If You Love a Good Challenge, Don’t Miss This Belize Attraction

by Megan Rodden

The rugged, wild, and innately beautiful country of Belize is already a destination well-suited for independent spirits and intrepid travelers.  Of course, you can log lots of hours lounging on our beaches with a frozen drink melting in your hand, but what makes a Belize vacation truly special are the innumerable adventures and unique experiences you can have here.  We’ve been aptly described by travelers as being off the beaten track, the hidden gem of Central America.  Belize has attractions, not tourist traps, and half the fun is the challenge of reaching them.  Think long, bumpy rides in 4-wheel drive vehicles to explore rarely visited archaeological sites or bushwhacking through the jungle to reach secluded waterfalls.  If you love a good challenge and want to get even further off that beaten path, climbing Belize’s Victoria Peak just might be the ultimate adventure for you!

the cockscomb basin wildlife sanctuary

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo by Belize Audubon Society

Standing at 1,120 meters (3,675 feet) tall, Victoria Peak is the second-highest point in Belize, just a few meters short of Doyle’s Delight.  Her height may not sound all that impressive when compared to other global summits but don’t be fooled, conquering Victoria Peak is no walk in the park.  The arduous yet rewarding hike takes a minimum of 3 days to complete but for those few brave souls who dare take on the challenge, the breathtaking views and sense of accomplishment make it all worthwhile.  Not to mention, you’ll earn some seriously exclusive bragging rights.  Less than 100 hikers complete the #VictoriaPeakChallenge each year.

If you think you think you might be up for the challenge, here is what to expect.

Day 1 

Victoria Peak Trail

Photo by Carolee Chanona

You will begin your journey from the ranger’s station within the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the country’s largest protected areas and the world’s only jaguar preserve.  This area of south-central Belize contains the eastern section of the Maya Mountain range. It is comprised of lush, broadleaf tropical forest and vital watersheds.  Leaving headquarters carrying all the gear you’ll need for your journey, you will follow your guide some 19km to “Deadman’s Camp” where hammocks and a campfire accommodate you for the night.

Similar: Southern Belize’s Outlier Trail Rivals Victoria Peak

Day 2

Hammocks are light weight, with easy set-up/disassembly for camping on the Victoria Peak Trail. Image via Carolee Chanona

Wake to the sounds of the jungle and get an early start to another day of huffing and puffing as you hike to the summit.  You can leave the majority of your gear at camp and take only a pack of essentials.  You’ll want to be as light and agile as possible. To reach the peak requires some scrambling and even the use of ropes and harnesses. 

Victoria Peak natural monument

On the summit of Victoria Peak. Photo courtesy @BelizeMyTravels

Bask in your accomplishment and take in the astounding 360-degree scenery.  As we sing in our national anthem, “Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold.”  A fitting phrase to reflect upon while taking in the richness of landscape and the diversity of the forest. Don’t linger too long, though, you need to retreat back down to camp before the sun sets.

Day 3

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve. Photo by Oliver Pilcher

Take advantage of the streams and small waterfalls as a refreshing treat during your trek back to the ranger’s station.  Wildlife encounters and great birding opportunities might be found on your way down the mountain.  The Cockscomb Basin is home to all five of Belize’s big cats as well as peccary, coati, tapir, deer, and toucan.  For experienced hikers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a novel and memorable challenge, a test of endurance, and the ultimate exploration, Victoria Peak is a can’t-miss attraction.

Featured: Victoria Peak in the distance. Image by Roni Martinez

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