Northern Belize Sights

Shipstern Nature Reserve

  • Chunox-Sarteneja Rd. Map It
  • Sarteneja

Published 03/09/2017

Fodor's Review

About 3½ miles (6 km) west of Sarteneja on the road to Orange Walk or Corozal is the Shipstern Nature Reserve; this is the driest place in Belize and best visited January through April. You pass the entrance and visitor center as you come into Sarteneja. The 31 square miles (81 square km) of tropical forest forming the reserve are, like the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, a paradise for birders. Shipstern is managed by the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI), an NGO. More than 300 species of birds have been identified here. Look for egrets (there are 13 species), American coots, keel-billed toucans, flycatchers, warblers, and several species of parrots. Mammals are in healthy supply as well, including tapirs, pumas, and jaguars. The former butterfly farm next to the visitor center is now a small education area, and butterflies are being repopulated; don't apply bug spray if you are entering the butterfly enclosure. Nearby, a small museum at Mahogany Park focuses on the history

and uses of this beautiful tropical hardwood. There is a botanical trail leading from the visitor center, with the names of many plants and trees identified on small signs. Admission, a visit to the butterfly center, and a guided tour of the botanical trail is BZ$10 per person. Other tours are available, including one to the lagoon at Xo-Pol (BZ$70 per person) to see birds and crocodiles; stop at the Shipstern visitor center for more information. Bring plenty of bug juice. Although you can stay and eat in Sarteneja village, Shipstern offers basic cabin accommodations or a budget; meals are an added daily cost.

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Sight Information


Shipstern Nature Reserve, Chunox-Sarteneja Rd., near Sarteneja village, Sarteneja, Corozal, Belize

Map It


660-1807-Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative in Corozal Town

Sight Details:

  • BZ$10 per person, with minimum charge of BZ$20; birding tours BZ$50 per person, with a minimum charge of BZ$100

Published 03/09/2017


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