Belize River

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The Belize River runs from East to West in Belize

The Belize River (aka the Old River) begins where the Mopan River and Macal River join just northeast of San Ignacio in Western Belize. Flowing west to east, it passes through many small towns and villages in the Cayo and Belize districts, ultimately emptying into the Caribbean Sea just north of Belize City.

Visiting the Belize River

The Belize River starts near San Ignacio in Branch Mouth Village, with the convergence of the Mopan River, which comes from Guatemala, and the Macal River, which flows down from Mountain Pine Ridge. From there, it runs west to east across Central Belize before flowing into the Caribbean Sea.

The Belize River was notably used by the ancient Maya for the transportation and trading of goods throughout the country, and during early colonial days, it was used to move logwood, mahogany, and chicle from San Ignacio to Belize City. In fact, well into the 20th century, the river was the primary trade and communication route between the interior and the coast.

Today, the Belize River is primarily used for leisure and tourism. Many locals use it for swimming and tourists use it for kayaking or canoeing tours. The river has some small rapids but it is primarily slow-moving with shallow and deep bits. Sometimes, wild animals such as iguanas, turtles, crocodiles, howler monkeys and all sorts of birds can be seen on the river bank.