Mountain Pine Ridge Belize: What To Visit & How To Get There

Updated 3 min read
girl under small waterfall
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Mountain Pine Ridge offers access to Big Rock Waterfalls, Rio on Pools, Rio Frio Cave & Thousand Foot Falls.

Going with a car rental to this reserve gives you the greatest flexibility and is cheaper than taking a tour.

Free

Entrance Fee

8AM โ€” 5PM

Opening Hours

Big Rock Falls

Big Rock Falls is my all-time favorite site and the closest to San Ignacio Town. It's a 150ft (45m) tall waterfall with a pool of water that's perfect for swimming on a hot day. Aptly named Big Rock, you can launch off this giant stone and plunge into the water.

girl jumping into waterfall
Photo of Big Rock Falls at Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
More info
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Open Map
  • Time to Get There: 1 hour 30 mins

Big Rock is a bit different from the other sites. Here's what to expect.

  • a short but steep 5 minute hike downwards
  • a longer and possibly grueling hike upwards
  • slightly slippery stairs if it's raining
  • perfect swimming pool that you can jump into
trail stairs with nails as grip
Photo of Big Rock trail stairs

If you're looking for an adrenaline rush, you can attempt to climb up trail beside the waterfall and jump down into the water. My friends and I have actually climbed all the way to the top of the 150 foot waterfall using that same trail.

Rio on Pools

My second favorite site in region is Rio on Pools. It differs from Big Rock because it has tiny waterfalls with dozens of pools of water to choose from. On weekends, you can catch locals cooking their barbecue by the river.

girl under small waterfall
Photo of girl enjoying Rio on Pools
More info
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Open Map
  • Time to Get There: 1 hours 30 mins

For a little more adventure, you can go jumping from boulder to boulder until you hit a dead end. My friends and I have spent hours in this site listening to the rush of the water and enjoying the fresh air and spectacular views.

Rio Frio Cave

Rio Frio Cave has the largest entrance of any cave in Belize standing at 65ft (20m) tall. There is a small river running through the cave with a small beach-looking sand inside. The site is very close to Rio on Pools (15min drive) and worth a quick stop.

silhouette of girl inside cave
Photo from the inside of Rio Frio Cave by Christian Nunes
small sandy beach area inside cave
Photo of Rio Frio Cave sandy area by Mark Sowul
More info
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Open Map
  • Time to Get There: 1 hour 45 mins

1000 Foot Falls

1000 Foot Falls is actually 1600 feet tall and the highest waterfall in the country. Unfortunately the viewpoint of the waterfall is a bit underwhelming and the hikes to the base take up to 2 hours.

viewpoint area for waterfall with pine forest backdrop
Photo of 1000ft Falls Viewpoint
large waterfall surrounded by pine forest
Photo of 1000ft Falls Waterfall
More info
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Open Map
  • Time to Get There: 2 hours 30 mins

The long drive is worth it if you are into birding and want to get a look at the orange-breasted falcon.

red jeep on pine forest road
Photo of 4x4 Jeep at Mountain Pine Ridge
tires with orange mud stuck to it
Photo of muddy tires from the road

If you're planning on visiting this site, rent a 4x4 and be prepared for a steep, muddy and rutted road. I would recommend to reconsider going if it's a rainy day unless you enjoy that type of wild adventure.

orange and black hawk on branch
Photo of Orange Breasted Falcon at Mountain Pine Ridge

How to get to Mountain Pine Ridge

  1. Rent a Car - car rental cost is $75 USD a day and is cheaper than going on a tour.
  2. Carpool - check hostels if they have any organized trips to the reserve and offer to pitch in with gas/petrol.
  3. Take a Tour - tours start at $85 USD to a single attraction but might be the best option if you're pressed for time.

Camping at Mountain Pine Ridge

There are signs throughout the reserve saying No Camping so if you'd like to legally camp and have access to bathroom services, there are two options.

Pine Ridge Lodge
San Miguel Campgrounds

Alternatively, you can camp outside the reserve. There are two nearby villages called Cristo Rey Village and San Antonio Village. The people here are kind and can possibly offer you a small area in their yard to camp.

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