Rio Hondo: Location, map, and what you don’t know

The Hondo River is a river in Central America, about 93 m (150 km) long, that flows northeast to empty into the Bay of Chetumal in the Caribbean Sea.

cauce del rio hondo

Features of the Hondo River

If there is one thing Belize has no shortage of, it is water. Not only are we bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east, but we also have 35 major rivers flowing through our country.

caracteristicas de rio hondo

Not to mention the hundreds, if not thousands, of streams, lagoons, creeks, ponds, swamps and small ponds that form during the rainy season! Yes, Belize really is blessed with water! Travelling along the Rio Hondo.

Of these 35 five rivers, two are mentioned in our national anthem, the Rio Hondo and the Sarstoon (see article: Guadalmedina River).

These rivers are the northernmost and southernmost bodies of water in the country and also form the border between Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the south.

While travel on the Sarstoon is a little tricky due to the ongoing territorial dispute with Guatemala, travel on the Rio Hondo is quite the opposite.

cauce del rio hondo

Belize and Mexico are very good neighbours and the Rio Hondo is a gateway between the two countries.

Coming from the Orange Walk District, I can’t count the number of times I have crossed the Rio Hondo into Mexican territory, not only across the border at Santa Elena, but through the small villages that dot the Rio Banco.

Location and map of the Rio Hondo

The Rio Hondo is formed by the confluence of several upper rivers, including the Blue Creek and Chan Chich (Rio Bravo), which originate in the Petén Basin of Guatemala, and the Booth River, which rises in the western district of Belize.

These tributaries join to form the Hondo River near the settlements of Blue Creek Village on the Belizean side and La Union on the Mexican side (see article: Bermejo River).

The river continues its northeastern course, with a few other settlements along the way, until it reaches its outlet at Chetumal Bay.

The province of Chetumal, capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and the region’s only port, is located near this point.

Most of the international border between the nations of Mexico and Belize runs along the Hondo River.

mapa de rio hondo

Tourism in Rio Hondo

It offers tourists services that allow them to enjoy a new concept of tourism that combines health, pleasure and relaxation.

The city sits on hundreds of underground layers of water, very rich in minerals and salts, which is one of the most important therapeutic methods in the world.

The water is classified as alkaline, bicarbonate, chlorosulphate and ferruginous, with small amounts of iron, sodium, phosphorus, iodine, arsenic, fluorine and bromine in an ionic state – electrically charged – which is highly penetrating and diffuses throughout the body (see article: Jordan River).

turismo en rio hondo

Many excursions can be made in Termas de Río Hondo or the surrounding area. Water sports, fishing in the reservoir of Embalse Lake.

Golf at the municipal course, horse riding and agritourism are some of the optional activities, as well as the town’s thermal baths.

You can visit the church of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro, built in 1945, and the colonial town hall.

The San Martín Cultural Centre, the Rincón de Atacama Palaeontological Museum or a wide variety of local products made by authentic artisans.

If you think about water, health and healthy living, you will think positively about the Termas de Río Hondo (see article: Río Yelcho).

Temperature of Rio Hondo

The climate is hot and dry subtropical, with scorching summers (38º C) and mild winters (15º C), with an average annual temperature of 21º C.

temperatura de rio hondo

Hondo River Conservation

The Rio Hondo Conservation and Management Area covers seventy-five percent of the watersheds of northern Belize, namely the New River, Rio Hondo and Belize River watersheds.

Very few studies have been conducted on freshwater issues in the river. As a result, the true status of the freshwater systems is unknown.

The freshwater systems in the Rio Hondo are currently considered to be under low stress, but there is evidence of increasing threats to the aquatic ecosystems.

Pollutants in the systems include, but are not limited to: agricultural runoff and domestic and industrial wastewater.

In light of this, the Belize Programme has initiated and established a Freshwater Aquatic Programme and intends to develop a Freshwater Management Plan for the Rio Hondo to determine further long-term strategies for the conservation of Belize’s waterways.

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