Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary was on my Belize bucket list since I’ve started planing my trip. The park is home to the most important population of jaguars in the world. Chances of spotting one are slight but sightings happen from time to time. The site was declared a forest reserve in 1984 and became a wildlife sanctuary in 1986. The protected area was expanded along the years to reach 250 000 acres today.
Jaguars are not the only park’s inhabitants, pumas, ocelots, tapirs, birds, and reptiles live in the park. The sanctuary is also home to hundreds of different plant species and offers a diverse ecosystem.
You can visit the Cockscomb basin wildlife sanctuary on your own but getting there without a car is difficult and you don’t have access to some of the trails and activities without a guide. I did my tour with Dtourz, a small local company based in Placencia, run by Doyle, an expert in local flora and fauna.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Dtourz, as always all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.
You start the tour with an easy trek through the jungle where you’ll get the chance to learn all about the history of the preserve and the use of many tree and plants. The trail is 2.5 kilometers long and is easy to trek. You might spot some birds and mammals along the way. Jaguars, pumas, and ocelots are seen from time to time but chances of spotting them are pretty scarce.
The trail does a loop, once we finished the trek we had some delicious lunch near the visitor center. After this is when the fun part begins. We left all our belongings inside the car, grabbed a tube and headed towards the river. Floating along the river, surrounded by the wilderness, gazing at the clouds, is an amazing experience. It’s also super fun, especially when you have no idea what you’re doing, like me (beware of branches and big rocks sticking out).
The next part is a short trek to a nice waterfall where we relaxed for a while, drinking water filtered by long tree roots, listening to the birds singing. Then comes the highlight of the tour: the rock sliding. We slid on foamy rocks, following the river course for a while. It’s a unique experience, a bit scary also, but Doyle explained everything and for each slide, how to position yourself. I just loved it, it’s so much fun and not something you can do everywhere.
Doyle is the guide on most of the tours he organizes. He’s the only guide allowed to do the rock sliding part, and it’s by far the best part of the tour. He’s a great guide, funny, super knowledgeable about the forest and the plants. I really enjoyed this tour, from beginning to start everything was exciting and interesting. I’ve learned a lot and had a lot of fun.
Dtourz is based in Placencia and specializes in inland tours. Doyle is known for his Cockscomb tour (he also organizes night tours), but he also offers tours to Xunantunich (Maya ruins near the Guatemalan border) and the blue hole, Maya ruins in the Toledo district and tours to see the rare Scarlet Macaws from December to April. Check out his website for more info or his Facebook.
What you’ll need for the tour:
- comfortable shoes that can get wet
- an action camera
- biodegradable sunscreen
- natural mosquito repellent
- clothes to protect you from the sun
- a towel and a change of clothes
Related articles to help you plan your trip to Belize:
- Best places to visit in Belize
- Placencia – Belize’s best beach destination
- How to save space when packing
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