Just off the highway at the turn-off towards Belmopan is tiny Guanacaste National Park (daily 8am–4.30pm; Bz$5), a 52-acre area of beautiful tropical forest. Several short, circular trails leave from the visitors’ centre, winding through the forest and passing the Belize and Roaring rivers; there’s even a spot for swimming. Although a visit here isn’t necessary if you’re planning on spending time in Belize’s other forested areas, Guanacaste provides an excellent introduction to the country’s flora and fauna and is exceptionally accessible; any bus heading west can drop you off at the visitors’ centre, where you can leave your belongings while you explore.

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