Secret Adventure Spot In Belize – Mountain Pine Ridge

by McNab Editorial Team

Rio on Pools and the Rio Frio Cave is an adventure spot in Belize that is hidden in the mountains of the Mountain Pine Ridge and in the evergreen forest. Get a vivid description of where this spot is and what all it has to offer.  

Escape the ordinary and dare to find this piece of heaven hidden amid the granite mountains of the Mountain Pine Ridge and in the evergreen refreshing smell of the pine trees. Rio On Pools and the Rio Frio Cave are where adventure awaits! The Rio on pools is located fifteen miles off the Western Highway with a scenic drive on the rustic road going towards the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. You will encounter a parking lot and a picnic site. Once you have arrived, your hike begins in the Mountain Pine Ridge.  


Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo district was established in 1944 to protect and manage the Belizean pine forests. It is predominately covered in 58.5% primarily of Honduran Pine, Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis. There are also small areas of wetland and grassland. Other features that make up the remainder of this reserve are roads, rivers and a cave. The climate is subtropical with a humidity level of 70% during the dry season (February to May). The majority of the reserve is situated on a granite massif with some parts of limestone in the west of the reserve. Caves and sinkholes are common in these parts of the limestones. The Macal River forms the boundaries to the west and south and is fed by Rio Frio, Rio On, and Pinol Creek.  

The Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve is home to diverse animals including cougars, jaguars, tapirs, ocelots and white-nosed coatis. It is also home to an impressive collection of birdlife such as Keel-Billed Toucans, Ocellated Turkeys, Blue-crowned Mot Mots, Parrots, Bluebirds and Woodpeckers along with many others.  

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After a hike through the mountains, you must climb down several sets of steep stairs to reach the falls. You will be ready for a much-needed swim at the natural freshwater pools called the Rio On Pools. Surrounded by miles of forest reserve, the series of ponds hang under the waterfalls. The pools come in different depths and sizes according to your choice of preference. Whether your pool hopping, sunbathing on the rocks or getting aqua massages under the waterfalls, Rio on pools is the perfect combination of exercise, relaxation, peaceful meditation and an unforgettable experience.  

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A short distance away from the pools is the Rio Frio cave, which is Spanish for “Cold River”. The cave captivates you from the get-go! The main entrance is inviting as the giant stalactites dangle from the roof of the cave-like elegant stone chandeliers. The Cave is a big limestone tunnel standing at 65 feet tall carved out by the Rio Frio and was used by the ancient Maya for ceremonies. Sunlight pours in during the daytime giving visitors much-needed lighting to explore the quarter-mile diameter of the entrance cavern. It is considered one of the best-caving systems throughout Belize.   

inside rio frio cave

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This hidden treasure gives you the best of both worlds. For those longing for an adventure as well as those seeking to re-energize the body through nature’s therapy. Rio On Pools and Rio Frio will quench your longing to make your adventure worthwhile.  

Written by Jiyoung Chehade

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