Natural attractions, small villages and high-end jungle lodges are found in the areas surrounding Belmopan.
Guanacaste National Park
Belize's smallest protected nature reserve, Guanacaste National Park covers 52ac/21ha of land around the confluence of the Belize River and Roaring Creek. The park is named for a giant guanacaste (or tubroos) tree growing near the southwest edge of the protected area.Guanacaste National Park offers 2mi/3.2km of hiking trails on which an abundance of local plant life and colorful birds can be observed. A deep swimming hole is also found within the park's boundaries. The Belize Audubon Society manages the park.The Maya used the light wood of the guanacaste tree to make dugout canoes and the tree is identifiable by its wide, straight trunk and broad pods that resemble a monkey's ear. However, the national park's guanacaste, instead of growing straight as most guanacaste do, split very near its base so the tree has three trunks instead of one. The widespread tree hosts its own ecosystem with a variety of plants including bromeliads and cacti.
Address: 12 Fort Street, Belize
Opening hours: 8am-4:30pm
Always opened on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Baron Bliss Day - Belize (Mar 9), Commonwealth Day - Belize (May 25), Independence Day - Belize (Sep 21), National Day - Belize (Sep 10), Pan American Day - Belize (Oct 12), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Easter - Christian
Spanish Lookout, Belize
The Spanish Lookout village is a prosperous Mennonite community. Unlike other Mennonite communities that shun technology, the community at Spanish Lookout is mechanized, and specializes in auto parts. Mennonites began arriving in Belize in 1958 and became very productive farmers, also producing most of Belize's fine cheeses.The Mennonites are easily detected by their way of dress; the men wear denim overalls and straw hats while women often dress in print dresses and wide brimmed bonnets. The Mennonites are known as the "unobtrusive ones" and speak Plattdeutsch, a low German dialect. The Mennonites refuse to become involved in government and military; refuse to take oaths and stress adult baptism.
Western Belize - Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve
Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve is a remote nature reserve covering 6,741ac/2,728ha of Belize's Cayo District and is used for scientific research, training and education. It is not open to the general public. The reserve is home to four of Belize's national symbols; the Baird's tapir, mahogany tree, black orchid and keel-billed toucan. The terrain of the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve is comprised of tropical and subtropical moist forest, diverse wildlife, Mayan ruins and several caves and sinkholes (cenotes).
Pook's Hill Lodge
Pook's Hill Lodge is situated in the foothills of the Maya Mountains on a 300ac/121ha estate owned by Ray and Vicky Snaddon. The main lodge surrounds a small Mayan plaza and the grounds feature hiking trails and swimming in the Roaring River. The lodge offers several excursions, and popular activities include horseback riding, river tubing and mountain biking.
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