Right in the center of Belize in the northern third of the country is a wonderful wildlife sanctuary with numerous lagoons and waterways loaded with birds. A land-locked preserve, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is popular to birds for the shallow water, especially during the dry season.
With over 16,000 acres of wetlands, there are numerous species of birds and vast expanses of wetlands. For several thousand years this was a Mayan community. More recently, in the 1970s, it became popular to sports hunters for its jaguars and skies filled with waterfowl. The villagers of the area then wisely made the leap to preserve this beautiful area for the wildlife. We enjoyed several boat rides on the quiet lagoon, as well as walks through the cashew orchards and pine forests near the village.
Our guide grew up here, and as he motored the boat through the lagoon we passed by two of his cousins in small boats who were also wildlife guides. We met his brother in a boat who was marking shallow spots with palm fronds. Down the dirt road in the village, we stopped at the house of his friend who was outside cleaning fish. The cat got the fish innards, and we got a lesson on the local fish.
I absolutely love getting that insider look at someone else’s world, in this case, the local residents of Crooked Tree Lagoon, and their peaceful preserve.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander