Belize's natural beauty doesn't disappear as the sun sets. Instead of retiring to a hotel after a long day of exploring the country's natural sites, pitch a tent and get back to nature by sleeping under the stars. The fresh air will do you good, and you will wake up refreshed, surrounded by views that you just won't find standing on a hotel balcony.
Campgrounds may be a little harder to find than you might expect in a country that is considered to be so Eco-friendly, but it is widely allowed. Some of the National Parks and preserve areas allow camping, as do many hotels with advanced notice. In fact, some hotels may have spots set aside especially for campers. Campgrounds in Belize are rarely as organized as campgrounds in the United States, but still allow for the experience of camping that travelers who hope to pitch a tent are looking for. Remember when you are camping to always treat freshwater by boiling it before you drink. In some cases, campers are required to obtain a camping permit from the Conservation Unit of the Forest Department.
The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary just southwest of Hopkins and outside Maya Centre is the world's only jaguar sanctuary. Along with the jaguars, black howler monkeys, toucans, pumas, tapirs, and numerous other species inhabit the 150 square miles of rainforest. Within the Wildlife Sanctuary visitors may take guided tours, hike on their own, and set up camp for the night. Lodgings include a dormitory-style building in Quarn Bank that once stood as a logging camp. There is enough room for 24 bodies, and features of the facility include a common room, gift shop, equipment rental shop, fresh water basin, and a restroom. Campers who would like to strike out on their own and set up a private camp will be required to obtain a camping permit. Other features of the Wildlife Sanctuary include the Mayan ceremonial site Chucil Baluum and breathtaking views of the Cockscomb Mountain Range. Entry into the Wildlife Sanctuary costs $2.50(USD) for locals and $10(USD) for visitors, though it does cost more to stay overnight. For more information, contact the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary at 501-227-7369.
The Five Blues Lake National Park is a great place for campers who are willing to set up wherever a site is available and fully support themselves during their time in the park. Facilities here are sparse, with outhouse-style restrooms, and no treated water. Still, for the price of $5(USD) visitors can hike the three miles of trails, explore several caves, and view the natural wonder that was once Five Blues Lake. In July of 2006, the once full lake began to recede, forming a whirlpool as the water was sucked into the ground. Though the basin is often partially filled with water, it has not returned to its full glory since that day. Five Blues National Park is located in Belmopan, and park rangers are on duty at all times.
The entire 40-acres of the easternmost Belizean island, Half Moon Caye, is designated as a wildlife preserve in order to protect that 4,000 red-footed booby birds that inhabit the island. There are no lodgings available on the island, so those who wish to stay overnight will have to set up camp. Island attractions include beautiful snorkeling and dive sites, as well as bird-watching, the opportunity to view turtles and lizards, and hiking trails. Reservations to camp on the island may be made with the Belize Audubon Society at 501-223-5004, 501-223-4987, or 501-223-4988.
Mountain Pine Ridge is home to the only pine forest in Central America. Caving, canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, birding, and swimming are the popular pastimes in this 300 square mile stretch of forest near San Ignacio. Visitors can set up camp throughout the forest, in such as areas as the Barton Creek Outpost. Contact the Outpost at 501-662-4797 or 501-651-9555.
Located in the Orange Walk District, the Rio Bravo Conservation Area is a combination of forest area, swamp land, and savannah. Once a premier logging territory, today the conservation area is home to numerous species of birds, wild cats, wild turkey, deer, and many more species of wildlife. Hiking trails and birding are what draw visitors to the 250,000 acre facility, where camping grounds and rustic, dormitory-style lodgings are available.
|Clarissa Falls||San Ignacio||Campgrounds; beds in a bunk house||$3.75(USD) to camp; $7.50(USD) to bunk||501-9-23916|
|Cosmos Camping||San Ignacio||Campgrounds; swimming hole||$4(USD)||501-9-22116|
|Hilltop Camping||San Antonio||Campgrounds||$2.50(USD)||N/A|
|Inglewood Camping Grounds||San Ignacio||Campgrounds; RV hookups; cabanas||N/A||501-9-23555|
|Midas Eco Resort||San Ignacio||Campgrounds; cabanas||$4(USD) to camp; $34(USD) for a cabana||501-9-23172|
|Trek Stop||San Ignacio||Campgrounds; kitchen area||$3.50(USD) to camp; $7(USD) to rent a tent||501-9-32265|
Travelers looking to explore the natural side of Belize have plenty of options to choose from, including campgrounds and rustic bunk houses. Make the most of your Eco-friendly vacation by choosing lodgings that allow you to be as close to the great outdoors as possible.
Below, you'll find a list of properties in Belize that can help you get back to nature. Click their names for more information about their locations, amenities, activites, food and more. It's the easiest way to browse the necessary details of your trip.
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