Black Howler Monkeys, the Zoo and Guanacaste National Park
the shops close early,sometimes it is too peaceful and it is a nice place to relax.
The quietest capital city in the world
The Zoo has an excellent collection of cats, with three or four regular Jaguars as well as a Black Jaguar topping the food chain. Next in size were a couple of Pumas (or Central American Cougars), one of which was very friendly as it rolled and purred by the fence - a former pet that had grown too large. It was also interesting to see some of the...more
Continuing our jungle trail walk from the Guanacaste tree, we came to the small Roaring Creek tributary of the Belize River. The forest trail followed high above the very deep ravine through which the creek flowed (and we could see the remains of an old steel bridge laying in the water far below) along which were located various bird watching...more
The tour is given by one of the curators at the Zoo and starts with their caged snake and insect collection at the entrance building. Then, various lights (torches) were distributed (some people had their own - they would be good to bring to Belize, as we later found out as we camped near the Guatemala border!) and we headed off into the maze of...more
Our first objective, after picking up our rental vehicle from the International airport northwest of Belize City, was the Community Baboon Sanctuary located only 13 miles (21 km) away at Bermudian Landing. This area of Belize was set aside by the local population to help preserve the endangered Black Howler Monkey population (locally referred to as...more
The Belize Zoo is quite an interesting place! It is different from most zoos in that it does not import animals from various parts of the world but simply takes in creatures that are native to Central America. The various animals and birds that call the Zoo 'home' have not been captured for the sake of display - they have either been previously...more
After finishing our morning Zoo excursion, Sue and I headed back to the Tropical Education Center to pack up and clear out. We had invited our friends from Caye Caulker to accompany us on the remainder of our rental vehicle travels (they were at the start of a 7-week backpacker trip through to Panama with no fixed itinerary), so we were all on the...more
Taking advantage of our chance to see the Zoo again in the clear morning light, Sue and I left for the Zoo at 8:30 AM. Some things we saw on this self-guided tour were:Harpy Eagle - one of the largest of eagles. It's length can reach over 3 feet and with a body weight of 20 lb and a flight sped of over 50 mph it packs quite a punch when it strikes...more
By 2 PM, we had satisfied ourselves with lunch in Belmopan and pulled out onto the Hummingbird Highway for the 55 mile southeast drive to Hopkins, even though we still had not arranged any accommodations. Now this is a scenic route, the lush green tropical growth immediately being much more appealing than the dry forest along the Western Highway....more
The Black Howler Monkeys found here are one of six species found in the tropical rain forests of southern South America, Boliva and Central America. Their head and body length of about 2-3 feet (combined with equal tail length dimensions) makes them one of the largest monkey types found in the Americas. Females of the species are brown in colour to...more
Off Mile 37, Western Highway, Cave Branch River, Belmopan, Belize
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
Mile 46.5 Western Highway, Belmopan, Belize
Good for: Solo
The Lodge sits among 4000 acres of land owned by John & Carolyn Carr. The staff is friendly and...more
Mopan River Resort's food is outstanding! Miss Pam, as gracious husband Jay likes to call her, has bookshelf after bookshelf in their hacienda devoted to cooking. She loves to cook, took a culinary course in Bangkok, and has taught her Belizean cooks international cooking. The cook staff excels in Belizean burritos, Belizean tostadas and homemade...more
Our final meal on this leg of our trip was at the Bull Frog Inn in Belmopan as we were headed southeast on the Hummingbird Highway, after finishing up with the Belize Zoo and Guanacaste National Park. The Bull Frog Inn is quite a nice establishment, located on the eastern edge of Belmopan's 'ring road' - we and our accompanying friends liked the...more
Here we were, staying in accommodations at the Belize Tropical Education Center (TEC) in the middle of nowhere and they also had a great restaurant on the premises! We, along with our 'Caye Caulker' friends from Saskatchewan, Canada turned up at about 6 PM, where we chatted with two other couples (one from Alberta, Canada and the other from...more
Benque Viejo-- Local bars feature karaoke until well after midnight
Dogs along the riverbank bark and howl as people pass by and drunks stumble home in the darkness.
Dress Code: casual
Back in early-December, 2005 I got on the internet to check out all the car rental agencies at the Phillip S W Goldson International airport outside Belize City for the three days that we would be free to roam on this segment of our trip. When I visit a country, I like to have a bit of freedom to just drive around and explore at my own pace, so I'm...more
In the course of our travels in Belize, we drove on parts of all of it's main Highways, including the Northern (Belize City-Mexico), Western (Belize City-Guatemala), Hummingbird (Belmopan-Dangriga) and Southern (Dangriga-Punta Gorda). These were all very good sealed highways with little or no pot-holes to worry about, but the pedestrian crossing...more
52 Reviews and Opinions
As we passed through Belmopan, in both directions, we took the time to stop at Brodie's department store on the eastern side of the town. In both cases we picked up some bottles of water and wine (US$13.80 per bottle of 'cheap' Chilean stuff) as well as home-made banana bread that made for a nice quick snack in isolated places like Hopkins on the coast or Crooked Tree inland. Later, when we visited Belize City, we also had a look in the large flagship store of this family chain that has been serving Belize since 1887. These stores have a good selection of items and will take credit cards and also give you discount coupons if you use cash.
