Belize! The best little zoo in the world, Lamanai and a community baboon sanctuary.

Friday, November 16, 2018 (Previous post on San Ignacio area)

For our last day in San Ignacio we decided a breakfast of treats at the French bakery was in order. It didn’t disappoint. The coffee’s decent too.

We stood at the bus stop and waved down the bus for Belize. It was an express bus but I asked the young man if he’d stop at the zoo. He said “okay, a quick stop” and we got on. He gestured to me when it was time to get off and we hurried to the front. One lady told Barb “This bus doesn’t stop there”. Yeah, it’s not the first time the bus drivers have been exceptionally nice to us.

At the zoo we were given directions to the Tropical Education Centre. He offered to get us a ride but we decided to walk as it was only a mile. I took the grass path which ended up being ankle-deep in water sometimes. The other 3 were smarter and took the road. A nice young man picked them up and drove them part of the way.

We settled into our spacious cabin overlooking the pond then got a ride back to the zoo. The Belize zoo is more of a sanctuary and is home to only species endemic to Belize. We spent more than 2 hours checking it out.

Back at the TEC we changed to prepare for our night hike then went for dinner at the dining hall. I jokingly told Juan Carlos that I didn’t get any cake. He brought us another piece 😉 Nice!

He dropped us off at the zoo and Emmanuel took the 4 of us around and showed us nocturnal animals. We even got to feed and pet some of them! It’s really cool being the only people in the zoo.

Back at the TEC, Juan Carlos found us a couple of tarantulas. Fun!

Puma, a rescued “pet”. The owner fed it until it was ridiculously fat. Hence the hanging skin.

Toucan. Belize’s national bird

Quash or coatimundi

ocelot

Quash

He held that branch aside to check us out

Road hawk. Spotted him on a walk on the trails around the TEC

Funny little bird I saw in the yard at the Tropical Education centre

Most jaguars are here because they were killing live stock

This deer was gelded which caused a hormone imbalance . He doesn’t shed his horns so they’ve become deformed

Tapir.

Hummingbird just hanging around outside the dining room at the Tropical Education Center

Parrots, like most of the animals in the Belize zoo, were often pets

Ocelot

This owl is clutching his dinner like he’s afraid we’re going to take it.

Friday. I was up at 5:30 so did my best to get dressed and sneak out in the dark. The birds were starting to wake as I enjoyed a coffee in the parrot dining room. Juan Carlos came in and we set out for some bird watching. He pointed out lots of birds and identified several calls.

After breakfast we packed up and enjoyed another hike before deciding on how to get to our next destination. Pay for a taxi? $170 BZE or $42.50 each? Or do the adventurous route and take the bus for probably less than $20 each? Bus it was. We got a ride to the bus stop and waited maybe 15 minutes before it came along.

Once at the terminal in Belize City, a fellow who worked there asked where we were going.

Bermudian Landing. Hmmm. No bus from here so he showed us where to catch it a few streets over. That one was an adventure. It was crowded. Barb saw a chicken. People were buying snacks through the windows when it stopped. A man behind me was hollering at people through the window. Seems he had a lot of friends. Total cost $7.50 BZE each. It took a bit longer, about 2.5 hours vs 1 hour in a taxi but it was much more entertaining.

November 17 -20.  2018

Community Baboon Sanctuary

We arrived at the Howler Monkey Sanctuary, settled in and just chatted for a while, trying to decide what to do with our last few days in Belize. Meanwhile we walked around the property and enjoyed the simple trail. Howler monkeys could be heard across the river.

Barb had found a good price on a tour with Lamanai Belize Tours. We’ve found that most agencies are willing to do tours a little cheaper when there’s 4 of us, we’re doing multiple tours and the fact that it’s low season. So if you’re planning a trip, November is a good time to go.

Julian picked us up promptly at 8 am and drove us to Bat’s landing where we boarded a boat operated by Carlos. He pointed out creatures and some fauna along the way and guided us through Lamanai. The forecast was rain but it held off all day and we managed to climb a coupe of temples. The high one is not for those who fear heights.

After a tasty lunch and quick visit to the museum we again boarded the boat and sped, (Yes, it was fast!) back to Bat’s landing where Julian was waiting for us. He took us on a quick tour of Orange Walk and introduced us to the infamous Orange Walk taco. They even have a festival for this taco.

Lamanai, Belize

Lamanai, Belize

View from the high temple

Jaguar temple

Back at the Howler Monkey Resort we relaxed for a bit then Sue and I went on a walk about to check out the neighbourhood. There’s not much around.

Mel, Ed and their son Juseph made us breakfast and lunch every day. Each meal was different, home-made and delicious. Juseph served us dishes family style and, although we tried hard to finish it, there were leftovers every time.

Our last day we decided to just relax. We haven’t done much of that this trip. After breakfast we walked over to the community baboon sanctuary. The girl called for a guide and Robert showed up. He explained how unique the sanctuary is then took us on a walk while serenading in song. Even the monkeys enjoyed his singing as they showed up to greet us.

We tried to spend the rest of the day lounging by the pool with our books but after a bit the rain chased us away.

Later we walked to Double Head Cabbage, just because the name of the village intrigued us.

After another amazing dinner of stewed beef, rice with vegetables, sautéed vegetables and a sweet bun for dessert we reflected on the trip. The funny thing was that all of us enjoyed taking public buses. They were often an adventure and a great way to see the real Belize. We enjoyed every place we stayed and thought the time spent at each place was sufficient other than Placencia which deserved more time.

Howler monkey

Vermillion fly catcher

Double Head Cabbage, Belize. I was amused by this 😉

Howler monkey

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