Approximately 30 minute drive
This unique sanctuary in southern Belize covers an area of about 150 square miles of tropical forest, and is the world's only Jaguar Preserve. Declared a Forest Preserve in 1984 and finally a Jaguar Preserve in 1986, the park is the culmination of many years of work and perseverance by individuals and national and international organizations.
The park area is rich in beauty, wildlife and even Maya culture; a well concealed minor Maya ceremonial site known as Chucil Baluum is typical of the Classic Period The Cockscomb Mountain Range towers over the basin to the north. The highest mountain in Belize, Victoria Peak at 3,675 feet presides over the range and offers, in its largely unexplored reaches, chances for unrivaled exploration and adventure. The fine and abundant stands of mahogany and cedar have historically been in demand throughout this area and logging here provided a staple of Belize's economy for many years.
The terrain is dense tropical rainforest with well maintained trails, jungle canopy to 120'. Wildlife to see includes jaguar, jaguarundi, peccary, howler monkey, gibnut, agouti, snakes, coatamundi, over 300 bird species.
There are about 17 different trails that are available for hiking at the park. It is also known for 2 breath taking waterfall for swimming and a beautiful river for river tuning.
Mayflower Nature Preserve
This beautiful 11-sq-mile park of jungle, mountains, waterfalls, walking trails, swimming holes and small Maya sites lies about 12 miles northwest of Hopkins. The walks here are at least as good as the trails most people do at nearby Cockscomb Basin, and you’ll encounter far fewer tourists. You’ll see lots of birds, and the park is home to troops of black howler monkeys.
A 4-mile unpaved access road heads west from the Southern Hwy, 2 miles north of Silk Grass village, to the park visitors center , where you pay the park fees. Here you'll also find the partly excavated Mayflower Maya site , with two pyramids and nine other structures, occupied in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. The Antelope Trail leads down over Silk Grass Creek to the larger, unexcavated, partly tree-covered Maintzunun temple mound , 250yd away (built around AD 800). Continue on a further 1.7 miles – steep and strenuous in places – to the beautiful 100ft-high Antelope Falls , with great panoramas. The less demanding Bocawina Hill Trail (1.4 miles) leads to the lower and upper Bocawina Falls : there’s a cool swimming pool at the foot of the 50ft upper falls.
The Antelope Falls is the most popular waterfall visited by tourist and locals alike. It is considered the most strenuous of all hikes that has a gradual incline. Before doing this hike, you must be physically stable and have the ability to endure the high humidity.