The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected natural wetland area, situated just three miles off the Phillip Goldson Highway. It’s located halfway between Belize City and Orange Walk, roughly 30 miles away from either direction. The sanctuary is renowned for its ecological importance, diverse wildlife, and is a favorite destination for birders and eco-tourists from around the world. Home to over 300 species of migratory, resident, terrestrial and aquatic birds, as well as crocodiles, howler monkeys, iguanas, and other tropical wildlife, the sanctuary is a great place to explore.
The best way to explore the sanctuary is through a Birding Boat Tour. Your tour guide will help you get up close to the flora and fauna, spot various types of wildlife, and explain their appearance, habitat, migration patterns, and seasonal activities. The Jabiru stork, an endangered bird, is the sanctuary’s most famous resident. It comes to the sanctuary in November to build nests in the pine savannah, and the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is home to more Jabiru storks than anywhere on the planet.
The sanctuary’s biggest lagoon also hosts an island that has been growing cashews since 1750. The nearby village holds a cashew festival every May, where a variety of foods and drinks are made with cashews. The animals and birds in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary vary depending on the season, so make sure to consult a guide to spot the wildlife in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is open to the public all year round, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. The Government of Belize declared Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary as the first Wildlife Sanctuary on December 8, 1984. On August 22, 1998, it was declared Belize’s first Ramsar site based on the wetland’s significance, especially as waterfowl habitat.