Mayflower Bocawina National Park

Southern Belize

Black or Guatemalan Howler Monkey, alouatta pigra or caraya, sitting on a tree in Belize jungle and howling like crazy. They are also found in Mexico and Guatemala.; Shutterstock ID 650139157; Your name (First / Last): Alicia Johnson; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial ; Full Product or Project name including edition: Belize

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This beautiful 11-sq-mile park of jungle, mountains, waterfalls, walking trails, swimming holes and small Maya sites lies about 16 miles southwest of Dangriga and 12 miles northwest of Hopkins. The walks here are at least as good as the trails most people do at nearby Cockscomb Basin, and you’ll encounter far fewer tourists. You’ll see lots of birds, and the park is home to troops of black howler monkeys.

A 4-mile unpaved access road heads west from the Southern Hwy, 2 miles north of Silk Grass village, to the park visitors center, where you pay the park fees. Rangers will happily explain the walks and show you a map. Here you'll also find the partly excavated Mayflower Maya site, with two pyramids and nine other structures, occupied in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. The Antelope Trail leads down over Silk Grass Creek to the larger, unexcavated, partly tree-covered Maintzunun temple mound, 250yd away (built around AD 800). Continue on a further 1.7 miles – steep and strenuous in places with steps – to the beautiful 100ft-high Antelope Falls, with great panoramas. There's a further rope-assisted climb to the top of the falls.

The less demanding Bocawina Hill Trail (1.4 miles) leads to the lower and upper Bocawina Falls: there’s a cool swimming pool at the foot of the 50ft upper falls. Branch trails, for which a guide is recommended, lead to Peck Falls and Big Drop Falls.