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Cayo District, Belize


Cayo District Map

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Location


The Cayo District is home to mountains where clear, meandering rivers, lush jungles rich with wildlife, green hillsides, thundering waterfalls, huge cave systems, Mayan ruins, and a pine ridge forest await you. Wherever your journeys may take you, make sure your road leads to the Cayo District. Quench your thirst for adventure and soothe your soul with the magic of this inspirational land!

History & Culture


One of Belize's main attractions is Mayan ruins, and the majority of ancient Mayan sites can be found in the Cayo. The historian in you will be excited at the numerous ruins ranging in size from the small ruins of El Pilar to the impressive ruins of Caracol, a vast Mayan city hidden deep in the jungle of Chiquibul National Park. This area is also the perfect starting point for taking a full day tour of Tikal ruins in Guatemala. Make this a priority on your list, because no Belize adventure is complete without a glimpse into the civilization that once ruled this beautiful region.

Lodging & Dining


The Cayo District offers lodging options as diverse as the region itself. For rustic charm, try one of the comfortable and exotically appointed jungle lodges such as Five Sisters Lodge, duPlooy's, Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, Windy Hill Resort, or Casa Caballo Blanco.

For surprising luxury in a lush, private setting, don't miss Hidden Valley Inn, Blancaneaux, Chaa Creek, Ka'ana Boutique Resort and Spa, Mopan River Resort, or San Ignacio Resort. All of these choices make perfect base camps for exploring this region. Since these hotels also offer their own gourmet dining options, your appetite for adventure won't be the only appetite satisfied by a visit to this region.

Activities


The Cayo District is prime territory for adventure seekers. It is also a great place to escape the heat of the lowlands, because the altitude allows for drier and cooler temperatures.

Of course, the big draw to the Cayo District is the Mayan ruins. But after you've had your fill of above-ground exploration, you can continue your adventures underground. Belize is home to the largest cave system in the Americas. A series of limestone cave systems throughout this region are believed to have been used by the agent Maya for rituals, ceremonies, sacrificial offerings and burials. Cave tours can be done on foot (Actun Tunichil Muknal), by canoe (Barton Creek), or by inner-tube (Caves Branch), but whichever mode you choose you will not be disappointed once you have come in contact with hundreds of pottery vessels, remnants of food, fire and even human remains...truly an experience of a lifetime.

About 9 miles from San Ignacio, the entrance to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve breaks off to the south. With rolling hills, thousand foot peaks and plunging gorges, Mountain Pine Ridge ranks as the oldest and largest of all Belize parks. Unlike the tropical broadleaf forests so prevalent in Belize, here you will find pine trees. The reserve and its surroundings are full of rivers, pools, waterfalls, and caves to explore. The most breathtaking falls in this area is the Thousand Foot Falls. Rio On Pools, a series of small connected waterfalls and pools, make a great swimming stop. The natural pools are refreshing, and the smooth slabs of granite rock are perfect for catching some rejuvenating Belizean rays.

Other activities available in the Cayo are jungle hiking, birdwatching, mountain biking, canopy zip lines, horseback riding, river canoeing and kayaking, cultural excursions, butterfly farms, and even spa treatments!



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