Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary


As Wild as it Gets: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

It’s a jungle out there but you won’t mind going wild when you check out the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS), called by many one of the best examples of an animal refuge on earth. This expansive sanctuary is home to birds, plants and creatures of the earth. Sound like Eden? There are similarities. Anyone interested in bio-diversity and eager to see Belize’s Herculean conservation efforts in person will be fascinated by all they see. Some say time spent here makes them feel more hopeful of the planet’s future.

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Imagine Noah’s Ark after the flood, only thousands of creatures exit the ark rather than just two of each species. This 250,000 acre wonderland is also richly endowed with breathtaking waterfalls, mountains, nature trails and rivers, creating the perfect environment for species to thrive in harmony. As the only jaguar reserve on the planet, these cats keep company with hundreds of neo-tropical birds, other wildcats, deer, tapir, reptiles, insects, amphibians and all manner of other sanctuary inhabitants. You might not see all of them but you could spot their tracks on trails and river banks.

Why you must visit Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

There’s nothing in the Caribbean that matches the bio-diversity found in this expansive, lush corner of Belize. The CBWS preserve is home to mile-upon-mile of indigenous flowers, trees and plants in an environment that is so hospitable the region even has its own “moisture regulation” system that’s a perfect mix of rain, temperature and slight winds. Since tropical rainforests like this one are disappearing at alarming rates, a visit here gives you opportunities to see nature as it was thousands of years ago-—perhaps before mankind roamed the earth.

Where is Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary located?

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 20 miles south of Dangriga and can be reached by taking the Southern Highway. If you’re in close proximity to the area’s Maya Center Village, you’re just about six miles away.

When is the best time to go Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary?

If you’re a birding fanatic, migrant birds are best observed in December when it’s high season in Belize. The Sanctuary’s animals are more likely to be sighted in June and July because the rains tend to bring them out. If you don’t have a seasonal preference or if finances aren’t governing your visit, all creatures of the CBWS are happy to welcome you year round, but don’t attempt the 17-mile Victoria Peak climb unless it’s dry season for safety reasons.

How to get to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary?

The dirt road from the Southern Highway extends for six miles isn’t paved, so if you drive, you’ll need a car capable of tackling rugged terrain. Use public transport if you can. Buses from Belize City and Dangriga Town get you to Punta Gorda Town and the Maya Village Center, then hike into the park. If you’re coming from a distance, grab a Maya Island Air or Tropic Air flight for the 20-minute trip to Dangriga. Taxis and tour companies are also viable options.

Best way to experience Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

First, the ideal way to experience this wildlife paradise is to book accommodations on premises rather than staying elsewhere so you’re in the midst of the action. Housing is rather primitive (think summer camp as a kid). The facility sleeps 24 people and has toilet facilities. Alternately, bring camping gear and a camping permit. During your visit, see Chucil Baluum, a Classic Period Mayan ceremonial site, Victoria Peak at an elevation of 3,675 feet and as many trails as time allows. Include visits to swimming areas, waterfalls, pine forests and the newest trail of all: The Outlier. The right guide can morph an already fascinating visit into an extraordinary one.

Interested in visiting Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary on your Belize Vacation? Contact us and we will recommend you with the best tour company in Belize to do this tour.




  • 10 Reasons to Visit Belize in Summer | Belize Vacation & Travel Guide Reply

    February 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

    […] Belize is teeming with natural wonders, and the flora and fauna are quite fascinating. It features numerous forests, jungles and reefs that host unique animals and plants. The country is also home to the world’s only jaguar preserve. […]

  • 24 Epic Journeys To Take Across Belize Before You Die Reply

    February 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    […] Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary This reserve offers visitors unforgettable sights of impressive waterfalls, rushing rapids, unique wildlife, and lush vegetation. […]

  • Mayflower Bocawina National Park Reply

    February 27, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    […] in close proximity to Cockscomb Basin, expect to see more here simply because there’s much less foot traffic. Bocawina Falls is a […]

  • 31 Reasons Living In Belize Spoils You For Life Reply

    February 28, 2016 at 11:24 am

    […] Because of Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve It’s a place with stunning […]

  • Top 5 Things to do in Placencia Belize Reply

    March 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    […] Cockscomb became a forest reserve and no-hunting area in 1984. A small part of it was given sanctuary status in 1986, and the rest followed in 1990. The people of the Mayan village of Quan Bank were compulsorily relocated – many now live in Maya Center and make a living from the sanctuary. […]

  • 4 Things to do in Dangriga Belize Reply

    April 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    […] Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1986 as the first jaguar reserve in the world. Covering approximately 150 square miles of tropical forest, the park lies at the foot of Victoria Peak, the highest peak of Belize’s Maya Mountains. […]

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