Crooked Tree Village, a neighborhood of friendly people…and wildlife!

Crooked Tree Village welcome sign
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Believe it or not, Crooked Tree Village is actually an inland island. It is surrounded by Revenge Lagoon, Northern Lagoon, Western Lagoon and Spanish Creek. It is located 33 miles north of Belize City and two miles off the Northern Highway, connected by a one-mile causeway. Crooked Tree is predominantly known for two things, it is a spectacular wildlife sanctuary and every year it has an amazing Cashew Festival.

The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

The Crooked Tree wildlife sanctuary is managed by The Audubon Society since 1984 when the Forestry Department declared the area protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. The sanctuary is home to the famous “Jabiru Stork”, the largest bird in the Western Hemisphere. The Jabiru has a wingspan of 10-12 feet and is listed as an endangered species.

jabiru stork in crooked tree village, belize

Around the lagoons you will find many other birds feeding on the abundant food resources that the lagoons provide, birds such as the Great Egrets, Kingfishers, Ospreys, and Black Hawks, among others. The entire area is a must see for birders.

The traditional way of life for the villagers has always been hunting, fishing, and farming. When the area was declared a protected sanctuary, the villagers viewed it as a declaration of war, as they felt that their livelihood and lifestyle was being threatened. A compromised was reached with the Audubon Society, whereas, the villagers are allowed to hunt and fish on a “needs” basis to meet their domestic demands.

The Crooked Tree Cashew Festival

cashew fruit

The Cashew Festival is an annual celebration of the harvesting of the cashew nuts and is held the first weekend in May. The festival started with one man’s vision, Mr. Rudy Crawford who initially thought that his village could be self-sustaining.

The festival is a community event to market the local Cashew products such as roasted cashew nuts, cashew wine, cashew jam, cashew cake and an assortment of local delicacies. Preparing the nut is a very lengthy process which requires a lot of patience. It is roasted over an open fire, after which it is broken from its outer shell and roasted in an oven. Because it is so time-consuming, it makes it very expensive on the open market.

Visitor information and wildlife sanctuary rules:

  • Entrance fees are Bz$2.00 for nationals and BZ$8.00 for non-nationals. Opening hours are 8 a.m-4:30 p.m.
  • To help maintain the sanctuary’s pristine condition, we ask that all visitors observe the following regulations.
  • Please register at the visitor’s center.
  • Please do not harm or capture any animals or birds.
  • Please do not collect or remove any plants or trees.
  • No fishing or hunting for non-nationals.
  • No firearms and hand gun allowed.
  • Do not litter and please leave trash in bins provided.
  • Please stay on the trails and boardwalks. Bring sturdy shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent and plenty of water.

Remember, no matter what time of the year you visit, Crooked Tree Village is a pleasant experience with friendly people and natural beauty.



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