Mayflower Bocawina National Park
The Mayflower Bocawina National Park, just recently declared a National Park in 2001, can be found on a feeder road off mile six on the Southern Highway, just 4 1/2 miles in. The narrow dirt road shaded by the jungle’s lush canopy of trees inspires excitement in travelers and hints at the adventures to be found in the hidden destination covering over 7,000 acres.
There are three Mayan sites located in the park, all of which are still under excavation by the Mayflower Archeology Project. The Visitor Center is still under construction but the two park wardens, Mr. Guzman and Mr. Peck are always around to assist and inform visitors about the area. Maps of the trails and sites are available at the Center as well. Admission is BZ$10.00. The Mayflower Maya Site is located just across the road from the Visitor Center and the other two, Maintzunun and T’au Witz are located a short distance away from the Mayflower site, through verdant jungle paths where you may encounter the exotic giant heliconia flower and sweet bunches of the Banana Musa balbisiana fruits native to the Mayflower area.
In the four years of the park’s establishment, a bird list has been developed that amounts to 238 species so far. Commonly seen are motmots, trogans, great green macaws, parrots and toucans. Apart from being a bird watcher’s paradise, the park is also home to an abundant amount of wildlife including the howler monkey, peccaries, anteaters, coatimundis, tapirs and the infamous jaguar, whose tracks are often seen on the many trails in the park.
Three waterfalls, each uniquely different and pristine also grace the park’s rich character. Bocawina and Three Sisters Falls are in close proximity to each other and can be reached through a relatively easy hike into the mountains on a flat jungle path with slightly steeper inclines closer to the falls. The soothing sound of the water cascading down the rocks and falling into the large pools at the bottom can be heard at least ten minutes before you actually arrive at the falls. The anticipation of what lies ahead is greatly gratified when the waterfalls come into view. Antelope Falls, closer to the Mayan Sites, is a more difficult hike requiring the use of ropes at times when the path becomes too slippery, particularly in the rainy season. (Because the Mayan City was built at the base of this waterfall, it is believed that it was of some religious significance to the Mayan People). The steep trail up is again, well worth the effort when Antelope falls emerges, falling 100 feet above you into clear, refreshing pools. After the hike, a swim in the pools provides the most invigorating experience. After the swim, you can absorb the breathtaking view of the jungle canopy and straight out to the blue Caribbean Sea from the mountainside where you stand.