Mayan ruins, epic waterfalls, lush rainforest – Mayflower Bocawina National Park in the Maya Mountains of Belize is the explorer’s paradise. Located on the eastern side of the mountain range with views of the Caribbean Sea, this park is one of Belize’s hidden gems. Experience over 7,000 acres of pristine, lush wilderness filled with rich Mayan history and exotic wildlife.
Three ceremonial Mayan Ruins are within the park, two are mainly unexcavated. The Mayflower Complex, occupied in the 9th and 10th centuries, consists of 11 structures. Maintzunun (meaning “hummingbird” in Mayan) is thought to be a minor ceremonial center. The T’au Witz Temple (meaning “dwelling of the local god of the hill”) is a small temple that faces east towards the rising sun. Experienced, local guides will tell you the history of the ruins and reveal why the forest was sacred to Mayan ceremonial practices.
Antelope Falls is the most daunting of the waterfalls in the national park and also the most rewarding. Located near the ruins, it is believed that the falls served as a sacred place for the Mayan people. To access the falls, visitors hike two miles through lush rainforest to the top of the falls, rewarded with a backdrop of the rainforest canopy and the Caribbean Sea in the distance. Travelers can repel down the waterfall and soak in the refreshing, emerald pools below.
Home to Belize’s largest zipline, enjoy two and a half miles of ziplining through the rainforest canopy and catch a glimpse of the diverse wildlife who call the park home. There are amazing birding opportunities, with over 200 different species inside the park. Toucans, macaws, parrots, orioles, hummingbirds and kingfishers are just a handful of the birds you might see flitting among the trees.
Night hiking is the perfect opportunities to see the park come to life. Larger wildlife such as anteaters, howler monkeys, gray foxes and ocelots can be spotted through the trees. You may even experience a sighting of the elusive jaguar.
If you want to explore the wilderness of Belize and experience Mayan history, Mayflower Bocawina National Park is the way to do it. The park draws in fewer visitors than more well-known Belizean spots, so there are many opportunities to unplug and fully immerse yourself into the rainforest.
Interested in visiting Belize? We offer a variety of exciting, eco-friendly trips that are big on adventure and low on impact. Give us a call at (928) 526-4575 and we’ll help you find your best Belizean adventure.
Photos: Island Expeditions, Lonely Planet