Another company that saw our business was Shell, with their petroleum stations. We filled up our rental vehicle at one just outside the international airport when we picked it up and once again in Belmopan (shown here) when we were on our way back to drop it off. Although the Belize $ is pegged at two for every US$, they use Imperial gallons rather than the smaller US gallons (0.83 of an Imperial) when dealing with gasoline. The cheapest grade of gasoline was US$4.69/Imperial gallon. I started to get worried when the rental tank following pick-up, showing 2/3 full, required the attendant to pump US$62 into it to bring it to maximum!! In the end, we drove almost 200 miles before the indicator even dropped back to 'Full' !
After travelling just over half-way along the Hummingbird Highway toward the east coast, it became evident that this Stann Creek District part of the country was home to numerous large citrus groves. Along both sides of the highway, orange (mostly) and grapefruit trees stretched off on both sides of the highway, partially climbing the slopes of the nearby Maya Mountains.
We saw many large truck loads of fruit trundling down the highway to the two juice concentrator plants that are located in this part of Belize. It turns out that this industry was introduced to the country in 1926 and has grown significantly since then. Although the production (80% oranges and 20% grapefruit) is small in terms of world output, these locally owned and managed groves and concentrators provide a major source of income for the country, worth about US$50 million.
Every so often along the highway, you will pass large ramps where the oranges are deposited before they are then loaded onto the trailers that drive up beside them. The strange thing about the orange juice is that so much of it is transformed into frozen concentrate for export, we had very little in the way of fresh orange juice served to us in our entire 3 weeks in Belize!
While we were on our guided jungle walk in the Community Baboon Sanctuary at Bermudian Landing, Sue and the guide walked past a large termite nest that had fallen off a tree trunk and was lying in the middle of the trail. Being an inquisitive sort, I stopped to have a closer look at it and could see that it was partially broken open and that there were scores of black insects moving around. I did not think too much of it at first knowing that termites are harmless, until these things started to fly and land on me. It was then that the guide turned around and said "BEEs - everyone run for it!" He and Sue had to make a running retreat past the nest on the narrow trail while I swatted away at the 15-20 odd bees that had landed on various parts of my bare skin (it was handy that we had bought a palm frond swatter off him for a souvenir at the start of our tour)! I was wondering why these small black bees did not seem to be inflicting much pain on me (in fact, nothing more than an annoyance). It turns out that there is such a thing as a stingless variety of bee!
Historical records show that variety of stingless bees have been native to Belize for thousands of years, thanks to the cultivation efforts of the lowland Maya. In addition to providing honey, the bees were also used in religious ceremonies. Although they are sting-less, it is said that the bees can inflict a nasty bite, although I did not suffer any ill effects or pain. There are many species of stingless bees in tropical America (and other places in the world) where they nest in hollow tree trunks, holes in the ground or abandoned nests (I can confirm that one!).
Luggage and bags:
The smaller the better for ease in traveling.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Teva's, tennis shoes, hiking boats, rain gear, nylon or easily dried clothes. Humidity is high and cotton takes days to dry. Mopan River Resort will do a large mesh bag of laundry the same day for US $10.--a real bargain.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: REI Jungle Juice or DEET containing bug repellant. Not many mosquitoes at the Mopan Resort but there are in the jungle.
Aquacate Reserve a preserve given to Belize government by the Mennonite community because it contains two large lakes and jungle covered Maya ruins. Alexi our guide found 2 howler monkeys sleeping way high in 2 trees. We made howler noises and shook trees but the monkeys only looked up from their nap or scratched their behind. Looked like gorillas...more
This map shows where we went in Belize during our 3-days of rental driving. After taking a taxi from Belize City to the International airport at Ladyville, we picked up our Honda Passport SUV at about noon. We initially struck out north toward Crooked Tree but soon branched off to the west, as we headed for the wild Black Howler Monkeys in their...more
Since I don't bother with owning a cellular phone, I find that it is always handy to have a local phone card to avoid the hassles of having the correct change on hand should you need to make a call for some reason. Not knowing how often we would use the card, while on Caye Caulker, I bought the lowest denomination possible (BZ$5 or US$2.50) and, in...more
BENQUE VIEJO del CARMEN http://www.belizenownetwork.com/Maps/CayoD/delCarmen/content1.htm Green parrots squawked in a neighbor's tree by the landing. I thought the closest one was a pet tied to a perch but not so. He was wild and lively. The big church in town is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church http://www.solt3.org/solt/belize.htm but many...more