Day 4 of my friends visit! Yesterday (at Moho Caye) was surf but today was the turf (inland for a jungle hike) and it was a whole lot less relaxing than lounging around a private island. One of the hardest (maybe the hardest) hikes you can do as a day trip in Southern Belize, Big Drop Falls in Mayflower Bocawina is a hard haul but one of my favorite hikes because of it- because it’s so much harder to reach it feels a bit exclusive. It is certainly not what any average Joe Vacationer gets to experience. You need to be in shape, prepared for a long slog, and up for a little adventure… I just KNEW my friends would enjoy and appreciate this challenge!
We dropped the kids at the Kids Center and headed out to Bocawina mid-morning (this is an adults-only hike, not suited for children as it is too challenging but if you’re looking for a family friendly hike check out this trail at Cockscomb). This is a full day endeavor from Placencia. The drive to the park is around an hour (maybe a bit over) and the hike itself can take several hours, and of course you’ll want to factor in some time for enjoying the waterfall. I’ve written about Bocawina before, the park contains my favorite hike in Southern Belize as well as really cool adventure activities like ziplining and waterfall rappelling (click the links to check out past posts).
My friends are fit. I mean, I met Jessy at the gym in New Jersey and recruited her for my women’s flag football team; she brought in Justyna and together we enjoyed a lot of years of blood, sweat, and comradery on the field (and the street hockey court too)- I know these girls are tough! Mike runs ultra-marathons, the kind that take all day and night, the kind for people with healthy hearts but more than a few screws loose… My point is: this was the perfect crew to tackle this trail and once we arrived at the park, we jammed out to the waterfall in record time despite the humidity. The hiking gets a little dicey at the end when you make a descent to the Fall via some cliff-clinging switchbacks that you’ll need to use the provided rope railings to navigate.
Big Drop Fall is beautiful and if you visit you are almost always likely to have it all to yourself, as we did on this particularly lovely day in late September. The water was deliciously refreshing after a steamy hike and we wasted no time jumping in for a swim.
When we steeled ourselves for the return hike, Mike was curious about the alternate loop that connects the Big Drop hike to the Pecks Fall and Tears of the Jaguar hikes. The park rangers recommend attempting this loop with a minimum of 8 hours but Mike does this sort of thing for fun so he decided to take off ahead of us and run the route. He beat us to the car by about ten minutes! On the drive home from Bocawina we made the obligatory stop at North Pole Beers for a cold one to rehydrate then did the requisite photo-op at Mayan Sky Adventure Park’s fake temple across the street.
*Bocawina National Park charges a small entrance fee: $10bzd for foreign visitors and $2 for nationals and permanent residents
**Travel Tip: I always bring a change of clothes and flip flops to put on after a hike so I can make the drive home dry and comfortable. I also always pack plenty of water, bug spray, and I bring Benadryl just in case. You wouldn’t necessarily know you were allergic to Doctor Fly bites (for example) until maybe you were bitten and it would be a real bummer to find that out when you’re 2 hours hike away from the rangers’ station. It’s always best to be prepared in Belize and make your own contingency plans; often when you find yourself in need of help you need to help yourself.
Check out this video clip of the hike on my YouTube channel: