MayaWalk is a proud and dedicated supporter of the protection of the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve (TMNR). Aaron Juan, the owner of MayaWalk Tours, is the founder and acting Executive Director of the Belize Karst Habitat Conservation (BKHC), the organization responsible for managing the reserve. The company is deeply intertwined with the conservation efforts spearheaded by BKHC. Aaron Juan’s dual role as the owner of MayaWalk and the founder of BKHC exemplifies this commitment. MayaWalk actively supports various initiatives to preserve the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the reserve. These include facilitating educational programs for visitors and locals alike, supporting scientific research, infrastructure development, and assistance in raising much-needed funds to carry out their various programs.

Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve (TMNR)

Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve (TMNR), Belize’s very first nature reserve, comprises 6,286 acres of pristine lowland tropical evergreen forest on limestone (karstic) soils. Nestled in the lowland foothills below the north-facing escarpment of the Maya Mountains Massif, it is located a mere eight miles southwest of Belmopan, Belize’s capital, and five miles south of the Western Highway corridor that connects Belize City with the Guatemalan border. TMNR lies entirely within the Belize River watershed and provides significant protection of the Barton Creek and Roaring Creek sub-watersheds. Barton Creek partially defines TMNR’s western boundary and Roaring Creek its eastern boundary. The undisturbed forested landscapes of TMNR drain into these two creeks, providing a significant watershed buffer for the downstream communities of Teakettle, Ontario, and Blackman Eddy. Characteristic landscape features of the reserve’s rugged limestone topography include sinkholes and underground streams and caves formed from erosion of the porous karstic layer. Water can be scarce in this karst landscape, especially during the dry months, during which smaller streams that emerge as springs within the hill slopes, retreat underground. Due to reduced rainfall and seasonally dry conditions, forests on limestone tend to have species adapted to drought conditions. The forest ecosystems of TMNR support a rich diversity of flora and fauna with perhaps as many as a thousand species of plants (of which only a fraction have been documented to date), at least 55 mammal species, and more than 340 species of birds (and counting). The reserve protects two of Belize’s high-risk species –Central American Spider Monkey and White lipped Peccary. Three species – Baird’s Tapir, Central American Spider Monkey, and Yucatan Black Howler Monkey are globally ‘Endangered’ under IUCN classification, and one (White-lipped Peccary) is classified as ‘Vulnerable’. TMNR has also been identified as an important wintering habitat for migratory bird species and as an important forest foraging site for the critically endangered Orange-breasted Falcon, which nests in the Mountain Pine Ridge three miles to the south.

What is BKHC?

Belize Karst Habitat Conservation is a registered NGO established with the purpose of developing and managing Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, focusing on protection of the natural and cultural resources, and improved community benefit.

What does BKHC do?

Belize Karst Habitat Conservation currently has five continuous management programs that make up the management framework for the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. These programs include:

1. Natural Resource Management Program
2. Research and Monitoring Program
3. Community Outreach and Participation Program
4. Infrastructure and Equipment Program
5. Administration Program


We are a dynamic and progressive community-based conservation organization with a global perspective, dedicated to inspiring citizens on how to adjust in an ever-evolving conservation landscape. We seek to develop and enhance Belize’s environment through on-the-ground education, the use of science, and technology for the sustainable management of its resources.


To promote adaptive conservation through the innovative management of Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, for the benefit of all Belizeans.