The worlds first sanctuary created specifically for
the elusive jaguar ….
The Cockscomb Basin is also home to one of Belize’s highest points, Victoria Peak and a number of rare species, like the red eye tree frog.
The Sanctuary is a protected subtropical rain forest surrounded by the Maya Mountains. Its name comes from the cockscomb profile of the nearby Maya Mountains.
“Dry Season” runs from February – May. During the wet season, June – January, most of the annual 100 to 180 inches of rain occurs.
The Cockscomb Basin, ringed on three sides by high ridges and mountains, is reached by a rough six-mile entrance road from the village of Maya Centre.
|Inside the Preserve well-maintained trails have been cut to give visitors a taste of the area’s bio-diversity, offering impressive views and an ideal environment for plant spotting, serious birding or seeking out wildlife, jungle flora and fauna in a wilderness state.
The trail network continues to expand, including a three-day hike to the second highest point in Belize, 3,543-foot Victoria Peak. One trail leads to a waterfall and is a great place for a swim. You can also rent inner tubes and float down the South Stann Creek River, while listening to the toucans and howlers off in the dense foliage.
Although the jaguar is what the Reserve is famous for, you will unlikely see one because they are nocturnal. You will, however, see lush tropical forest, many of the 300 species of birds and indications of the 55 different mammals that inhabit the sanctuary.
These include the endangered Scarlet Macaw, Keel Billed Toucan, Emerald Toucanet, and the King Vulture. The reserve is also home to an abundance of amphibians and reptiles, including the Red-Eyed Tree Frog. Among the mammals are coatis, tapirs, deer, otters, anteaters, armadillos, and of course jaguars.
The forest itself is made up of a wide range of plant species. These include some large trees such as Ceiba, Mahogany, and Santa Maria. A large number of orchids and bromeliads can also be found here.
At the entrance to the park, Mayan Centre, offers for sale the typical but beautiful Mayan wares. ** remember to bring bug spray!!!