About 25 miles south of Belize City lies a unique body of water which is the home to one of the most unusual mammals in the world - the docile manatee. This body of water is the Southern Lagoon and is part of a huge estuary system of several rivers, many creeks, the Northern Lagoon and many channels which connect to Belize City. Stretching northward into the Southern Lagoon is a narrow, 2-1/2 mile long peninsula on which is located the village of Gales Point.
This village was originally settled by logwood cutters in the early 1800's and many of their descendants still populate this Creole village. The very northern tip of this finger of land is the picturesque setting for Manatee Lodge.
The Lodge was originally built as a fishing outpost for the pursuit of such game fish as tarpon, snook and bone fish. Manatee Lodge has transitioned over the years to become a choice destination for naturalists, birders and anyone interested in the wealth of natural history accessible in and around the Southern Lagoon area. The surrounding islands, mangroves, creeks, savannas and jungle provide homes for a huge variety of birds, plant life, and mammals including manatees and jaguars.
The Southern Lagoon is bound on the west by the foothills of the Maya Mountains. These unusually shaped limestone formations jut from the savanna grasslands and are thickly covered with dense jungle growth. Found within these structures are caves, many containing remnants of the ancient Mayan civilization.
Thick mangroves separate the Lagoon from the Caribbean Sea to the east. These tangled mangrove forests provide a rich nursery and feeding grounds not only for sport fish but also for lobster, crabs and a multitude of other marine life, as well as nesting places for the many water birds in this area - white ibis, egrets, herons, and ospreys. The Lagoon waters still abound with game and table fish - tarpon, snook, jacks, snapper, mullet, sheephead, and many more. Fishing on your own or with one of our experienced local guides can make this a great adventure. Most of the sport fishing in these waters is 'catch and release', however, if you snag a good table fish, our cooks will prepare it for you!
Abundant sea grass beds along the lagoon bottom support a large local population of Manatees. These gentle "sea cows" can be seen basking at the surface or coming up for breath while grazing. The bellowing of rival bulls can be heard over the waters during mating season. Manatees in this area are protected and are the subject of many research groups.
Easily accessible from the Lodge are miles of deserted beach on the Caribbean coast where one can wander for miles in the solitude of sand, sea and sun - a beach combers delight! The observation of the egg laying and hatching of several variety of sea turtles has become a highlight for the Manatee guests. Loggerheads, hawksbill, and green turtles come ashore to a virtually undisturbed beach site on the Caribbean coast to lay their eggs. The protection of the nesting areas of these unique creatures is important to their future existence.
All of these natural wonders are part of the Manatee Lodge experience waiting for the adventurous and appreciative traveler.
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