Orange Walk is located in the north of Belize and is a rich area for wildlife and birdlife. This region is home to over 200 species of birds, including the Jabiru stork, and is certainly a bird lover’s paradise.
The Shipstern Nature Reserve covers more than 11,000 hectares and includes lagoons, wetlands and tropical rainforest as well as dry forests. It is home to the endangered Baird’s tapir and all five cat species found in Belize; jaguar, ocelot, margay, puma and jaguarundi.
The flora and fauna is not the only attraction in Orange Walk. There are several spectacular Mayan sites in this region. Lamanai is one of Belize’s most impressive Mayan ruins. Lamanai is a Mayan word meaning submerged crocodile, a reference to the inhabitants of the river that runs past it. Altun Ha dates from the 7th century and is a spectacular site. For the oldest Mayan site in Belize is it Cuello. Located on private land, permission has been granted by the Cuello family to visit the site.
Orange Walk town is populated by descendants of Mexican refugees who fled from the 1840 Caste War. There are also many Mennonite communities, another example of the diversity of Belize’s culture. Gallon Jug is a huge private reserve that includes many different farming projects as well as being home to a variety of wildlife.