Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife Reserve in Monkey Bay

A natural, privately protected area just off one of the country's main highways, this 1070-acre wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center offers lodging and activities for casual travelers, as well as internship activities for those with a more long-term interest in Belize. A well-stocked library provides plenty of reference and reading matter on natural history and the country.

Activities center around the Sibun River, which attracts sweaty travelers (and other kinds of wildlife) to its inviting swimming hole. Around 250 bird species have been identified at the sanctuary. Larger wildlife, such as pumas, tapirs and coatimundi, have been spotted on the 2-mile track running down beside the sanctuary to the river. Guided jungle hikes from the lodge to the river cost BZ$55 for one to four visitors. Other activities include canoeing (BZ$122 per visitor) and trips to nearby Tiger Cave (BZ$142 per visitor). There are also guided birding hikes that vary in price.

In the dry season, guides take adventurers about 12 miles north to Cox Lagoon, which is home to jabiru storks, deer, tapir, black howlers and lots of crocodiles.