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Do in Belize
Canoeing and Kayaking
Want to relax and participate in one of the most visually
exciting activities you can do while in Belize?... Well
enjoy canoeing and kayaking in and around the area's rivers,
canals and fabulous lagoons.
You can be sure you will enjoy the lush flora and numerous
wildlife sightings while soaking up the sun.
Cocos Lagoon and Progresso Lagoon provide fabulous paddling
adventures and are located at the lagoon shoreline of
our Progresso Heights development for all residents to
Other waterways such as Laguana Verde lend themselves
to inspiring paddling adventures. Laguna Verde is a small
spring fed lake located about four miles north of Gallon
Jug near Chan Chich. Its name, Laguna Verde refers to
the emerald green hue of the water. As you approach the
lake you will find a small bathhouse which offers canoes,
oars and lifejackets for rent. Once inside Laguna Verde
you will see scenic beauty, birds singing and the wail
of the howler monkeys infectiously charming. There are
two small islands inside supporting various wildlife as
well as dense flora… A great
hold-over for weary paddlers.
You should also plan a trip to explore Dawson Creek and
the New River Lagoon. Start by paddling up Dawson Creek
from the New River Lagoon. You will notice a vivid presence
of wildlife within the tropical flora during your journey.
Canoeing through the water lilies is in itself relaxing
and be sure to notice the fish feeding on insects that
are resting on the water’s surface. The entrance
to Dawson Creek is only about five hundred feet from the
Lamanai Outpost Lodge.
Another journey worthwhile taking is exploring Fish Creek
located at Blue Creek Village. This creek is truly a bird
sanctuary where one can record sightings of many species
including Green Heron, Bromeliad Flycatcher, Anhinga,
Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher, Boat Bill Heron, Tiger Heron,
Cormorant, Red Winged Blackbird, Night Heron, Pygmy Kingfisher,
Social Flycatcher, Amazon Kingfisher, Fruit Bat and Agaumi
Heron. Fish Creek is lined by Red Mangrove as well as
water lilies and serves as a home to a variety of invertebrate
and juvenile fish species. The Rio Bravo joins Fish Creek
just a few miles up the creek. Further up river as it
widens one can see orchids and bromeliads setting on mangroves,
coconut palms and palmettos. As the current picks up and
paddling becomes easier the journey soon comes to an end
in the green waters surrounding Blue Creek Village.
Sea kayaking has also grown in popularity because of
the relatively calm, reef-protected seas. Sea kayakers
favor the calm waters of the Chetumal Bay area and Hol
Chan Channel. Water skiing, windsurfing, Sunfish and Hobie
Cats sailing are also popular. Most resorts offer instruction
and rental equipment upon request.
Diving and Snorkeling in
Belize is known to have some of the finest diving in the
northern Hemisphere. Why? Belize is situated next to 176
miles of continuous reef. Nearly every species of Caribbean
coral grows in its waters? such as pillar, brain, elkhorn
and lettuce leaf, just to name a few.
Millions of fish as well as an unparalleled assortment
of reef life come together with divers and snorkelers
exploring their waters. Most dive operators in northern
Belize depart from both Sartenja and Corozal.
the most popular dive destination in northern Belize is
Boca Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. This reserve is a protected
area under the management of the Belize Fisheries Department.
This organization supports controlled tourism activity in
the Marine Reserve while offering education of fisheries
management and preservation of the marine habitats. Tours
and dive trips at Boca Bacalar Chico can be arranged locally.
|| Not far offshore you will find numerous dive operators
in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. These operators dive points
of interest in and around the Belize Barrier Reef as well
as traveling to the Lighthouse Reef Atoll where one can
find some of the finest Belize dive spots such as the
Blue Hole, explored by Jacque Cousteau as well as the
world renown sites around Long Caye at Lighthouse Reef
at the southern end of the Atoll.
Belize is a country having 40% of its lands and waters
protected. With an aggressive, interactive approach to
reserve management Belize encourages eco-tourists to visit
research stations and field schools to advance and promote
its position for sustainable resource use. This is accomplished
through controlled eco-tourism, continuing education and
anthropological and ecological study. As resident experts
on regulated land use and eco-tourism, these field stations
are open to the public for an alternative to a traditional
The following field schools and research stations in Northern
Belize have much to offer
Lamanai Field Research Center
Lamanai Outpost Lodge is recognized as the foremost
authority of the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve. This Mayan
center, Lamanai (meaning submerged crocodile) thrived for
nearly three millennia. The Lodge that overlooks the New River
Lagoon combines education, relaxation and exploration in a
habitat rich in history and ecology. This research center, a
Belize non-profit organization has been active since 1992. It
offers the largest inland body of fresh water in Belize,
several endangered species, over 350 species of birds and over
700 Mayan structures making it a wonderful research and
educational site for many scientific disciplines.
