Seeking an Unspoiled Belize Paradise? Visit Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
If you’ve an interest in visiting Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize and you’ve done your homework, you likely know that the word “mosaic” keeps popping up when travel writers describe this destination. That’s no coincidence. If you’ve seen a mosaic–an artisan’s rendering that’s a harmonious patchwork of shapes, colors and textures–you already know what Crooked Tree looks like from the sky. But you don’t want the aerial view. You want the sights, fragrances and sounds that pervade fascinating destination, so expect to engage all of your senses when you spend time here.
Cooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
This world of wonder is composed of a huge tract of land that’s peppered with creeks, thickets, marshlands, lagoons and savannas amid a hardwood forest that provides unique habitats for wildlife living in this protected preserve. The variety of animals and birds hanging out in this forest is astonishing; you could even encounter the hemisphere’s largest flying birds: Other-worldly looking Jabiru Storks. Just about everything that crawls, prowls, slithers and roams in Belize is at home here, including black howler monkeys, turtles, iguanas, ducks, crocodiles and too many bird species to get an accurate count.
Why you should visit Cooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
How often are you given an opportunity to visit a 300-year-old, 16,400 acre wildlife sanctuary that, some experts believe, may have been the first European settlement to have been built in Belize around 1750? There’s a small Mayan excavation site in the southwest corner of the Western Lagoon, so if you’re interested in how archaeologists work, you might catch a glimpse of Chan Hiix as it’s being revealed. Birders are particularly impressed by so many avian species found in here, and anyone interested in botany will discover vegetation, plants and flowers not seen elsewhere in the region.
Where in Belize is it located?
Crooked Tree is located approximately 32 miles north of Belize City.
When is the best time to go?
This question is best answered by determining your objectives since birds and animals visit at specific times. If observing giant storks is your aim, they show up in November, build nests in January or February and then hang around raising youngsters until June. Find the most number of birds within the park in April, so if you can get here that month, your chances of seeing Crooked Tree’s diversity are better than most.
Best way to reach the Sanctuary
If you’re driving on your own, take the Northern Highway from Belize City until you reach Mile 33, a dirt road leading to Crooked Tree. Alternately, the Orange Walk/Corozal bus will drop you two miles from your target destination and you can walk there. Alternately, book a tour from all points in Belize courtesy of your resort concierge and they will take care of all arrangements including transport and perhaps a picnic.
Best way to experience Crooked Tree
Rent a canoe. Ride a horse. Trek into the preserve on your own or hire a guide at the visitor’s center. The Belize Audubon Society oversees this park and charges modest fees to cover any of these options. Once you’ve settled on one (or more), set off on your adventure knowing that every place you peek under this forest canopy lurks a creature you might hear but never see. The best way to experience Crooked Tree? Stay in nearby eco-lodgings (four small hotels and three guest houses) so you are immersed in all aspects of the park and get a peek at Crooked Tree Village. Stop first at the visitor center for everything from trail maps to boat rentals and you’re ready to explore.