7 Hidden Adventures in the Belizean Rainforest: Bocawina National Park

by Larry Waight

Easily reached from Hopkins or Dangriga, the 11-sq-mile Mayflower Bocawina National Park offers high-adrenaline adventure activities or old-fashioned jungle hiking to mountains, waterfalls, swimming holes and small Maya sites. Besides, it’s remote enough that you might find yourself alone (apart from the wildlife) on some spectacular hiking trails.

Explore the park with a guided hiking tour

An experienced local guide can teach you about the diverse plant and animal species you will see. There are both challenging hikes, such as the popular one to the top of Antelope Falls, and easier ones such as the trail to Bocawina Falls. In either case, make sure to bring your bathing suit so you can refresh yourself in one of the waterfall pools afterwards.

Take a night time hike

If you’d like to see the elusive jaguar, as well as other nocturnal animals such as the puma, ocelot, margay, bats, owls and jaguarundi, then you should ask your guide about a night-time expedition.

Go birdwatching

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Crimson-collared Tanager. Photo by Jason Tiesman
birding
Royal Flycatcher. © Francis Canto Jr.

Inside the park, over 300 species of birds have been recorded. Even if you’ve never been interested in birdwatching, the vibrant local species will change your mind. You’ll feel thrilled to see toucans, orioles, tanagers, hummingbirds, kingfishers, owls and more.

Participate in the Bird-a-thon

The Chaa Creek Team participates in the annual Bird-a-thon event. Photo: BBC

The Belize Bird Conservancy hosts this annual fundraising event. True nature lovers can compete to identify the most species. Last year, rare sightings included the Band-tailed Barbthroat, Northern Shoveler, Scarlet Tanager, and Spectacled Owl. The event is fun and raises money for research, conservation, and education.

Take a zipline tour of the canopy

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Photo by Duarte Dellarole

For an adrenaline rush, you can explore the national park via zipline. You’ll find 14 platforms and 9 runs that encompass 2.5 miles, which makes this the longest zipline in Belize. While the experience is thrilling, it’s also safe enough for the whole family.

Rappel down a waterfall

The Mayflower Bocawina National Park is home to three waterfalls, and you can rappel down each one! Depending on your expertise, you can choose the challenge of rappelling 250 feet down the Antelope Falls, or pick the easier thrill of the Bocawina or Three Sisters Falls. Whatever you choose, a guide will make sure you are completely safe.

Explore an ancient Maya city

While the three Maya sites in the park are still being excavated, archeologists predict that the park will eventually host one of the largest Maya sites in Belize. Given all the special activities you can enjoy here, it’s obvious that for a unique adventure among unparalleled natural beauty, you can’t beat a trip to the Mayflower Bocawina National Park! 

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