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Under the Open Sky

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Bullet Tree Falls

Getting Here & Around | Money Matters & Services Provided
Area Attractions | Local Flavor | Find a Tour Guide

(Information provided by Mike & Bevin Waight, Cohune Palms River Cabanas. Images courtesy of Dr. Anabel Ford (El Pilar) and Mike and Bevin Waight.)

From the time of contact with the British and Spanish, the area encompassing Bullet Tree Falls continued to be inhabited by the Maya. Over 100 years ago, the community of Bullet Tree was established by indigeneous Maya from the greater Peten region of Guatemala as well as refugees from the Caste War in the Yucatan. The early settlers worked as loggers of primarily mahogany, and chicleros, collecting the resin from the sapodilla trees to sell to various firms to make chewing gum (chicle). It is a Spanish speaking village although most know and converse in English as well.

Bullet Tree is located on the Mopan River at the foothills of the Maya Mountains just 7 miles from the massive Mayan site of El Pilar. Close enough to San Ignacio (just 2 ½ miles) to enjoy all of the restaurants and nightlife, Bullet Tree is an ideal base for activities in the Cayo District. From here, all the main tours to Xunantunich, Caracol and the Mountain Pine Ridge Area (including Barton Creek, Thousand Foot Falls, Big Rock, Rio Frio Cave, Rio On Pools), and Actun Tunichil Muknal are available. Bullet Tree is ideal for visitors wanting to be out of San Ignacio but yet still close enough to experience all of the wonders of the area. In addition, guests can enjoy visiting the village and seeing how Belizeans live.

Bullet Tree has several moderately priced, comfortable resorts - all offering tourists a relaxed, natural village setting on the river. Other popular activities here include biking, canoeing, tubing, hiking, birding and horseback riding.

Getting Here and Around

Bullet Tree Falls, situated a mere two-and-a-half miles from San Ignacio, is reachable both by taxi and collectivo (shared cab). Taxis leave from the Savannah Taxi stand in downtown San Ignacio and the collectivos can be found directly across from the Belize Bank on Burns Avenue. These leave every 10 minutes or so and currently cost BZ$2 per person. They will drop you off at the taxi stand in Bullet Tree just past the football field. Local hotels may provide transportation for their guests, check with the owners for options. Once here, the same collectivos and taxis can be taken back to San Ignacio.

Money Matters & Services Provided

Banks: There are no banks in Bullet Tree, so make sure you get cash before leaving San Ignacio. For banks in San Ignacio, click here

Internet: There are several small businesses (and hotels) that offer high speed internet connections.

Post Office: There is a post office in the village.

Cabanas del Sol is located just across from the football field on Bullet Tree Road. This is the newest restaurant/bar in town that serves Belizean food - rice and beans and barbecue. This is a popular bar with locals, expatriates and tourists alike. On the weekends they have karaoke or a live band.

The Riverside is a large thatch restaurant/bar situated right on the banks of the Mopan River just across the bridge on Bullet Tree Road. They have live music on the weekends drawing big crowds from around the Cayo District.

First-Stop Tavern is another popular bar, primarily with the locals, and is also just across from the football field.

Area Attractions and Activities

El Pilar: Located just 7 miles from Bullet Tree Falls along the Guatemalan border, El Pilar is a massive Mayan site roughly three times the size of Xunantunich and once home to around 20,000 Maya. It is currently the target of a unique management plan instituted by Dr. Anabel Ford that seeks not only to excavate and preserve the monuments, but also to conserve the forest around it "as a garden". In addition to educating visitors about the archaeology, this latter effort entails educating visitors about the medicinal and household uses of the plants and thus keeping this knowledge alive.

Masewal Forest Garden Trail: Walk this marvelous trail with Don Beto Cocom as he describes all the ancient plants and trees of the Maya and their medicinal uses. A fun option is to tube down the river back to your lodge from here.

Horseback Riding with Bullet Tree Rides: Go horseback riding along the Mopan River or up the jungly road to visit El Pilar. Located immediately across from Cohune Palms River Cabanas, you can also rent bikes, canoes and tubes here.

Biking and Tubing: Cohune Palms River Cabanas rents bikes and inner tubes to explore the area. A canoe is available for guests staying at the hotel.

Birding: The paths and quite roads through the village and along the river make excellent places for birding.

Football is definitely the favorite sport in the village. Bullet Tree boasts a few great teams that are always finishing in the top three in the Cayo District. Often the village will have an all day round of football games and food for sale to benefit the teams.

Annual Festivals

Easter Fair: Bullet Tree Falls celebrates Easter Sunday and Monday with traditional dances and contests - the Greasy Pole, the Greasy Pig, and the Hog Head Dance. They also have a canoe race from San Ignacio to the bridge at the Riverside Tavern. There is usually a dance with a live band in the evening.

Fiesta El Pilar: Amigos de El Pilar holds this festival almost every year. They have local craftsmen and artists selling their wares, and cooks serving up some nice rice and beans, tamales, chips and cheese dip, and other Belizean favorites.

Non-Governmental Organizations

The community group of Amigos de El Pilar is located at El Be Pukte Cultural Center right on the Bullet Tree Road before you cross the bridge over the Mopan River. This is a great place to stop and get information about Bullet Tree as well as tickets and trail maps for El Pilar.

The Bullet Tree Environmental Group is a group of locals that started their own monthly clean ups of the river and the surrounding area as well as focusing on larger needs of the village such as garbage pick-up. They are in the process of applying for NGO status.

The Bullet Tree Capoeira Group is a group of teens learning the ancient Brazilian martial art of Capoeira and teaching it to the youth. They often do demonstrations for people and are willing to teach anyone interested. You can inquire at any one of the local resorts.


Click here to find Toucan Trail accommodations in Bullet Tree Falls

Local Flavor

Although it is a small village, there are numerous interesting people and artists.

Tour Services Provided

Click here to find Tour Guides and Tour Operators.

Destination Guide:  Corozal District | Orange Walk District | Belize District | Offshore Cayes | Ambergris Caye | Caye Caulker | Cayo District | Stann Creek District | Placencia | Toledo District

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