There are some fantastic hiking trails in Belize, although much of the hiking you are most likely to experience is actually on the way to another activity, such as a Mayan ruin or Mayan ceremonial cave.
Most of the maintained trails are in the jungle, and a competent guide should point out the local plants and their medicinal uses, as well as jungle birds and animals. All you need are comfortable clothes - long-sleeve and long-leg, hiking shoes, a water bottle, insect repellent, binoculars (optional but highly recommended), and a camera.
Birders will find many opportunities in Belize, and most birding tours incorporate hiking. Most jungle lodges in Cayo (the area around the city of San Ignacio) offer birding tours. To see a list of our favorite lodges in Cayo, visit our Things to Do in Belize page.
Mountain Cow Cave
This is an extremely challenging hike and cave exploration. If you are in good shape, you should make a point to join a tour (ropes are required to get into the cave, so you will not be able to do this without a guide). The cave is located in Blue Hole National Park, along the Hummingbird Highway. The hike to the cave is about 3 miles, and there is a lot of elevation gain and loss getting there. This cave is also known as Crystal Cave for the extensive crystal formations found within, along with Mayan artifacts. Many lodges offer their own tours here, but if yours does not offer this adventure, you can contact Mayawalk Tours in San Ignacio.
Che Chem Ha
Discovered only 35 years ago, Che Chem Ha was first explored by a farmer harvesting palm leaf on his land. His dog chased some game into what appeared to be a burrow. When his dog did not reappear, the hunter realized that the small hole was actually a collapsed entrance to a cave. He later returned to investigate further and found a huge cavern filled with Mayan ceremonial pottery and a deep ceremonial chamber that extends one-half mile into the earth.
With the Belize Archaeological Department's blessing, he now offers tours to the cave, which includes a 2-mile, relatively flat, hike to the cave entrance. Touring the cave with William, the farmer who originally found the site, is a fabulous experience! Call the Morales family directly in Belize to arrange a tour: 011.501.661.4714. You can read more about Che Chem Ha cave on our Belize Caves page.
On the way to Chech Hem Ha Cave
Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve
The Belize government set aside the Cockscomb Basin as a Wildlife Sanctuary due to an ecological study conducted in the 1980s. It was discovered that the it contained the highest density of jaguars ever recorded. The Jaguar Preserve has some of the best jungle hiking trails in Belize. Over 250,000 contiguous acres are protected in a completely natural state. There are miles of trails contained within this great area, along with creeks and rivers, waterfalls, and even jaguars (rarely seen).
For information, visit the Belize Audobon Society's website. This page contains more on how to get there and lodging options when there.
Chaa Creek is the original eco-lodge in the Belizean jungle. Mick and Lucy Fleming, who moved to Belize in the 70s, started a small resort on a huge property. Although their resort has grown, most of their land is still in a natural state. There are 7 miles of trails on the Chaa Creek property. The trails take in open pastures, jungle terrain, expansive overlooks, and follows the banks of the Macal River for a ways. If you lodge at the Macal River Jungle Camp (the best deal in Belize) you will be staying right on their trail system. This is the perfect place for serious birders.
To read about jungle hiking as part of a multi-sport package,
Walking jungle paths is incorporated into many of Slickrock's other activities. On our Belize Adventure Week itinerary we hike through lush jungle during the portage on the Caves Branch River, which provides an excellent opportunity to see rainforest flora and fauna. This is deep jungle! The portage is one of the best parts of the day, believe it or not.
When exploring Xunantunich our groups hike through rainforest, preserved by a national park. From the top of The Castillo temple, you can see Guatemala in the distance!
Earlier in the trip at Bocawina National Park, we also hike through 2 miles of jungle to get to the top of Antelope Falls. Along the way your guide will point out various plants and their medicinal uses. Numerous birds and iguana are often seen.