The island village and the wildlife sanctuary of Crooked Tree are only a 36-mile drive from Belize City and a primary destination for all serious bird-watchers who visit Belize. Others will enjoy paddling through the water, hiking various trails, or reveling at the annual cashew festival. Most visitors to the area also enjoy the simple pleasure of mingling with the islanders, perhaps at one of the weekly cricket matches.
Crooked Tree is a network of inland lagoons, swamps, and waterways. The sanctuary also encompasses the freshwater lagoon that surrounds the area. Crooked Tree Lagoon is up to a mile wide and more than 20 miles long. Along its banks lies the town of Crooked Tree. An island surrounded by fresh water, accessible only by boats traveling up the Belize River and Black Creek, it was settled during the early days of the logwood era. The waterways were used to float the logs out to the sea.
The best way to really experience the lagoon is by boat, and there are all kinds available at each hotel. Belize Audubon Society will be happy to have a guide and boat waiting for you when you arrive at Crooked Tree. All three accommodations in the village also arrange birding and village tours.
Getting to Crooked Tree
By car, drive north to Mile 33, turn left, and continue until the dirt road turns into the earthen causeway that will carry you into Crooked Tree. Or catch the Jex Bus to Crooked Tree in Belize City (at 34 Regent St., next to Mike’s Club); they leave promptly at 10:55 a.m. Monday–Friday, arriving in Crooked Tree at 12:30 p.m.; there’s also a 5 p.m. bus from the Poundyard Bridge. From Crooked Tree to Belize City, buses depart only in the mornings; ask about times. This is fine for those who plan to spend the night; other options are to go by taxi or with a local tour operator. Check with the Audubon Society for further transportation information, rates, and an updated schedule.
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition