Wild Belize: Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Belize's 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is home to exotic wildlife such as Cougars, Jaguars, Ocelots, Crocodiles, and many bird species. For the best chance of spotting a big cat, go on a moonlight jaguar hunt (of the non-violent kind).

The Rio On Pools are one of the best attractions in the reserve. Waterfalls flow over smooth granite, creating shallow pools perfect for sunbathing and lounging. Take the stairs down to the lower pools, or hike upstream for better views and bigger pools.

If you're interested in Mayan history, be sure to check out Barton Creek Cave. Mayan artifacts have been found all over the area, and it's believed that the Cave was a former ritual site.

Where Is it? In Southern Central Belize's Cayo District. Fly to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City (check prices).

Where to Stay? At the Blancaneaux Lodge, a 20-room luxury lodge on the banks of the Privassion Creek.

What Else Should I Know? The rainy season, which runs from July to February, is not the best time to visit.

Who's it for? Wildlife spotters, Mayan fans, hikers.

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