Natural Belize: Belize’s North

Northern Belize is best described as ‘Natural Belize’.

Unknown to most visitors, this region is brimming with wildlife and overflowing with adventure.

In the west, thick jungles conceal jaguars and mask the tree-covered ruins of ancient Maya cities.

The Eastern Coast

On the eastern coast, mangrove habitats and crystal lagoons support West Indian Manatees and some of the Caribbean’s best sport fisheries.

View from helicopter charter above Belize, San Pedro to Corozal

In the heart of this region, the idyllic New River meanders northeasterly from the Cayo District to Chetumal Bay.

Crooked Tree

A good introduction to Northern Belize is Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Located just 33 miles northwest of Belize City, this 16,400-acre wetland and forest habitat is home to Jabiru Storks, Black Howler Monkeys, and Morelet’s Crocodiles.

Tours of the sanctuary can be conducted by boat or on foot.

Orange Walk & Lamanai

Just north of Crooked Tree is the unassuming town of Orange Walk, a natural base for exploring the New River Lagoon.

Known anciently as Holpatin, this settlement has served as a vital trade port for over 2,000 years.

New River lined by lush green forest

Two scarcely excavated Maya sites, Cuello and Noh Mul, can be found a short distance from Orange Walk.

Over 700 Ancient Structures

An hour by boat to the south is Lamanai, a picturesque Maya city rising from the riverside jungle.

More than 700 structures have been identified here, including ball courts, stelae, and temples.

The largest temple, N10-43, holds the title of tallest known Pre-Classic structure in the Maya world.

La Milpa & Corozal

La Milpa, another noteworthy Maya site, lies 90 miles by road southwest of Orange Walk.

This is the country’s third largest ancient city; home to several plazas, two ball courts and dozens of excavated tombs.

This city occupies a high limestone ridge deep within the Rio Bravo Conservation Area.

White speedboat tied to a dock in a river in North Belize, backed by dense green forest

Over 400 bird species have been spotted in this reserve, along with populations of jaguar, jaguarundi, ocelot, and puma.

In the region’s far north, Corozal is a tranquil town set at the mouths of the New River and Rio Honda.

Bay of Chetumal

Offshore, the turquoise waters of the Bay of Chetumal (Corozal Bay) teem with world-class tarpon, barracuda, permit and crevalle jack.

This town is built over the remains of a Post-Classic Maya site known as Santa Rita.


Cerros, another ancient Maya settlement, lies just across the bay (15 minutes by boat).

Other nearby attractions include the photogenic fishing village of Sarteneja and the butterfly-filled Shipstern Nature Reserve.

Orange Walk is an easy 55-mile drive north of Belize City on the New Northern Highway. Corozal is only 30 miles farther north.

Several daily flights link Corozal to Ambergris Caye (25 minutes).

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Northern Belize is from December to May.

Rainy season extends from June to November, with hurricane potential from July to mid-November.

Temperatures are fairly constant year-round, with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the 70s.

Lamanai ruins in Northern Belize. Large stepped ancient mayan pyramid

LANDED arranges personalized travel in Northern Belize and throughout Belize. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, domestic flights, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.

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