Orange Walk District – Wildlife Central and a Variety of Maya sites on your Doorstep.
Orange Walk District containing Lamanai and Chan Chich, is home to steamy jungle rivers, untamed wilderness and exotic wildlife, farmland, and some of Belize’s most important Maya ruins. Factor in a handful of first-rate jungle lodges and infrequent visits by tourists, and you’ve found the perfect off-the-beaten-path spot for your jungle adventures. By day, you can play the intrepid jungle explorer; at night, you can return to a thatched-roof villa and kick back with a glass of wine in distinctive eco-lodges like Chan Chih Lodge or Lamanai Outpost Lodge.
Orange Walk comprises steamy jungle rivers, wilderness and wildlife, and some of the country’s most important Maya ruins.
Orange Walk is home to the biologically rich Maya Forest, the largest contiguous forest north of the Amazon basin, which stretches from Belize through northern Guatemala and into Mexico. Within this expansive region—encompassing jungle, savannah, and wetlands—you’ll find Belize’s largest private reserve, Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, extending 934 sq. km/360 sq. mi. You’ll also find the birders’ mecca, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, where endangered species such as the Mexican black howler monkey, Central American river turtle, and yellow-headed parrot find protection on more than 16,400 acres of wetlands and terrestrial habitats. Along the winding New River, which empties in eastern Orange Walk, you’ll discover the archaeological site of one of the largest and longest-inhabited Maya ceremonial centers in Belize, Lamanai. Here you can surround yourself in the mysteries of the ancient ruins in the heart of the jungle. Further up the river, Orange Walk Town is known as “Sugar City,” reflecting this farming region’s robust sugar cane industry.
Lamanai Outpost Lodge – Jungle Retreat in an Ancient Maya City
Lamanai Outpost Lodge, overlooking the winding New River, sits within the ancient boundaries of Lamanai, one of the largest and longest-inhabited Maya cities in Mesoamerica (active 16th century BC to 17th century AD). Excavations have focused on the largest structures, and the steep climb to the top of the High Temple will reward you with a panoramic view of Belize and Guatemala. As the jungle home of hundreds of unique species, this eco-lodge’s sunset and sunrise tours on land or water, night safaris, spear fishing and other specialty excursions make it the ultimate jungle retreat for bird watchers and nature lovers.
Chan Chich Lodge / Gallon Jug Estate – Eco Escape to a Secluded Jungle Paradise
This luxury eco-hotel is set on the great plaza of an ancient Maya city. Set within Gallon Jug Estate in the Maya Forest, you can immerse yourself in lush jungle on more than 14 km/9 m of well-marked, well-maintained hiking trails and then relax with a poolside drink or unwind in understated elegance and comfort in your thatched-roof casita, cabin, or villa. Diverse wildlife species thrive here. In addition to toucans and nearly 350 other bird species, deer, and spider and howler monkeys, a few lodge guests have even spotted jaguars, pumas, and ocelots.