One of the most biologically diverse eco-systems in Belize is located in San Jose. It is the Columbia River Forest Reserve and it is comprised of 103,000 acres of tropical rainforest. Tourists are welcome to tour the reserve, though it is a strenuous hike to say the least.
The reserve is extremely diverse, ranging from karsified landscapes featuring a system of caves and sink holes, quartz rocks, creeks, limestone rock above an aquifer, and the well-known "Little Quartz Ridge."
A hike through the reserve will turn up numerous plants and animals native to Belize, many of which have yet to be discovered and cataloged. For example, a recent expedition turned up 15 species of fern alone that had never been seen before.
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The reserve, which is difficult to reach, is located north of San Jose.
Located just outside the heart of Toledo District, Columbia Forest Reserve welcomes travelers lodging in this area of Belize. Whether or not you're staying in this location, you should feel free to stop by to check out the sights. It's 26.8 miles northwest of Punta Gorda.
If a visit to the Columbia Forest Reserve isn't enough to keep you busy all afternoon, take a look at what is closest in the following table.
|Tiger Cave||GeoFeature||7.8 mi. (33.5 km)||E||20.8 mi. Northwest of Punta Gorda|
|Hokeb Ha Cave||GeoFeature||10.3 mi. (27.1 km)||SE||16.8 mi. Northwest of Punta Gorda|
|Lubaantun||--||10.5 mi. (26.4 km)||SE||16.4 mi. Northwest of Punta Gorda|
|GeoFeature||11.2 mi. (32.9 km)||S||20.4 mi. West-Northwest of Punta Gorda|
In order to enter the reserve you must procure a permit from the Forestry Department.
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