Hiking is one of the best ways to see a new place and enjoy the great outdoors. And tiny Belize offers something for everyone when it comes to exciting outdoor activities, including breathtaking hiking trails!
We love this Central American country and want to share with you the best hiking trails in Belize.
Hiking in Belize: There’s Never A Shortage Of Outdoor Hiking Adventures
Belize has some of the most extensive and well-maintained trails in Central America. Whether you’re looking for a long easy stroll or a challenging adventure, there’s sure to be something to interest you here.
Below you will see there’s many great hiking trails in Belize, and many nature reserves and parks that are packed with trails you can enjoy. Each offers something different, be that summit hikes with exceptional panoramic views or coastal hikes with unbeatable wildlife spotting opportunities. (Recommended: The Best Beaches in Belize!).
What we love about Belize is there are just so many options. You can go wherever your heart desires. No matter what your interest, there’s a trail for you.
Below are our top 12 most beautiful and interesting places to go hiking in Belize so you can make the most out of your next trip. Enjoy!
1. Mayflower Bocawina National Park
From breathtaking natural streams and waterfalls to ancient Maintznun Maya sites, the Mayflower Bocawina National Park is 7,000 acres of pristine jungle with history and adventure combined in one place! There are many self-guided hikes you can do, and there’s maps available at the entrance of the park.
Hikers can genuinely get a feel of how wonderful it must have been to live in the jungles of ancient Central America thousands of years ago when trekking here.
Adding to the wonder, this national park boasts a wide variety of animals and plants to learn about. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, discover the many trails, and dip swim in many natural swimming holes at the bottom of the waterfalls here too.
2. Maya Mountains
Those with an eye for adventure will love the Maya Mountains and the surprise at the end of this rewarding hike.
The hike itself is magnificent, and rewards you with a steep 300 ft rappel down the mouth of a natural sinkhole called the Black Hole Drop!
All around, there are wonderful formations to see and the way the light reflects off the cave wall creates beautiful colorful patterns. The hike back gives you a chance to enjoy the views of vibrant jungle greenery as you take in the magnitude of your cave adventure!
The Maya Mountain Hike is a great moderate-level trek that gives everyone a chance to test their skills and endurance without tiring too much. And the cave exploration is possible even for newbies as it is done with professional guides.
3. Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
You can take in the view of the Maya Mountains at the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve too. Here, hikers can enjoy a variety of different trails and revel in the only authentic pine forest in the region. There’s several waterfalls that you can hike to, and then enjoy a dip in their natural swimming pools after!
Wade in clear rivers of cool water in the reserve or stay on the banks spotting wildlife and flora. Tourists can even take part in various relaxing activities that are offered in the reserve, such as horseback riding or lounging in the overnight accommodation after a long day of hiking.
Blending wonderful landscapes and activities, this is definitely the place to be for both adventure hikes and fun.
4. Victoria Peak Climb
The Victoria Peak Climb in Belize is definitely a show stopper for adventurers and thrill-seekers alike. Victoria Peak is Belize’s second highest mountain standing tall at 3,675 feet, but this difficult climb is worth the breathtaking scenery you’ll get at the top.
You’ll find the trailhead at the bottom of the mountain, where you can park your car and start your journey up Victoria Peak. It’s only 2.2 miles in total, but the entire trip will take you about 2-1/2 hours. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water with you because the temperature can get really hot at the top of the mountain!
5. Crystal Cave Hike
If you take the time to visit the Blue Hole National Park, make sure to spend time trekking the Crystal Cave Hike. If you love lush green forests and gorgeous natural beauty, this hike is for you.
Not only that, but the caves you hike to are a one-of-a-kind wonderland with incredible stalactites and stalagmites! The hike is only a 2.8 mile round trip, but it will take you about 3-1/2 hours to complete the entire journey.
On the way to the caves, take the time to soak in your jungle surroundings and spot monkeys before exploring these stunning natural wonders. A fantastic Belize hike!
6. Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve
The Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve is a protected area located on the north side of the Cockscomb Basin in Belize. It was established in 1981 to protect the endangered jaguar and today covers more than 2,000 acres!
There are more than 20 miles of marked hiking trails that meander through the rainforest and along the edges of the Cockscomb Basin River. You can find maps and information on the trails at the reserve’s main center.
