Canoeing on the Macal River
The rainforests of western Belize gently filter and purify rainwater which flows downstream from the Maya Mountains to the meandering Macal River. A beautiful natural setting teeming with birds, amphibians, and reptiles, and lushly covered in vegetation on its banks, a canoe trip down the Macal River is a unique opportunity to experience nature in Belize at its best.
Why You Have to Do a Canoe Tour of the Macal River
The Macal River starts in the highlands of the Maya Mountains of Belize and wends its way more than 200 miles (320 km) before exiting in the Caribbean Sea. While the headwaters are too turbulent for canoeing, the lower part of the river is navigable all year round with canoes.
Most canoe tours use either three-person canoes or inflatable kayaks that are ideal even for beginners. With an experienced local guide on board, participants can enjoy canoeing down one of the most beautiful rivers in Belize through unspoiled scenery teeming with life. Along the way, participants can get a chance to see hundreds of species of birds, including kingfishers, raptors, orange-breasted falcons, Gray Necked Wood Rails, Mangrove Swallows, the Social Flycatcher, rufous-capped warblers, crossbills, eastern bluebirds, pine siskins, and the Black Phoebe.
Although no one knows the exact origin of the name of the river, local legends say that it was named after a beautiful young maiden named Macall.
Where in Belize Is the Macal River?
The Macal River runs through Cayo District in the west of Belize. The best place for canoeing is upstream of the river near the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town.
When Is the Best Time to Go on a Canoe Tour of the Macal River
To avoid unpredictable tides and rain showers, the best time to enjoy a canoe tour of the Macal River is during the dry season which runs from approximately mid-November to mid-April.
Best Way to Get to the Macal River
Most guided canoe tours of the Macal River are based in San Ignacio.
Best Way to Experience a Canoe Tour of the Macal River
Head to San Ignacio to sign on with the experienced local tour companies. They’ll arrange for all necessary equipment, using three-person canoes or inflatable kayaks to ensure that participants can relax and enjoy the beautiful sights as they paddle down the Macal River.