The Chiquibul Road begins at Mile 63 on the Western Highway, at Georgeville, and heads south over the Mountain Pine Ridge, terminating 30-something miles later at Caracol . You’ll pass through tropical foothills, citrus farms, and cattle ranches before the terrain rises, gradually changing to sand, rocky soil, red clay, then, finally, groves of sweet-smelling pines.
The road is notorious for becoming a slushy mud bed when it rains and a dusty back-breaker when it’s dry. Once you start driving, there are few services besides those offered at the resorts, but if you need a drink, beer, meal, supplies, or emergency gasoline, look for the Junction Store, a wooden building right where the San Antonio Road meets the Chiquibul Road.
At Mountain Equestrian Trails (MET, tel. 501/820-4041 or 501/620-4978, U.S. tel. 800/838-3918, www.metbelize.com , US$75–132), the Bevis family keeps 27 sturdy steeds with Endurance saddles. Visitors have a choice of gentle or spirited horses to carry them over 60 miles of trails that to waterfalls, swimming holes, Maya caves, and other sites. Beginners and experienced riders are welcome—children at least 10 years old with previous riding experience are welcome. Riders are required to carry personal liability insurance.
To stay at MET, choose from a range of 10 “safari-style” cabanas of thatch and stucco with exotic wood interiors and private bathrooms with hot and cold water (no electricity—yet). Meals are served in the cozy cantina/restaurant, which offers excellent food (breakfast US$7, lunch US$10, dinner US$18, plus tax). Even though MET’s small cantina is a 20-minute drive from San Ignacio, it still attracts visitors and locals from all around for drinks, dinner, and good conversation. All-inclusive, multiday packages are available, riding fees extra.
Their Chiclero Trails Campsite offers tents under the rainforest canopy, with beds, mattresses, linens, a private covered deck, and close access to restrooms and showers, for US$20 per person per night. Meals for groups are served in an insulated tent in the camp.
About 200 yards north of the junction with the road to San Antonio, Moonracer Farm (U.S. tel. 585/200-5748, www.moonracerfarm.com , US$65–120) provides a pair of comfortable wooden cabins in the forest in one of the best deals in the Mountain Pine Ridge. The cabins are fairly large, with private screened porches. Meals are available for US$30 a day and include the homemade, fresh cooking of owners Marge and Tom. When I visited, the smell of baking granola and brownies emanated from the thatch-roofed kitchen made from an old jaguar cage. Yes, this property used to be the home of a feline rescue center, and the new owners have creatively repurposed some of the hardware. Hiking trails explore their 50 acres and connect to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve  and Elijio Panti National Park .