Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary

Belize Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary

Egrets

Bush Dog

Jabiru Stork

Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary (AWS) is a protected area of about 5,492 acres situated in the lowland area between the steep karst hills of Laguna and Blue Creek, Toledo District.

It borders Mayan Indian Reservations and forest reserve. AWS consists of three freshwater lagoons, two hot springs (giving the area its name), and acts as a reservoir for waters that supply most of the tributaries flowing into the Moho River. The area seasonally floods but during the drier months of February to May levels drop to allow easier access.

As a wetland, it is deemed one of the most fragile ecosystems, and ten local communities work together for the protection of the Sanctuary. The large expanse of open, fresh water, bordered on the south by limestone hills and on the other three sides by marshland forest, scrub, broadleaf forests, and grassland, all attracting a variety of wildlife. In the dry season the area provide a valuable grazing habitat for many species, including the deer, turtles and fish are visible in the swamp and nearby Black Cree, which the trail follows for a short way.

But the main focus of the Sanctuary is the abundant bird life. Solitary egrets and herons hunt along the creek edge, while flocks of ibis and wood stork roast atop the creek side vegetation. Kingfishers rule the air above the water surface, continuously clattering while darting above and diving into the water. The mangroves surrounding the lagoon is alive with warblers and flycatchers feasting on the plentiful insect life. Herons and egrets wade in the shallows; sucks swim down the middle of the lagoon; cormorants continually dive surfacing with struggling sprat in their bills, and you may even see the Jabiru Stork, which sometimes feed here. The whole lagoon is alive with fish feeding and jumping, making the surface looking like rainfall on water even though the sky is clear!

Being the only major wetland system in southern Belize, the avifauna list is extensive, and includes Roseate Spoonbills and many raptors including Ospreys. Jaguars are present and recent tracks of the illusive Baird's Tapir have been seen along with the bush songs, snakes, and a multitude of butterflies and insects.

Come and explore this unique area in Toledo, along the boardwalk and trails, and then by canoe, for an unforgettable day of wildlife and bird watching.

Calico Jack's Village offers vacations that include Agua Caliente Wildlife Sanctuary. To customize a vacation package to include Agua Caliente Wildlife Sanctuary, please contact us.