A hop away from Guatemala, the Cayo District boasts a lush region of sub-tropical rainforest and small rural communities, perfect for those seeking adventure in the great outdoors. Hike or horseback ride along jagged peaks, swim under waterfalls and visit the impressive Mayan ruins that were built by one of the world’s most mysterious civilizations.
Located in western Belize, the Cayo District is a vast highland covered with lush jungle, winding rivers, tumbling waterfalls and some of the country’s most rugged, remote terrain. It is the perfect playground for those wanting adventure and the chance to explore the great outdoors; best done on foot, horse-back, canoe or kayak.
The best place to start exploring is Belize’s oldest and largest park, the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve which offers cool rivers for swimming, rolling hills for hiking and ample opportunity to see hundreds of different species of tropical birds and a variety of other wildlife. Dig further and you will find Chiquibul National Park, the largest intact tropical forest north of the Amazon where you will find endangered (and often elusive) animals like jaguars, Baird’s tapirs, red-eyed tree frogs and Morelet’s crocodiles.
One of the most fascinating excursions in the region is to the Actun Tunickal Muknal caves (ATM Caves). This exquisite cave system was once used by the ancient Maya, both for ceremonial purposes and as a burial site. Today various types of artefacts from ceramics to the remains of skeletons can be found. It’s not just the Maya history that makes this excursion so exciting, but the mix of hiking and swimming inside the cave to see such wonders really adds to the experience.
To further broaden your knowledge of the Maya civilization, the Cayo district is also home to an extensive number of impressive Maya sites such as Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, El Pilar and the mother of all Belizean Maya sites, Caracol.
After a full day of exploration in the Cayo district, rest your head at one of the many exotic jungle lodges that have access to excellent guides to help you investigate the region’s many places of interest.