Sibun River, view from Hummingbird Highway
The Sibun River is a river in Belize which drains a large central portion of the country. Xibun is an alternate Mayan spelling of Sibun that appears on some Spanish colonial-period maps of the region and is sometimes used to refer to the ancient Maya people who inhabited the region.
The river starts in the Maya Mountains, at approximately 800 meters above sea level, where it is known as the Caves Branch River, and flows through a gorge until it reaches an alluvial floodplain, where citrus and cacao are planted. Here the river valley is flanked by Karst topography riddled with Maya cave sites. Before the river reaches the village of Freetown Sibun, river figs and spiny bamboo (Guadua longifolia) are common along its banks; along the stretch of river between the coast and the village, mangroves are predominant. It empties into the Caribbean Sea, south of Belize City. The lower reaches of the river are prominent in scenes from the 1986 film The Mosquito Coast.
Photograph by Astrum Helicopters
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