The reserve offers plenty of opportunities for bird watching, hiking, nature study, photography, and river exploration. There are also several lookouts that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area. For example, the main lookout is known as “The Tree Tops.” From there, you can see nearly the entire Cockscomb Basin Rainforest Reserve.
7. Blue Hole National Park
Blue Hole National Park is located at the northern end of Ambergris Caye Island and is one of three national parks in Belize. The park was created in 1981, and today, it covers more than 5,700 acres and offers a wide variety of activities for visitors, including cave exploration, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, wildlife watching, and of course, great hiking!
With its rich ecological diversity and unique cave formations, this park offers something for everyone! Hiking trails lead you through the tropical rainforest and along the edges of the crystal clear Cockscomb Basin River. You’ll also find plenty of places to swim and explore the caves and cenotes (natural underground limestone sinkholes). Plus, there are several lookouts that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
8. Monkey River Loop
The Monkey River Loop is a 16-mile loop hike that begins and ends at the same place: the San Ignacio Belize City Airport. This is one of the most popular hikes in Central America. Why? Simply put: it’s a great trail for hikers of all experience levels, and it offers a variety of landscapes and interesting features. Keep an eye out for monkeys too.
The entire loop can be completed in 2-days or be split into two or three separate hikes. The first half of the loop (the “short” half) takes you through a series of mangrove swamps, dense tropical rainforest, and several small cenotes (limestone sinkholes). Along the way, you’ll pass several waterfalls, rivers, lookouts, caves, and other interesting sights.
9. Catena Transect
The Catena Transect near Quam Bank is a great Belize hike for those looking for a challenge! This 15-kilometer hike ascends through jungle to a 642 meter summit with great views, and is the perfect choice for adventurous souls.
Even better, the trail is a wonderful spot for bird watchers. There are tons of bird species flying about and an endless assortment of wildflowers to complete the scenery. See the trail map here.
10. Five Blues Lake National Park
The Five Blue Lakes National Park is a protected area in Belize with steep cliffs, landscapes worth remembering, lakes, caves, and forests. While it is one of the more beautiful destinations and choices for hikers, it is not as visited as other places and is barely known by tourists. It’s a place that really locals only know.
But that means it feels like the whole place is yours to explore! The peaceful location is perfect for those seeking a remote getaway, a place to slow down and reflect. There are many interesting things to see and do here, so be sure to explore every nook and cranny.
The natural beauty here is why most people visit, but some come for the unique culture too. You can visit a number of small villages in the park and learn about their unique customs. This is definitely a destination worth planning your trip around!
11. Shipstern Wildlife Nature Reserve
Located in the Corozal District, the Shipstern Wildlife Nature Reserve is another beautiful location that is a protected area. It takes up around 21,500 acres and houses tons of different habitats with beautiful flora and fauna.
This wildlife nature reserve houses the Shipstern Lagoon, which is known as one of the most beautiful and largest inland lagoon systems in Belize. There’s many hiking trails, and you can find trail maps and information at the nature reserve office.
The number one thing we love about this place is the observation tower here that allows visitors to enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset view. Adding to this reserve’s wonder, the hikes and trails you’ll find allow you to spot over 300 species of birds as you go along, including many colorful parrots! This is one of our favorite Belize hiking destinations.
12. The Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve
The Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve is located on the southern tip of Belize. Here you will find 170 square kilometers of sandy shores, reefs, lagoons, and mangrove islands.
This marine reserve is one of the best places to snorkel and scuba dive in all of Central America so you can combine a coastal hike with an unforgettable snorkeling experience. With over 700 different species of fish, 50 different types of coral, and more than 30 different species of hard and soft corals, it’s no wonder that this marine reserve has been named one of the top ten in the world by National Geographic.
People come to this marine reserve to see the hundreds of West Indian Manatee that call these waters home. These are the largest members of the Suidae family and grow to a length of three meters or more. Go for a beach hike followed by manatee spotting. Perfect!
Preparing For A Hike In Belize
If you decide to hike in a new area, you may come across some rather unexpected challenges. With that in mind, make sure you bring along a good amount of water, food, a first aid kit, and any other supplies you may need.
If you are hiking in an unfamiliar area, we suggest you research the area before you go, find out what the weather is likely to be, and what type of vegetation and wildlife there will be. If you can hike with someone who knows the trail and area, even better.
Many hiking trails in Belize will have the option for a guide, so that is also worth considering. You will also learn more about the area, wildlife and history of the region with a guide.