Rio Bravo Conservation and
The Rio Bravo Conservation and Management area is a national
example of sustained forestry development supervised by
Programme for Belize, a private, non-profit, Belize based
organization dedicated to the preservation and management
of Belize's natural resources. This 250,000 acre preserve
served the logging industry for many years. However, due
to the intensity placed on many precious hardwoods such
as cedar and mahogany, these hardwoods have been reduced
to alarmingly low levels in recent times. Since 1992 Programme
for Belize has regulated timber cutting, promoted low-impact
tourism and funded research in agro forestry, forestry management
education as well as preservation-minded low impact eco-tourism.
In addition to an abundant wildlife population, the area
contains over sixty Mayan archaeological sites with the
Mayan site of La Milpa as the largest. This site offers
an education center, accommodations and guided trails within
The Hill Bank Field Station
The Programme for Belize also manages the Hill Bank Research
Station, established in 1996 on the New River. It also has
the same initiative as the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management
Area with sustainable forestry management controlled eco-tourism
and research as its objectives. Hill Bank was originally
a mahogany logging camp for British buccaneers and African
slaves in the seventeen hundreds. The Village of Hill Bank
was eventually abandoned after the mahogany population was
nearly depleted. Although the logging industry is depressed,
the forest lives on under the management and protection
of conservation initiatives and funding from the eco-tourism
The Blue Creek Project
The Mayan Research Programme has sponsored annual excavations
at the ancient Mayan site of Blue Creek in northwestern
Belize since 1992. This non-profit research organization
affiliated with Texas Christian University in Fort Worth,
Texas has studied the ancient Maya civilization with the
hope of better understanding its rise and eventual fall.
The Maya Research Program endeavors to inform the public
about Mayan Culture while managing, protecting and preserving
Mayan artifacts and ruins in Belize.
Paul and Zoe Walker run the private organization located
in the Shipstern Reserve known as WildTracks. In close proximity
to the Mexican border the WildTracks are workshops for Belizean
and British children that have promoted and initiated such
programs as the breeding of deer, and the development of
medicinal and mahogany plantations. In the past few years,
WildTracks has worked to conserve the area that falls within
the Meso-American Biological Corridors Program which links
reserves throughout Belize and Central America in an
international effort to ensure the preservation of the
area's rich ecological and biological diversity. These
continuous bands of reserves provided unhampered corridors
for wildlife to move freely from one area to another.
Bird Watching in Belize
It is no wonder that bird watching is so popular in
Belize, a country the size of Massachusetts and home to
over 570 species of birds. This is considered remarkable
while just over 800 species of birds have been documented
in all of North America.
The diverse and largely undeveloped habitats within the
country support this remarkable bird representation. Observations
and sightings are abundantly available while taking nature
walks, tours, river expeditions or while visiting any
of the numerous cayes (islands) of Belize.
The nature reserves of northern Belize are unquestionably
the home to the largest bird populations. Shipstern Wildlife
Reserve and the Rio Bravo Conservation Area enclose the
largest bird sanctuaries in the north.
Yellow Lored Parrot, Black Catbird, Reddish Egret, White
Winged Dove and the Yucatan Jay are among just some of the
birds that are found at the Shipstern Lagoon housing over
two hundred species. Many of these birds migrate from North
America during the winter. The Rio Bravo Conservation and
Management Area is home to at least 344 species. The New
River as well as the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve also
has a uniquely diverse bird population. Bird watchers will
find many accommodations within these areas having birding
tours with trained professionals upon request.
Nature trails, recorded species lists and bird watching
towers are found in many locations throughout Belize.
The Belize Audubon Society has created special itineraries
that explored forest, reef, savannah and wetland habitats.
Progresso and Cocos Lagoon in Northern Belize
Both Progresso and Cocos Lagoon served as passage for
Mayan merchants at the height of the Mayan Era. These
waterways in the Corozal District are located only 10
to 12 kilometers from the Caribbean Sea. Once a military
lookout and post and busy trading area? Progresso and
Cocos Lagoons today serve as an area of unique ecological
diversity within a serene, tranquil environment.
