Orange Walk: Avoid Crowds While Immersing Yourself in Belize’s Wonders
If you dislike crowds but you’re fascinated by everything Belize has to offer, make Orange Walk District—and especially Orange Walk Town—your next vacation spot. Just 57 miles from Belize City, it’s a quick trip from that city’s airport. Since it’s tucked into the northwest corner of the nation, the partying beach crowd isn’t here in numbers yet you’ll enjoy the full tourist experience. See exotic cultural sites, all the natural wonders you could ask for and just enough people to declare Orange Walk the friendliest place on Earth.
Orange Walk Belize
As the second largest Belize district, Orange Walk’s 1829 square mile interior is filled with rustic villages, the nation’s agricultural hub and Mayan ruins offering amateur archaeologists close looks at the area’s distant past. Heavily populated by Mennonites who farm the land and produce much of the sugar cane, rice and vegetable crops, this large faith-based colony also runs most dairy farms. Visit the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area to see wildlife, flora and fauna. Orange Walk Town isn’t a metropolis, but travelers are beginning to find it a gem of a place to stay thanks to affordable lodgings and a street food scene that’s the biggest secret of all.
Why you should visit
Once the destination of Mexican refugees settling here after the 1840 war, find vestiges of this culture everywhere you roam courtesy of today’s generation of Maya Mestizos. Tourism is on the increase as Belize visitors discover a birding paradise (more birds frequent this area than anywhere else in Belize) and the New River Lagoon, Belize’s largest inland body of water. The Belize logging industry originated here, so if you’ve fallen for furnishings made of Belize hardwoods, see where the lumber originated. The remains of two 19th century forts appeal to history buffs and Mayan ruins (especially Lamanai and Cuello) aren’t to be missed. On the way, take in the lush flowers, forest, wildlife and expecially the howler monkeys that call this district home.
Where in Belize is it located?
57 miles north of Belize City along the Northern Highway. Snap a photo of Belize’s only tollbooth at the entrance to Orange Walk Town.
When is the best time to visit?
If you intend to spend your time in Orange Walk Town to indulge your cultural curiosity (like Banquita’s House of Culture) and the street food scene, come any time you like. If you’re primarily interested in Mayan ruins, jungle walks, Honey Camp Lagoon and other outdoor experiences, visit in May and early June because it’s not yet rainy season yet lodging rates remain affordable.
Best way to get to Orange Walk
Travel the Northern Highway by car from Belize City, take a bus, or book a tour that includes transport to and from Orange Walk Town and includes site visits like Lamanai and wildlife or commercial exploration adventures. Tour guides situated along the banks of the New River are also for hire.
Best way to experience Orange Walk
If you’re an adventurous soul and prefer to do things on your time schedule, put together an Orange Walk Town itinerary that focuses on your interests. Book an accommodation online before you come, rent a car and ask your lodging host to arrange maps, guides or tours. Parcel out your time so you focus on archaeological wonders or searching for elusive roseate spoonbills and giant jabiru storks. Local resources like the Gallon Jug Conservation Society, Belize Audubon Society and Lamanai Field Research Center can assist you. If you intend to do lots of exploring on foot, sturdy footwear isn’t just recommended but essential! And yes, party animals will find enough night life in Orange Walk Town to bring home happy memories, as well.