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BELIZE VACATION HOMES

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All You Need To Know About Mayflower Bocawina National Park

MAYFLOWER BOCAWINA: WHERE THE MAYA MOUNTAINS MEET THE COAST


massive waterfall at Bocawina National Park in Belize

Nestled in southern Belize where the Maya Mountains meet the coastal plains, Mayflower Bocawina National Park forms a vital 7,000-acre corridor connecting these two distinct regions. Primarily blanketed in lush tropical evergreen broadleaf and lowland hill forests, the park's diverse ecosystems teem with incredible biodiversity.


For outdoor enthusiasts, Mayflower Bocawina presents a bounty of opportunities to explore and commune with nature. An excellent trail system weaves through the verdant rainforests, providing access to historical Maya sites like the main Mayflower ceremonial plaza, the Maintzunun temple mound, and the Tau Witz complex. The trails also lead adventurers to some of Belize's most spectacular waterfalls.


Cascading through the lush landscapes are natural wonders such as Bocawina Falls, the picturesque trio of Three Sisters Falls, the popular Antelope Falls, as well as the secluded Peck Falls and the mammoth Big Drop Falls. These pristine pools and thundering curtains of water provide perfect spots for cooling swims and picnics surrounded by nature's beauty. 


Whether you're seeking a leisurely nature hike or an adventurous trek through history, Mayflower Bocawina National Park delivers with its rich ecological tapestry and remnants of ancient Maya civilization. The well-maintained trails ensure visitors can fully immerse themselves in the park's remarkable flora, fauna, archaeological sites, and striking water features.

 

TOP ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES

With lush rainforests, trickling streams, and remnants of long-abandoned Maya cities, Mayflower Bocawina has incredible natural and historical attractions to discover:



Jungle Ziplining & Waterfall Rappelling

Get your adrenaline fix by soaring through the jungle canopy on a ziplining adventure or rappelling down the park's thundering waterfalls.


Hiking Trails & Waterfalls

Mayflower Bocawina has several well-maintained hiking trails winding through the lush jungle, leading to incredible payoffs like pristine swimming holes and spectacular waterfalls:

  • Bird Loop Trail (8 miles with 4 waterfalls)

  • Antelope Falls Trail (2 miles round-trip to a picturesque falls with a swimming hole)

  • Big Drop Falls Trail (leads to an awesome waterfall with a huge dropoff)

  • New Waterfall Trail (easy hike to a peaceful waterfall oasis)


Unexcavated Maya Ruins

For a glimpse into Belize's ancient past, the park contains unexcavated ruins from Maya cities abandoned over 1,000 years ago. Hike through the dense jungle to discover hints of plazas, pyramids, and ancient lives. 


Incredible Wildlife

Mayflower Bocawina teams with biodiversity. Spot colorful tropical birds like toucans, along with howler monkeys, coatis, and a bounty of unique plants and flowers.





WHAT VISITORS SAY:

"Hiking trails range from mild to hardcore with river and jungle views, waterfalls, Mayan ruins, and incredible flora and fauna all around."

 

"The view from atop the Antelope Falls is spectacular...Big Drop Falls was awesome with a big drop getting there!"

 

"Wonderful hike through dense, beautiful tropical forest where we saw all kinds of flora, termite mounds, toucans..."

 

"The hike out to New Waterfall is easy and very peaceful. The waterfall was beautiful."

 

Just a 1-hour drive from Placencia, Mayflower Bocawina National Park offers incredible adventures for all experience levels. Whether you want an adrenaline rush ziplining through the jungle, a challenging hike to breathtaking waterfalls, an easy nature trail, or a glimpse into the ancient Maya world - you'll find it all in this unspoiled wilderness escape.


GETTING TO THE PARK

Mayflower Bocawina is located about 20 minutes drive from the Southern Highway entrance in the Stann Creek District. From Placencia, it's around 1 hour 18 minutes (70.4 km/43.7 miles).


While the drive involves stretches on unpaved dirt roads, the journey is incredibly scenic, passing through quaint villages and jungle landscapes. Many visitors opt to arrange transportation through their resort or a local tour operator.


WHEN TO VISIT

The park is open year-round, but the best times are during the drier months between late November and May when rainfall is lower. No matter when you go, be prepared with proper hiking attire, sun protection, bug repellent, and plenty of water.


GUIDED TOURS

While independent hiking is allowed, a guided tour provides the best experience at Mayflower Bocawina. Local guides provide expert insights into the park's flora, fauna, history, and Maya ruins that you'd likely miss exploring alone. Many resorts and operators in Placencia offer guided day tours. HotelsPlacencia.com can help you arrange your tour.


PARK FACILITIES

Within Mayflower Bocawina's boundaries is the Bocawina Rainforest Resort & Adventures which has a ranger station, basic restrooms, a small restaurant, and offerings like ziplining tours. However, aside from some trails near the resort, the park is largely undeveloped wilderness with no other major facilities or amenities.


CONSERVATION EFFORTS

A non-profit organization called Mayflower Bocawina Environmental and Development Group (MBEDG) manages and protects the national park in partnership with the Belize government. Their mission focuses on conserving the watersheds and ecosystems while providing economic opportunities for local communities.

 

Along with the upkeep of trails and facilities, MBEDG runs environmental education programs and sustainable tourism initiatives to preserve this unspoiled natural area for future generations.


So for adventurers seeking an incredible immersive jungle experience - from scenic hikes to thrilling outdoor adventures to glimpses of the ancient Maya world - be sure to add the stunning Mayflower Bocawina National Park to your Belize itinerary. Just don't forget your hiking shoes, swimsuit, and a spirit of adventure!


OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION ABOUT MAYFLOWER BOCAWINA NATIONAL PARK IN BELIZE:


MBNP

Originally designated in 2001 through Statutory Instrument No. 129 with a focus on preserving the ancient Mayflower Archaeological Site, Mayflower Bocawina National Park's mission quickly expanded to also protect the area's incredible natural landscapes, ecosystems, and biodiversity. Formed largely from former forest reserves like Commerce Bight and Silk Grass, a section from Sittee River Forest Reserve was annexed to include the magnificent Three Sisters Falls and Bocawina Falls within its boundaries. Today, MBNP carefully safeguards both its archaeological treasures and ecological wonders under SI 129, making it a jewel balancing cultural heritage with environmental conservation.


Wildlife

Mayflower Bocawina boasts incredible faunal diversity, offering excellent wildlife observation and birding opportunities. As part of the crucial Maya Mountain Massif, it supports Belize's largest jaguar population. Endangered species like the Yucatan black howler monkey, Geoffroy's spider monkey, Baird's tapir, and rare rain frogs inhabit the park. Vulnerable species thrive here too, including Spanish cedar, mahogany, the great curassow, crested guan, keel-billed motmot, ocellated turkey, and water opossum. The park's diverse ecosystems shelter a bounty of remarkable wildlife, making it a premier biodiversity hotspot.


ENDANGERED

  • Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii)

  • Yucatan Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra)

  • Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)

  • Sabrinus rain frog (Craugastor sabrinus)


NEAR THREATENED

  • Jaguar (Panthera onca)

  • Margay (Leopardus wiedii)


LEAST CONCERN

  • Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)


VULNERABLE

  • Great Curassow (Crax rubra)


PARK FEE

  • $5US (normally included when you join a tour with a local tour operator)


MAP

  • Download PDF map (courtesy Bocawina Rainforest Resort & Adventures)

Mayflower-Bocawina-National-Park-Map
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