Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth Zoo
Tikal (Mayan ruins)
San Pedro Town
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctaury
Lamanai (Mayan ruins)
New River boat trip
Shipstern Wildlife Reserve
Howler Monkey Lodge
Belize River canoe trip
Community Baboon Sanctuary
Hill Bank Station
Macal River canoe trip
Rio On Pools
Caracol (Mayan ruins)
|Ed and Mel run Howler Monkey Lodge. The cabins are fairly basic but clean and comfortable and all have a view of the river. Guests are invited to join them for meals but they never told us in advance what we were going to have they always made it a surprise. I’m sure that if we were on a special diet or made a request they would have happily complied. Over the course of 6 days we were always pleasantly surprised. Everything was homemade and fresh with a variety good of things to choose from and always some sort of fresh tropical juice.|
|Our first day we took a tour of the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Our guide, Fallet Young, was one of the founders of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is an all volunteer group of farmers and landowners that have set aside a portion of their land for the howler monkeys. The sanctuary is a web-like maze rather than one large solid clump of land. Fallet is extremely knowledgeable of the plants growing in the sanctuary and told us which ones to use for a large variety of medical needs from snake bites, to a poison ivy antidote, birth control, and much more. But the best part of the tour was when Fallet called the monkeys down out of the trees and let us hand feed them.|
|On our second
day Ed drove us up the road about 10 minutes to Double Head Cabbage. There
he dropped us and a canoe off and we started a 13 mile paddle down stream
back to the lodge. It was both relaxing and exciting. You are probably tired
of reading about all the sounds of monkeys, parrots, macaws, geckos, and
such but it’s SO cool that I just can’t help myself. The constant
jungle sounds and glimpses of wildlife are what made this trip so much fun.
One day we drove to Belmopan, the capital of Belize, and the zoo. While in Belmopan we discovered the Yim Saan Restaurant. The food was so good that we went out of our way on two other days to go back for lunch. The Belize Zoo is not large but it is a very nice zoo. The animals are all local to Belize. The enclosures have informative signs and are filled with native plants which provide the animals a good home and the visitors with a sense our being in the wild.
|Even before starting our trip we had seen information on the internet about zip-lining, also called canopy tours. We decided that this was a must for us to try.|
The only place to do zip-lining in Belize is at Jaguar Paw Resort about 45 minutes from Howler Monkey Lodge. The tour consists of zipping along on a cable suspended about 75 feet in the air going from platform to platform. On the final platform you repel yourself down to the ground. The tour is well designed with many safety features and conducted with two trained guides. This was a real hoot! I think I will start looking for more places to go zip-lining on future trips.
Video 1 - 2.59MB med res video clip of zip-lining. Part of the clip has poor image quality but the sounds of the zip line, wind, and blurred images of trees going by will give you a sense of how fast and how much fun this is.
|Even though the cave tubing is located very close to the zip-lining we chose to do it on a different day and we were glad we did. If the cruise ships aren’t in port then the cave tubing is pretty much closed down. Therefore, we went on a day the ships were in port but we arrived at 9:00 AM before the tours buses. While I do not have any good photos of the cave tubing it was a lot of fun. The fact that we floated through the entire length all by ourselves added to the experience. Once we came out of the cave we saw a line of tourists streaming in like ants. Our timing was perfect.|
One day we decided to drive out to Hill Bank Station located on the New River Lagoon. The road leading out to the station is gated and we had to tell the guard our names and what we doing. The road would be very difficult to drive without 4WD even in good weather.
The first part of the drive was through a savanna area followed by a long stretch of orange groves. The last few miles were through lush jungle before popping out at the station and the lagoon.
The station is primarily used by researchers and other specialty groups such as the multi-national firefighter exercises that were being conducted while we were there. They have recently opened the station to tourists. The cabins are well made and comfortable but without many amenities. The station provides canoes for guests and can arrange for a boat trip up to Lamanai Mayan ruins or night crocodiles tour on the lagoon. The station would be a good place for wildlife viewing but getting there and back during poor weather road conditions might be difficult.
On our final day we drove into Belize City. My personal opinion is that the only redeeming value of the city is the shopping. Like with the cave tubing if the cruise ships aren’t in port most of the vendors are closed and many of the larger shops are also closed. This was also the only true rainy day of the whole 3 ½ week trip. When we got back to the lodge Ed told us that the rain was Belize crying because we were leaving.
The next morning we headed for the airport and our flight back home. It was truly a great adventure but it’s not quite done just yet …