Maya Mountains is a range of hills mostly in southern Belize, extending about 70 miles northeastward from across the Guatemalan border into Central Belize. The range falls abruptly to the coastal plain to the east and north but more gradually to the west, becoming the Vaca Plateau, which extends into eastern Guatemala.
The highest points being Doyle's Delight (3,688 feet - Cayo District) and Victoria Peak (3,680 feet - Stann Creek District), in the transverse Cockscomb Range, which extends seaward perpendicularly from the main divide. Doyle's Delight is named after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. In 1912, Doyle wrote a book called "The Lost World", which refers to this mountain range as both beautiful and wild.
While both of the tallest peaks are difficult to reach, the Maya Mountains remain a top attraction in Belize due to their amazing views, unspoiled landscapes, the abundance of wildlife, and the number of waterfalls found in the area. Many of Belize’s national forests and protected conservation areas are found partially or wholly inside the Maya Mountain range.
The mountains take their name from the Maya people, who retreated into the mountains before the Spaniards, leaving behind lost cities such as Lubaantun on the mountains southeastern side.
DOYLE'S DELIGHT (3,688 feet - Cayo District)
Doyle's Delight, the country's tallest peak. The mountain remains hidden in the very heart of the Maya Mountains, which sits right on the border of Toledo & Cayo Districts. Doyle's Delight summit is an immense area nearly 300m long and a good 100m wide.
The vegetation and the soil changes dramatically on a daily basis, compare with the ridge top. Green, dripping, dark vegetation tapestries, where rivers disappear underground, howler monkeys roar from the treetops, thousand-year-old Mayan temples await discover, and ticks, chiggers and flesh-boring flies buzz and bite.
VICTORIA PEAK (3,680 feet - Stann Creek District)
Victoria Peak is the second highest mountain in the range at a height of 3,680 feet and the second highest elevation in Belize (8 feet lower than Doyle's Delight), Victoria Peak is situated in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
On May 2, 1998, Victoria Peak was declared to be a natural monument. Prior to this declaration, Victoria Peak was part of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. At the launching of the 30th Anniversary Celebration on February 6, 1999, an agreement between the Belize Audubon Society and the Government of Belize was signed, adding Victoria Peak and Blue Hole Natural Monuments to the list of protected areas managed by the Belize Audubon Society.
Mount Margareth is almost unexplored mountain, in middle of the rain forest. Located in the North-East shores of the Maya Mountains, in Cayo District. Is completely covered with vegetation (quasist forests). This range is not terribly high, but it is comprised of extremely challenging terrain due in part to the constant weathering of its volcanic spine and limestone.
NATURAL PARKS & RESERVES
The Maya Mountains contains lot of interesting places such as: natural parks, natural reserves, sanctuaries with: Ancient city-building Mayans, lots of caves, creeks, rivers, rain forest, wild animals. All mentioned before are almost unexplored.
* Blue Hole National Park (665 acres)
* Chiquibul National Park (265,262 acres)
* Caracol Mayan Ruins (Lost City)
* Cockscomb Wildife Sanctuary & Jaguar Reserve (96,000 acres)
* Five Blue Lake National Park (4,060 acres)
* Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
* Colombia Forest Reserve, over half of the total area of Maya Mountains
The Maya Mountains continue to beckon outdoor adventure seekers who know that the nation's government supports a vibrant ecosystem that protects the nation's natural assets. The fact is appreciated by tourist eager to vacation in the shadow of this imposing mountain range, the mountains remain as stately as they did when the earth was formed. Easy to reach via Hummingbird and George Price Highways, the Maya Mountains will continue to intrigue and fascinate visitors for generations to come.
Scientists refer to those areas as "Green Paradise". Cause de diversity of flora and fauna, is rich in wildlife, including jaguar, deer, tapir, monkey, and kinkajou. Numerous species of birds inhabit the forests. Reptiles and amphibians include iguanas, crocodiles, and green tree frogs. It's been the focus of several recent expeditions, each of which has revealed new species never before recorded in Belize, and some new to science.
VICTORIA PEAK HIKING TRAILS
Rising abruptly from the lowlands, the jagged Cockscomb Mountains are an impressive mass of rock that is visible from the coast in clear days. The Victoria Peak Trail is open during Belize's dry season, February 1st to May 31st. Recommended to do it in 3-4 days hiking, 5 days if you're not in good conditions. All hikers must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide (experienced guides can be hired from the local communities buffering Cockscomb).
Maya Mountains - Geology
According to Researchgate.net, the range's geology is composed of Pre-Mesozoic crystaline, sedimentary and volcanic rock, but it's the sedimentary rock that tells the story of the mountains origin: a mix of "metamorphosed fluviomarine conglomerates, turbidites, graywackes, quartzites, sandstones, siltstones, shales and minor crinoidal limestones." Most materials were pushed up from the earth's core when the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates crashed together during the earth's formation.
Maya Mountains - Biggest Secret "Gold"
In addition to being a geological treasure, the Maya Mountains hold deeper secrets that have yet to be unearthed - Gold! Huge parts of the mountain range remain unexplored or under-explored due to hard-to-traverse terrain and thick vegetation. Because of this, it will take a major effort to extract gold from the area in the future, even with state-of-the-art prospecting tools. So the question remains to be asked, where did the Maya's get their gold? Who knows what secrets this land still holds and whether Belize's future will be shaped by plans to mine the mountain range.
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