On the western side of Progresso Lagoon lies the charming
little village of Progresso. In recent times, Mennonites
settlements have transformed the area and given it a new
sense of cultural diversity. The Mennonite still believe
that modern machinery and equipment will contaminate their
faith and to this day most drive horse drawn buggies similar
to the Amish of Pennsylvania, U.S. and will not use automated
farm equipment. The long, wide and irregularly shaped
lagoons provide wonderful beachside picnicking, kayaking,
canoeing, fishing and swimming.
Within Progresso Lagoon you will find Caye Coco. This
ancient Mayan hub, a post-Classic monumental center may
be the colonial Maya site of Chanlacan, the capital Chetumal
after the fall of Santa Rita and seat of the 1547 rebellion
against Spanish Bacalar. More recent excavations of Caye
Coco have uncovered cemeteries, courtyards and buried
Visitors can find access to Progresso and Cocos Lagoons
either through Orange Walk Town? after crossing the bridge
in Orange Walk drive approximately 8 kilometers and you
will arrive at San Estevan Village. Continue down George
Price Street and follow the pavement as it turns right.
Proceed another 14 kilometers until you reach Progresso
Lagoon. You can also get to Progresso Village by taking
the boat ferry across the New River. Once across the New
River you will pass the Progresso Heights development,
then proceed about 5 ½ miles to the Village. The
New River Ferry is a must see for first time visitors
to the area.
Things To Do in Belize
There is no shortage! Combine the rich heritage of northern
Belize with its diverse landscape, numerous historical landmarks,
remarkable forests having unlimited trails, ready for hiking
with guaranteed wildlife sightings? the rivers, bays, lagoons,
cenotes and barrier reef just offshore? and you will have
yourself a wonderful life now and for generations to come.
Fishing in Belize
The bays, rivers, lagoons and coastline of northern Belize
support rich and abundant fishing environments. Snapper,
Triggerfish, Grouper, Bonefish, Barracuda, Rainbow Runners,
Tarpon and many other large species frequent the waters
of the barrier reef and its outer atolls. In the deeper
waters beyond the reef sport fishing is fabulous where
you can catch Marlin, Sailfish, Mackerel, Wahoo, Bonito,
Black Fin, Blue Fin and Albacore Tuna as well as Pompano.
Full and half day fishing excursions in the deeper waters
or trolling in the shallows of the protected reef are
offered by experienced guides.
may book private charters, smaller boats or party boats
year round. Prices vary depending on the type of fishing,
number of passengers, size of boat and time of year.
Northern Belize is home to a large resident population
of tarpon averaging 50 pounds in the winter while exceeding
over 100 pounds in the summer. Bonefish also have a year-round
presence. Step off the beautiful beaches of Long Caye
at Lighthouse Reef and you will find yourself in a healthy
fish flat. Ambergris Caye, north to Rocky Point at the
Bacalar Chico channel are considered to be two of the
finest bone fishing areas in the country? Some have been
known to reach 80 pounds.
The fisherman of Sarteneja are among the best in the
country. This charming little fishing village has gained
notoriety as a fisherman's hot spot far Barracuda, Snapper
Freshwater fishing in the lagoons of northern Belize
have gained popularity. They support vibrant populations
of Snook, Tarpon, Cubera and Snapper throughout the year.
Corozal Bay is home to abundant fish populations capable
of making the transition to saltwater. Visitors should
first inquire about fishing regulations in the nearby
towns prior to visiting one of the lagoons or rivers.
A significant portion of Belize's pristine marine eco-systems
are protected with many areas designated as World Heritage
Sites. United Nations funding and regular monitoring helps
protect these areas. These inhabitants and habitats may
not be destroyed or harmed in any way. Most tour guides
and fishing guides enforce local catch and release fishing
as well as low-impact fishing practices.
Chan Chich region has guided horseback rides, which leave
daily from Gallon Jug Stables. The tour guides with trained
horses take visitors through the Gallon Jug farm area,
through nearby jungle trails as well as into and through
the forest roads and trails. Rides to Punta de Cacao and
to other Mayan ruins sites can be arranged with local
tour operators. Long rides with a packed lunch are available,
however most rides usually last approximately two hours,
In Blue Creek the Mennonites offer a fairly unique horseback
explore unexcavated Mayan mounds and ruins, which may include
uncovered buildings and homes as well as blazing a trail
across extensive farmlands. Early evenings just before sunset
you can help the Mennonite cowboys round up the cattle into
the corral. The cattle herders must be careful not to leave
calves behind and also make sure that none wonder off into