This past weekend we decided to explore Belize’s capital city of Belmopan because we were only visiting this city as a rest area/lunch spot on our travels across the country. Besides being designated as Belize’s capital, we wanted to find out what else made this place special.
At the recommendation of a friend, we visited Guanacaste National Park which is actually inside the city limits of Belmopan. We did not have high expectations of this small park maintained by the Belize Audubon Society, but we were in for quite a nice surprise. What GNP lacks in size, it makes up for in flora, fauna, and stress reducing tranquility.

The area was part of the land bought to build Belmopan, and while it was under construction, the area was the back garden of a British site engineer. As a member of the Belize Audubon Society (BAS), he was a keen naturalist, and before his departure he zoned it as a reserve in the development plan for the area. Subsequently, in February 1973, under the Crown Land Ordinance as a National Park the site given to the city. Freehold was given to the Belize Audubon Society under the condition that the site be managed as a bird sanctuary or national park. In 1975, at the request of the BAS, its name was changed to Guanacaste Park. For many years, Guanacaste Park was managed by volunteer labor and donated materials. After 1987, there were BAS personnel at the park full-time.
Guanacaste National Park is a popular getaway in Belmopan, at the confluence of the Belize River and Roaring Creek. The park’s small size allows visitors to observe wildlife and tropical vegetation a short distance from the entrance. The park provides a picnic area, interpretive displays, two miles of maintained trails, a bird watching deck, and a swimming area.
When we arrived, we where warmly greeted by the park rangers, Alfonso and Jose. Jose took the time to educate us about the history and features of the park. Since we were limited on time, we decided which trail we wanted to take and headed out. Alfonso was our trail guide pointing out specific trees, birds, and other animals in the park as we headed down the path.

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At the bird watching deck, Alfonso pointed out the remains of a train bridge that at one point had traversed Roaring creek, bringing Mahogany out of the jungle. The view of the creek was beautiful, and we saw many birds and butterflies. After a few minutes we headed back on the trail and saw an Agouti roaming about quite close the path.
Once reaching the swimming deck area, we had to go down quite a few stairs to get to the river. On the way down Alfonso pointed out the flooding point at the convergence of Belize River and Roaring Creek. It was at least 30 feet. We were amazed at that volume of flood waters. The swimming area is crystal clear, refreshing, with a soft sandy bottom. The view is spectacular, and we wanted to stay there all day and recharge our spirits.
Upon arriving back at the ranger station we noticed that Jose was observing something near the picnic pavilion. He quickly informed us that he was watching one of the Howler Monkey troops that called GNP home. There was a baby monkey with his Momma. There is absolutely nothing quite like seeing animals roam free in the wild, and this park is actually inside Belmopan City.
We said our goodbyes to Jose and Alfonso and thanked them for giving us such a rich experience at the park. We cannot wait to return and spend the day there hiking, swimming, animal watching and generally becoming one with nature.
Please put Guanacaste National Park on your list. You will not be disappointed.

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