In 1986 the government
staked off a large pocket of this dense forest and declared it
off limits to hunters and loggers. Then in 1990 the sanctuary was expanded
to total over 100,000 acres. The sanctuary is not only home
to a large population of jaguars, but you may also find a puma,
ocelot, red-eyed tree frog, boa constrictor, leaf-cutter ant, Jesus
lizard (because they walk on their hind legs on top of the water
using their tail as a ruttier), tapir, scarlet macaws and peccary.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!), you are not very likely to run
into any jaguars since they are nocturnal and really shy away from artificial
smells on humans. [night feeders - so only expect the excitement of
a paw print or other signs.] While you are hiking the (most likely)
muddy trails examine the lush vegetation and beautiful plants and flowers.
Look up you will see incredible looking orchids in the treetops.
Throughout the sanctuary
is a network of well-marked trails, including a short self-guided
nature tour and paths leading to swimmable waterfalls and a gothic-looking
plane wreck. When you arrive stop in the sanctuary headquarters
for information and a trail map. Close to the preserve's northwest
boundary is Victoria Peak, the highest mountain in Belize at
It can get quite
muddy and humid inside the forest under the canopy of vegetation. Shorts
and a tee are appropriate with sneakers or boots.
There is a village
called 'Maya Center' before you enter the park. Call ahead and
they will be able to help you much better. Guides available.
From 10.00 per day on up. They will give you trail maps and tips. Phone
number: 5-12021 - 'Maya Center' - call from your hotel before you leave.
Pick up Maya Center and Audubon Society brochures, maps, etc.
They will give you a questionnaire so they can fill your wants/needs
better. Once inside there is an 'Audubon Society' station. They
will assess your endurance and needs to advise you on appropriate trails
- waterfalls - tubing and other information helpful for enjoying the
preserve and rain forest.