Located 17 miles from Dangriga and 12 miles from Hopkins, Mayflower Bocawina National Park (entrance fee US$10 pp) comprises more than 7,100 acres of Maya Mountain wilderness set aside in 2001 to protect and showcase the area’s five waterfalls and green-fringed Mayan ruins. A trail system offers excellent hiking, and it’s an adventurous climb to Antelope Falls. A hike in Mayflower Bocawina can be combined with a day trip to Cockscomb (just to the south), or it can easily fill a whole day or more.
Guides and Tours
When I rappelled the smaller 125-foot-high Bocawina Falls, the drive was just a little over 30 minutes, followed by a short hike of moderate difficulty but with an impressive view.Ramon Guzman (tel. 501/533-7136) is a longtime park warden, and he may even greet you at the entrance. Doreen Guzman is an officer in the Friends of Mayflower Bocawina National Park, an organization that comanages the park with the government.
In Dangriga, C & G Tours and Charters (29 Oak St., Dangriga, tel. 501/522-3641) can arrange a trip to Mayflower for large groups. The licensed guides at Bocawina Adventures & Eco-Tours (tel. 501/670-2622 or 501/670-8019) will pick you up wherever you stay in the area. A day-long adventure (from US$50 pp, no minimum number of people) hiking to and rappelling from one or all five waterfalls inside the park—Antelope, Bocawina, Tears of the Jaguar, Peck Falls, and Big Drop—is well worth it. When I rappelled the smaller 125-foot-high Bocawina Falls, the drive was just a little over 30 minutes, followed by a short hike of moderate difficulty but with an impressive view. Wear adequate shoes.
Additional adventures include Belize’s longest single zip line, at 2,300 feet, and bird-watching. You can overnight at the renovated Mama Noots Eco Resort (tel. 501/670-8019, US$155-275, continental breakfast included), duplex cabanas set on beautifully landscaped grounds right in the park and with an on-site bar and restaurant.
For birding, the best guide is Charlton Castillo (tel. 501/661-8199, US$50 pp, minimum 2 people).
The biggest challenge to enjoying Mayflower Bocawina is simply getting to the trailhead, which lies 4.5 miles west of the Southern Highway with no public transportation of any kind making the trip. (The turnoff is just north of Silk Grass Village.) Sign in at the park office and interpretive center (7am-4pm daily) and pay the US$5 per person entrance fee. There is a campground (US$5) at the park entrance; bring your own gear.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Belize Cayes.