MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE FOREST RESERVE


Map Credit: ambergris.com

The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve (MPR) is a very unique setting within the country of Belize. Filled with hills and valleys, it’s one of the higher elevated geographical areas in the country. A medley of Caribbean Pine and Pinus Oocarpa dominate the higher elevation of the mountains and sneakily hidden within the valleys are alluvial forests rich with hardwood trees, so rich and thick and green, one would easily believe that they were in the richest broad leaf forests in the world.

The geology of the reserve is interesting, to say the least. Rich silicates, lime stone, red clay, iron-rich soils and rich loamy black soils and sand mix into the buffet of soil types which are all seated on the back of a foundation of granite. This is the place where geologist have researched and attest to the fact that the country now known as Belize was once below the surface of the sea – at least three times – in its geological history (Calcium carbonate is evidence). Granite too reflects volatile volcanic action and interestingly, Belize hosts no volcanoes.

MPR represents a highway for wildlife moving from one broad leaf forest to another. This highway can get very busy with the traffic of animals such as grey foxes, mountain lions and jaguars and birds such as ocellated turkeys, woodpeckers and raptors such as the grey shoulder kite and hawks.

The highlights of one’s visit to the MPR is the Rio Frio Cave which is a limestone tunnel, the remains of an underground river carved through limestone and exposing the base of granite after millions of years of its flow. A second highlight is the Rio On pools. This is a river flowing over granite stone dams which create low waterfalls and deeper swimming holes – a great refreshing dip and swim awaits you. A third major highlight is the tallest waterfalls in Central America, the Thousand Feet Falls, one thousand six hundred feet high a beautiful sight to see from the lookout point built especially for its viewing.

Tour Departs: Anytime between 8:30 AM and 9:00 AM
Duration: 5 to 6 hours
Ecology: Higher elevation, predominantly Upland Pine Savanna, broadleaf forest, limestone and granite caverns and water; all dirt roads after San Ignacio town.
Fitness: Medium, 350-500 calories; stairs involved and short uphill hiking trail.
Dress: Comfortable hiking shoes or Teva’s, comfortable shorts, t-shirts or long sleeves if necessary (protection from the sun), hat, sunglasses
What to Bring: Towel, bathing suit, binoculars, favorite book (if you want some granite beach time), sun block, water.

Nota Benne: This tour is predominantly off road and can be shortened should guests wish to do a little ceramics or corn tortilla-making with the San Antonio women’s group

Questions: Call 214-550-6716 or email booking@ninebelize.com

San Ignacio to Mountain Pine Ridge.
Visit the tallest waterfall in Central America (1600’)
Visit the Rio Frio Cave.
Visit the Rio On Pools (Picnic here)
Swim at Big Rock Waterfall and Swimming Hole
USD$ 220.00 (1 – 4 pax)
Additional pax USD$ 40.00.
Lunch included.***Government fees are subject to change.