Top Ten Central America Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Birding at a Crooked Tree: Belize
By Ron Mader & Richard Mahler

Quick: What's the largest flying bird in the Americas? It's the rare jabiru stork, and Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the few places you can find it. In this Central American wetlands, you'll also discover more than 250 resident and migratory bird species. You may also see crocodiles, ocelots, and jaguarundis. The Belize Aubudon Society manages this sanctuary, with the enthusiastic cooperation of Crooked Tree's 300 villagers. Many residents run local guesthouses, restaurants, and guide services. Inquire at the visitor center for suggestions. The wetlands are best visited by canoe, although dry areas have jungle hiking trails and an ancient Maya city (Chau Hiix) currently being excavated. In early May, the village's many cashew trees bear fruit; the ensuing celebration is a terrific way to experience traditional Creole culture.


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