There's off-the-beaten track, way-off-the-beaten track and then there's Gales Point, a village founded around 1800 by runaway slaves from Belize City. The traditional Creole enclave sits on a narrow peninsula that juts out about 3 miles into the Southern Lagoon, one of a series of interconnected lakes and waterways between Belize City and Dangriga. To the west, jungle-clad limestone hills rise above the plains, and to the east, a narrow stretch of forest and mangrove swamp separate the lagoon from the Caribbean Sea.
The striking natural beauty has long attracted intrepid travelers and nature enthusiasts. Gales Point is home to the highest concentration of West Indian manatees in the Caribbean, and the nearby beaches are Belize's primary breeding ground for hawksbill turtles. The 14-sq-mile Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary offers some of the most amazing birdwatching opportunities in the country.