Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary Travel Guide

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Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary Overview

Lu Ha is the local name for the Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary (AWS) in Toledo, southern Belize. The designated area of nearly 5,500 acres is the heart of an extensive wetland region, formed by a barrier of rolling landscape and karst hills which slow the flow of waters from numerous creeks on their journey to the Moho River. It was declared a sanctuary in 1998 and is managed by a Community-based Organisation - the Aguacaliente Management Team - representing 10 villages from the surrounding area of western Toledo.

The water level differs dramatically between the dry and wet season, and seasonal flooding has led to specific adaptations of the flora and fauna, resulting in a mosaic of eco-systems considered unique in Belize. The rains provide a huge fish breeding ground which, as the waters recede, give rise to large numbers of wading birds attracted by the rich pickings - including the jabiru stork and the roseate spoonbill.

Nearly half a mile of boardwalk was constructed by Trekforce in 2006 from Laguna Village, giving access to the visitors' centre for the majority of the year. During the dry season you can hike under the forest canopy and through wetlands to the warm springs at the base of the aguacaliente hills, or through lush grasslands for birdwatching. During the rainy season, canoes are available for hire from the visitors' centre to paddle gently through the lagoons to see a variety of orchids, great silver tarpon, and green iguanas.

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