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Orange Walk, Belize


Orange Walk Map

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Location


Orange Walk is located about one hours drive north of Belize City toward the border with Mexico. Its population is a mix of Spanish, Maya, East Indians, and Mennonites. The terrain in Orange Walk is forest savannah, and a portion of its land has been developed for the production of sugar cane. However, a large portion of Orange Walk's rain forest is a protected reserve under the Rio Bravo Conservation Project.

History & Culture


This area supplied goods and services to traders plying the river centuries ago. Logwood supported the economy back when orange groves gave this district its modern name. Then in the 19th century, logwood yielded to sugarcane as the backbone of Belizean agriculture.

Today, the sugarcane cutters here do some of the hardest work in the country, while giant cane trucks lumber along the Northern Highway. The Tower Hill refinery, just outside Orage Walk Town, grinds out 200 million pound of sugar annually.

Lodging & Dining


Nestled in the jungle are lodges such as Chan Chich and Lamanai Outpost Lodge, offering great locations for exploring the surrounding areas. These jungle lodges also provide their own dining options sure to please even the most discriminating tastes.

Activities


The best reason to visit Orange Walk may be Lamanai - a city of 718 structures, once home to more than 50,000 Maya, inhabited from 1500 BC to the early 1700s AD, and the only Maya city still occupied when Europeans arrived. Hikers may climb a tower within the park for panoramic views of the lagoon and beyond. Just south of the district, the ruins of Altun Ha offer views of the countryside from atop the 60-foot Temple of the Sun God. The bulk of construction at Altun Ha took place during the Maya Classic era from 200 to 900 AD, when the site may have had a population of about 10,000 people. One of the most spectacular discoveries from excavations of the site is a large, 10-pound piece of jade elaborately carved into an image of the head of the Maya Sun God. This jade head is considered one of the national treasures of Belize.

This district has also become a very popular destination for birding. Belize is one of the richest birding areas of the world, and Orange Walk, with its diverse habitat, records the largest bird list in the country (375 bird species have been recorded in the Lamanai area and the numbers are still rising). The blue-crowned motmot, emerald toucanet, and ocellated turkey have been seen in the area, and Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is home to migrating birds during the dry season (December through April).

Take an airboat ride after dark to capture and record one of the endangered Morelet's Crocodiles that live in the New River Lagoon. Or, take a spotlight safari boat tour by night, and by day enjoy canoeing, hiking, and visits to Mayan Ruins. The fishing for tarpon, snook, tilapia, and catfish in this area is excellent.



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