New tourism facilities at the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve were completed under the Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) II, which is a five-year program financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and executed through the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations.
The project includes facilities at two areas within the reserve: (1) the Rio On Pools enhancement consists of a visitors’ pavilion, a panoramic viewing area, two public restrooms, and changing rooms; (2) the Rio Frio Cave enhancement consists of three picnic palapas, restroom, and new access trails. Both facilities will now have eco-friendly sewage systems, and the supply of water will be powered by solar energy.
The facilities were handed over on Friday, March 26, 2021, by Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, to Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management. The Forestry Department will now be responsible to maintain the facilities, as the managing entity in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
Representatives from both ministries, including the Forestry Department, were in attendance, as well as the STP project team, and members of the Belize Tourism Board.
All these investments are intended to improve visitor experience, management, protection, sustainable use, and resiliency of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The Mountain Pine Ridge area presents a significant opportunity for both local and international tourism and has already seen an increase in visitors recently. The area is a recreational tourism hub and gateway to the adjacent protected areas of the Chiquibul and the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. Click photos for more pictures!