Top 5 hidden gems in Belize
Visiting Belize and looking for hidden gems that are not on every tourist´s radar?
In this blog post I will share my TOP 5 hidden gems in Belize with you.
Check them all out and make sure to add some to your Belize bucketlist.
1. Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
One of my favorite places in all of Central America and such an surprising find.
The Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve is home to many waterfalls, great hiking trails caves as well as, you guessed it, pine trees.
After having spent many months in Central America, mostly dealing with beaches and jungle, this change of scenery was very welcome.
This hidden gem is a Reserve in the mountains and has a different climate than the rest of Belize. So apart from countless pine trees and waterfalls, you also find much cooler temperatures here than in the rest of Belize.
I stayed at a campground that was covered in beautiful pine trees, with a few different hiking trails and walking distance to the Big Rock Falls.
How to get to Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve?
Pretty sure the only option to get here is with your own car. The roads within the reserve are mainly dirt roads and during rainy season in pretty poor condition. I did make use of my 4×4 more than once while exploring the reserve.
Where to stay in Mountain Pine Ridge?
There are a few accommodation options within the reserve, for example the Pine Ridge Lodge. I stayed at a campground called San Miguel campground inside the reserve and I also spent some nights about 20 minutes from the reserve in a magical Airbnb called alma del rio.
What to do/ see in Mountain Pine Ridge?
Hiking, camping, waterfalls, caves, forest
- Big Rock Falls
- 1000 feet falls
- Rio Frio Cave
- Rio on Pools
- Caracol (drive through the entire reserve and continue on a long dirt road)
For a detailed blog post about the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, click HERE.
2. Mayflower Bocawina National Park
This National Park is located near Dangriga and home to stunning waterfalls, great hiking trails AND PROBABLY THE WORST BITING BUGS YOU WILL FIND IN YOUR LIFE. Lol
But seriously, my legs looked like I have some weird skin disease the day after I visited Mayflower Bocawina. But, still worth it and I would visit again. Maybe I would just come better prepared.
I went to Mayflower Bocawina National Park without having many expectations, as there is not a whole lot of information online.
This hidden gem in Belize offers around 3 different hiking trails varying in length and difficulty. Most of the trails either lead to a waterfall or pass a waterfall.
I did two out of the three trails when I visited and enjoyed them both very much.
During rainy season the trails get quite muddy, so come prepared for that.
While I visited (I stayed there for one night and spent two full days there), I only saw one other tourist in the entire time. So definitely not well visited and a great hidden gem!
Back to the bugs again: As far as I managed to evaluate: most of my bites came from botlass flies, looking like small, black flies that are usually flying around fruit and veggies. I did see them landing on me, but did not feel their bites. So I did not really make much effort to get them off my legs. Well, lesson learned!
How to get to Mayflower Bocawina?
Only way is to get here with your own car or with a private tour. Dirt road for a few kms from the main road, but in OK condition.
Where to stay in Mayflower Bocawina?
There is one lodge/hotel in the National Park, but when I visited they were closed. I personally camped at the National Park, which I really enjoyed (apart from the flies) If you are planning to visit during the day, you can also base yourself in Dangriga and make your way to this hidden gem from there.
What to do and see?
Waterfalls, hiking trails, wildlife, jungle, unexcavated ruins
3. Little Peter Oasis
One of my favorite places on this planet and an incredible hidden gem in Belize! I also wrote a whole blog post about my stay at Little Peter Oasis, if you would like to know more!
Always wanted your own private island? Little Peter Oasis is making these dreams come true. Just instead of owning one, you get to rent one.
I stayed here as part of a collaboration and absolutely loved it!
The island rental includes the following:
- boat transfer from the main land
- stay in an overwater bungalow
- 4 island staff members (including a private chef preparing 3 meals per day)
- unlimited activities such as snorkling, fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding
The island also has it´s own deep blue lagoon, which is perfect for swimming and surrounded by a reef that offers great snorkling.
The best? No neighbors!
Let me tell you, this place is real heaven! But of course, renting your own private island comes with a certain price. Definitely not the cheapest vacation option out there.
But if you are looking for a cool place to stay for your honeymoon or anniversary and aren´t on a tight budget– this is it!
How to get to Little Peter Oasis?
Boat transfer from the mainland is included in the rental price. The port is located near the village Hopkins (another one of my favorite hidden gems). You can park your vehicle there until you return for a small nightly fee. It is also possible to arrive to the island by helicopter at an additional price.
What to see and do?
Snorkling, Kayaking, swimming, paddleboarding, enjoying island life
4. Xunantunich Ruins
I have been visiting a looooot of Maya ruins during my time in Central America but the Xunantunich ruins were one of my favorites.
One of the main reasons was that they were MUCH LESS crowded than many other ruins I have been to. Now this place is not exactly a well kept secret, but due to much less people visiting, I decided to add it to my hidden gem list.
The Xunantunich ruins are located only a few kilometers from the border to Guatemala. To get there you need to hop on a small, hand-operated ferry to cross a river and then walk about 1.5 kilometers to the ruins themselves.
The entrance fee to the ruins is 10 Belize dollars/ 5 USD per person for foreigners.
The ruins are impressive and you can climb to the top of the main ruin, from where you have an amazing view over the surrounding jungle and enjoy the special vibe of this place.
How to get to Xunantunich ruins?
To get to this hidden gem, you park your car at the main road and take the hand-operated ferry to the other side of the river. Depending on the water levels, you might also be able to get on the ferry with your vehicle.
From there you walk about 1.5 kilometers uphill to get to the entrance of the ruins.
Where to stay near Xunantunich ruins?
I visited this ruins on the day when I crossed the border from Belize to Guatemala, as it is really, really close to the border. The previous night I stayed at the Clarissa Falls Resort, a beautiful place to stay in the middle of nature, right by a river with waterfalls.
This little beach town had such an authentic and charming Caribbean vibe that I had to add it to my TOP 5 hidden gems in Belize.
It is not exactly a secret place, there are already quite a few hotels and restaurants located here. But it is much less visited and crowded than for example Placencia.
I initially only came here to take the boat to my hidden gem #3, Little Peter Oasis.
But I stayed for two nights, relaxed at the beach and just enjoyed the chilled Caribbean vibe here.
There are not really any special places to see in Hopkins, but it´s just overall a nice place and I highly recommend adding it to your Belize itinerary, if you have the chance to!
How to get to Hopkins?
Best option: Get a rental car and drive to Hopkins.
Where to stay in Hopkins?
There a few hotels in the area, from budget to super luxury. (the Jaguar Reefs for example) Also the private island rental Little Peter Oasis is only. 20-minute boat ride away.
I camped in my car for two nights at the beach.
What to do and see?
Beach, stroll around town, enjoy the Caribbean vibe, take a boat tour or go kayaking at Sittee River.
Added some of this amazing hidden gems in Belize to your bucketlist? I hope so!
Make sure to check out more blog posts about Belize to help with planning yor perfect trip: