Mark Read

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is Belize's most famous jaguar sanctuary; at 200 sq miles, it's also one of Belize's biggest protected areas.

Part of the eastern Maya Mountain range, most visits to the sanctuary are restricted to a small eastern pocket, which contains a visitors center, the sanctuary's accommodations and a network of excellent walking trails.

Early mornings are the best time for wildlife watching, as most animals seek shelter in the heat of the day. Many visitors come as part of large (and inevitably noisy) tours arranged through nearby lodges or travel agencies, but your best bet for viewing more elusive wildlife is to come alone or in as small and quiet a group as possible.