The Rio Frio Caves are some of the most delightful vacation and recreation areas of Belize, especially in the hot summer months. These natural tourist attractions are located in the Mountain Pine Ridge area in western Belize, and are easily accessible from Georgeville on the Western Highway. Image Above: Rio On Pools at Mountain Pine Ridge.
One of the more majestic areas of Belize is the the Mountain Pine Ridge, a completely unique area of western Belize is completely different from any other forest in the country. The ridge is a forest reserve that was created in the year 1944 to protect the area with its beautiful pine trees and hillsides made of granite.
The Mountain Pine Ridge is situated on a granite massif, with some areas of limestone in the west of the reserve (remnants of a limestone plateau laid during the Jurassic period). Sinkholes and caves are common in the limestone areas. The underlying soils are predominantly sandy. The elevation of the reserve averages between 400 and 700 m (1,312 to 2,296 ft) with the highest point being Baldy Beacon at 1,017 m (3,336 ft), and dropping to 120 m (394 ft) at the lowest point on the Macal River.
The Macal River forms the boundaries of the reserve to the west and south and is fed by tributaries including Rio Frio, Rio On, Privassion Creek and Pinol Creek. To the north-east some small streams feed into Barton Creek.
The Rio Frio Cave is one cave attraction in Belize you do not want to miss. Well-maintained steps and stepping stones lead visitors into the entrance to the cave which is impressive just because of its vast chamber sheer size. With its wide entrance, this is an easy cave to access for the first-time cave explorer.
From the massive 70 foot arches at both ends of this cave to the room sized, vari- colored boulders and impressive chandelier-like stalactites hanging from the cave’s ceiling, the name of the game in this cave is big. Standing in front of the cave, visitors are dwarfed by the expansiveness of the opening that beckons them forward. Everything is gigantic in this cave!
When you enter, you will see huge stalactites hanging from the massive cathedral-like vault which was part of a cave system that the Maya used to bury their dead. Huge boulders are strewn throughout the cave and a stream flows through forming pools with cascading falls. For the Rio Frio cave system, you won’t need much help seeing what lies ahead.
During the day sunlight streams through from one end to end to the other illuminating your path along a quarter-mile trek. But a waterproof flashlight comes in handy when choosing the best footing as you prepare to exit the cave. The small river that runs through this cave is surrounded by sandy beaches on both ends, a great place to take a rest or mount an impromptu picnic.
This is easily one of Belize’s less strenuous cave tours and least physically challenging adventures. Highly recommended for seniors, kids, those less fit than they should be, or for the first time cave explorer.