Largely due to a lack of valuable metals like gold and silver, the original Spanish conquistadors and later European colonizers largely overlooked Belize. Today though, the country is blessed with thousands of miles of pristine forests and tropical habitats, home to some of the most unusual and beautiful birds, mammals and plants, some of which can only be found in Belize.
The largest land mammal in the region, Baird’s Tapir is affectionally known by locals as the “mountain cow”. With a long prehensile nose similar to an elephant, Baird’s Tapirs can be found along slow-moving jungle river banks and on the fringes of the rainforest.Jaguars
Belize is home to some of the last remaining jaguars in Central America. Once worshipped by the ancient Maya, jaguars are now preserved in special wildlife sanctuaries. Powerful and agile, jaguars can bring down an animal as large as a deer but are known to consume more than 80 different species of animals, including monkeys and fish.West Indian Manatee
Playful and with a sweet, friendly disposition, the West Indian Manatee can be found in abundance in the shallow waters of the reefs, mangrove lagoons, and coast regions of Belize. Known locally as “sea cows”, these gentle herbivores can grow as large as a thousand pounds.Black Orchid
The national flower of Belize, the Black Orchid is a uniquely delicate plant with a gorgeously subtle perfume. Growing in certain humid jungle locales, the Black Orchid is one of the most beautiful flowers in Central America.Sea Turtles
Some of the largest ocean-dwelling reptiles anywhere on the planet, sea turtles circumnavigate the globe in their quest for food. Three different species, the loggerhead, hawksbill, and green turtle, come to Belize to deposit their eggs on the sand. Divers and snorkelers have a great chance of spotting the hawksbill turtle, which searches for food in the shallow waters adjacent to coral reefs.The Keel-Billed Toucan
In a jungle full of colorful birds, the Keel-Bill Toucan stands out from the crowd with a bright neon green beak, powerfully yellow crest, and black body. With beaks measuring up to eight inches long, the Keel-Billed Toucan thrive in the jungles of Belize, feeding on fruits, bread nuts, berries, and tree frogs.The Scarlet Macaw
A popular icon of television and movies, the scarlet macaw has a distinct rainbow appearance, with a full panoply of bright red, yellow, green, and blue feathers. Found in the upper branches of the rainforests in Belize, scarlet macaws are monogamous birds, making a single pair bond in the course of their lifetime. Once endangered, the scarlet macaw is making a strong comeback in Belize thanks to intervention by the government.Yok Ha Island Resort
Located eight miles off the coast of southeastern Belize, Yok Ha Island Resort is a tropical paradise unto itself. With a full range of modern luxury accommodations and on-site dining and bar facilities, guests at Yok Ha are within close range of the best sites to see all of the amazing animals described above.