quick facts about northern belize
- The jungle in the west provides habitat for some of the highest concentration of jaguar in the country, and probably the best chance to see one of Belize's five wildcats (Jaguar, Puma, Margay, Jaguarundi and Ocelot)
- The coastal lagoons to the east are vast feeding grounds for colonies of storks, herons and egrets as well as the endangered manatee. In between flows beautiful river country, full of crocodile, turtle and tarpons.
- Mennonites have a strong presence here, and their horse-drawn carriages along the roads of northern Belize remind travelers of the astounding diversity within Belize.
- The site of Cuello outside of Orange Walk is one of the earliest known Maya sites in Central America, dating from 2500 BC.
- Lamanai was a major Maya trading center that thrived for over 3,000 years. With a population exceeding 35,000 at the height of the city's power, Lamanai's trading influence extended over the borders of present-day Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Belize.
- Of the 700 buildings within the Lamanai Maya ruins area, it's estimated that less than 5% have been excavated and explored. Lamanai is Maya for "submerged crocodile."
quick facts about orange walk, cayo district, maya mountains
- "Cayo" is the Spanish word for island, and is believed to have been named by the early settlers when the area was bounded by two rivers. The only access to Cayo back then was by boat or horseback.
- Guanacaste National Park is a fifty-acre tropical forest on the northside of the Western Highway. The park derives its name from the guanacaste tree, one of the largest trees in Central America that can grow over 130 feet tall.
- Blue Hole National Park which is 12 miles southeast of Belmopan, features a collapsed sinkhole about 100 feet deep and roughly 300 feet in diameter. Nearby is a beautiful sapphire blue pool, for which the area is named.
- Xunantunich, means "stone woman" in Mayan. The largest pyramid here, El Castillo, rises a towering 130 feet above the main plaza.
- Caracol, is the largest Mayan site in Belize. But due to its accessibility, it remained shrouded in jungle and mystery until 1985, when excavation of the site began.