A true natural wonder, Belize’s Five Blues Lake National Park is characterized by mystery. In recent years, the lake has drained and refilled itself, without obvious explanation. Besides this puzzling phenomenon, visitors have plenty to marvel at as they hike through the park, including the multiple shades of blue giving the lake its name.
The Five Blues Lake National Park in Belize is accessible via Hummingbird Highway, which will take you past citrus groves until about Mile 22. The lake is surrounded by rainforests and enclosed by dramatic limestone hills. The Lake at its core is so named for the many different blue tints that can be seen in its depths. Maintained by residents of the nearby St. Margaret’s Village, the lake provides habitat for howler monkeys, gibnuts, peccaries, tapirs, and armadillos as well as a variety of other creatures.
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Surrounded by Mystique
No one knows why, but ecologists have possible explanations as to why the Lake has drained and refilled itself. They believe that the underground waterway that formed the lake became clogged. When the blockage broke free, the lake drained in 2007 after a drought. Yet, no one knows why Five Blues Lake refilled within days. Visitors to the 10-acre park can marvel at the gorgeous colors reflected in the lake. While it is called Five Blues Lake, there are probably a dozen hues in its brilliant waters. Here, there is ample opportunity for both locals and tourists to enjoy picnics, swim, and hike through the surrounding lush vegetation. Today, water levels of the Lake may vary.
Exploring Orchid Island
Tourists should not miss a visit to Orchid Island, a small, forested area located in the lake. It’s famous for the multitudes of wild orchids that grow there, and is easily accessible via the east side of the lake. Simply wade across from shore to explore this unique vista. You’ll find not only the beautiful flower for which it’s named, but also lianas, bromeliads and other lovely flowers that will delight you with their bright colors.
The limestone cliffs nearby provide a home for eagles and hawks, which make their nests in its nooks. In the forests around the lake, one can find up to 217 bird species as well as the Lesser-Doglike Bat, which eats thousands of insects after dark. Each of Belize’s five indigenous varieties of wild cat reside here as well. There are the adorable ocelots and margays as well as the larger jaguarundi, mountain lion and jaguar. Of these, only the mountain lion has been known to bother people. Given its exquisite natural beauty, it’s no wonder that Five Blues Lake National Park is an off-the-beaten path adventure.