Highlights and main attractions of the Orange Walk Districs

In northwest Belize, with Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west, Orange Walk District is a sprawling area covering 4,636 square kilometres. Previously dominated by loggers, this landlocked district is a spectacular eco-tourism destination, often coined an ornithologist’s paradise.

The main town, Orange Walk Town, has a population of around 13,400, a majority of which are the descendents of Mexican refugees who fled from the 1840 Caste War. With healthy populations of tropical wildlife and the ideal location to explore Altun Han and Lamanai historical sites, it is an emerging tourist destination, with fewer accommodation options than other areas of Belize, making your choice all the more important.

The Orange Walk District is a stunning mix of culture, natural beauty and wildlife.

Where is the Orange Walk District?

Amazing cultures and stunning wildlife

Covering over 11,000 hectares, the Shipstern Nature Reserve encompasses vast terrains of lagoons, wetlands and tropical rainforest as well as dry forests. It plays home to all five cat species found in Belize as well as the endangered Baird’s Tapir and a huge variety of other flora and fauna. There is also the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, a land of savannahs, creeks and logwood thickets with a bird population of around 286 species, including jabiru storks, the largest flying bird in the Americas, as well as black-bellied whistling ducks and black-billed storks. Crooked Tree is home to a living community of approximately 900, mainly of Creole descent, a vital community with an interesting history who have been farming and fishing the land for centuries.

As well as the spectacular Altun Ha, dating from the 7th Century, and Lamanai, or ‘submerged crocodile’, one of Belize’s most impressive Mayan sites, there is Cuella, the oldest Mayan site in Belize. Set on private land, you must gain permission from a Cuello family to visit this impotant site. The vast archaeological site of Nohmu also offers spectacular views over the area and its endless sugar canes.

Orange Walk is home to a great many Mennonite Communities and El Castillo, a Mayan site 25 miles north of Caracol. Gallon Jug is another of the region’s attractions - a huge private reserve home to numerous wildlife species and several farming projects, including coffee, soybean and cattle.

Explore Mayan ruins, track vibrant wildlife and meet the local people.

Where you stay is very important here and we recommend two lodges in particular. Lamanai Outpost Lodge, perched on the banks of a 28-mile, spring-fed lagoon offers activities such as exploring the jungle at dawn in search of wildlife or a relaxing morning adventure down Dawson’s Creek as the sun rises. You can also embark on a Lamanai Maya Cruise to venture through the ancient ruins or follow a Maya Medicine Trail. Other activities include native fishing, howler monkey treks, sunset airboat safari and a crocodile encounter. Chan Chich Lodge is on Gallon Jug estate, within the largest continuous forest north of the Amazon Basin. This authentic and luxurious lodge has expansive walking trails or vehicles that can take you to areas such as Laguna Seca, the Upper Escarpment and Sylvester Village. You can also join a day trip to La Milpa, ride horseback through jungle trails or Mayan ruins, and even canoe the Laguna Verde where you might spot crocodiles and turtles.

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