January 23, 2012

Belize Day Tour: Mountain Pine Ridge

Lower Dover Field Journal

The Mountain Pine Ridge region of the Cayo District in Western Belize provides plenty of sightseeing opportunities. One can go on a day tour to the Maya ruins of Caracol and get back to Lower Dover Jungle Lodge in time for dinner. Along the way, there will be plenty of pot holes, wildlife photo opportunities, and numerous sightseeing turnoffs.

The name Mountain Pine Ridge comes from the large granite outcroppings present only here in Belize. These granite peaks, along with the country’s hottest daytime temperatures, provide the necessary habitat for pine forest growth.  Unfortunately, an invasive species called the southern pine bark beetle devastated many of the old growth parts of the pine forest in early 2000.  Luckily, a successful reforestation program has worked to halt a complete extinction of the pine trees in Mountain Pine Ridge.

The first stop on the way is Rio On Pools, a fantastic swimming…

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Belize Day Tours: Tikal National Park

Lower Dover Field Journal

The ancient Maya city of Tikal is one of the great attractions on the Maya Trail. The Mayan Trail stretches from the Yucatan in Mexico, into Guatemala, and all throughout Belize.  It is a common stop for backpackers looking to see the best of the Mayan heartland. If you can only see one Maya site, Tikal National Park is our top pick for Maya travel destination in 2012.

Located within the Peten Maya Biosphere Reserve, which covers a huge portion of Northern Guatemala, Tikal is one of many archaeology sites in the area. It was once a great capital city during Classic Maya times. It remained extremely important until neighboring capital Caracol conquered the city in 556 AD. A 130 year hiatus of building ensued. Only after Tikal conquered Caracol’s closest ally, Calakmul, in 695 AD did Tikal regain it’s significance in the Maya world. It was after this time that…

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