massive and run over various rock formations strewn along the river. There’s a big rock on the left-hand side that many thrillseekers use as a jumping-off point into the icy water. You cannot climb to the top of the falls themselves, but the jungle views make for a great picnicking area at the base. 

Tips: It’s best to use a guide for this excursion. The road can be bumpy and unfamiliar, and a guide can also share information on the history of the area. There’s an area where you can park your car but the trek to the waterfall is long so leave any heavy belongings inside your vehicle. Make sure to take plenty of water and a bathing suit.

Header image via Belize Tourism Board.
Editor's Note: This article was first shared on July 27, 2022.

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