Pine forests really aren't the first thing you usually think about when you plan a trip to San Ignacio Belize, or anywhere in Central America for that matter. Mountain Pine Ridge is an anomaly, a really, really neat anomaly, and Maximum Adventure Tours can take you there. The trip / tour is split up into three main parts: Big Rock Falls, Rio Frio Cave and Rio On Pools. If you want to throw in some ruins with it check out the Caracol Tour or the Caving / Spelunking Trip if you want some very off the beaten path caves. The Caves and Camping all inclusive package will also get you into Mountain Pine Ridge. It's a big place with lots to see and do.
Big Rock Falls is the main waterfall on the trip and it's a good one. With Maximum Adventure Tours it's usually the second or third stop depending on the group. Big Rock Falls is a much more active hike than Rio On Pools and Rio Frio Cave. There's short walk to the main part of the path, which gently makes it's way down an almost 90 degree incline. There's a handrail and some things that resemble steps, but fear not, grandmothers have done it, so can you. At the bottom you'll find yourself along the edge of the Privassion River and up stream about 200 ft is Big Rock Falls. At this point there are a few great places to swim, sit, lay down, take pictures - this is your goal. To your left you'll see the falls towering 150 ft overhead. To the right, a serene view of a beautiful river. The basin of Big Rock Falls has never been measured but there are two diving ledges at 40 ft and 60 ft and no one has ever hit bottom. If you want to take the big plunge, ask your guide and he'll show you how to climb up.
Rio Frio Cave is the only cave you'll be visiting on the day trip. If you want to go caving more than hiking have a look at the Caving / Spelunking Trip. That said this is still a neat cave. It has two entrances, one on each end. "Is that still a cave then," you ask. Well you can't see through it, you'll be given lights, there are formations, giant boulders, bats and it has a great echo. So Yes. One of the best things about going through Rio Frio Cave is that it's not as restricted as some of the more popular caves, such as Actun Tunichil Muknal. You're a bit more on your own, if you want to be. It's not too far from the trail head, so it's one of the quicker stops on Mountain Pine Ridge tour.
If day spas were a naturally occurring phenomena, Rio On Pools would be top of the list. It is the calmest, most picturesque spot in San Ignacio, Cayo and probably Belize. The main part of Rio On Pools is made up of several small pools, a couple of large ones and 3 small waterfalls. The waterfalls are small enough to lie under and get a "rain fall" massage. After that you can float down a pool or two and relax the swirling water and if that gets a little on the cool side, you can hop out and onto one of the warm slabs of sandstone that are scattered around. Aside from all this lounging and massaging, you'll be treated to an amazing panorama of Mountain Pine Ridge.
There are two ways to get to the falls. The first of which is from the picnic area on the other side of the ravine from the pools. There's a little path that gets you to the bottom then is a 15min hike between small falls and pools up the other side. The other way is a bit easier. There is a small foot path on the same level an the top of the falls a short distance before the picnic area. Usually everyone goes to the picnic area to take a picture or two, then you get the choice of which way you want to go.
The Price Tag
- Day - 85us pp - min 2 people
- Includes Food, Drink, Transportation and Entrance Fees
What you need to bring
- bottle o' water
- change of clothes
- sturdy footwear
- extra snacks if you want them