12.6.08 Baboons, Zoo & Blue Hole, Belize!
Belmopan Travel Blog› entry 32 of 57 › view all entries
12.6.08 Baboons, Zoo & Blue
What a terrific day! We got up close and personal with Howler Monkeys and a Jaguar! Swimming was refreshing in the
By 8am we were out the door into the humble office of the Community Baboon Sanctuary. We paid our $28
Then he called the Howler Monkeys and they came right down to the lower limbs. He picked leaves and let us feed them to the monkeys. Occasionally, they would pee and one time they got Lia! We got to see a mother with a little 5 week old baby, which was so little! Robert made a noise and the dominant male would give the territorial yell back. It was so awesome! We were out for about an hour enjoying the monkeys and the jungle lessons.
Robert showed us how to use the soldier ants to stitch together a wound by plucking off its body so the mandibles locked closed.
We returned to the displays in the office and enjoyed reading about conservation efforts to reduce deforestation. Also, repopulation of endangered species was covered. Very interesting. We left a donation using a U.S check so hopefully the funds will go directly to the conservation efforts. They are a self-sustaining non-profit with now up to 3000 Howler Monkeys, which is a remarkable accomplishment since they began in 1985. We bought some cashews, which are very labor-intensive and have an acid that burns the skin on the fingers.
By 10 am we were on the road heading to the
By 11 am we pulled into the Belize Zoo! This “best little zoo in the world” was $28
After this exhibit, another zookeeper put Junior in his cage and we walked through his pen to another cage that we hopped inside. Then the other zookeeper let Junior out where he rolled over as instructed. We got to feed him chicken pieces through the cage! Then he hopped up on the cage and licked the zookeepers head! When he licked Jazy’s head, he got her bangs and started eating them before the zookeeper pulled them back and scolded Junior! We didn’t go for the head-licking after that! Ha!
We got to feel his fur while he was chewing on the chicken bone and were warned to keep hands from his mouth.
Then the Zookeeper took us to see “Wild Boy” who was their first jaguar from 15 years ago. He said that we’d see the difference in how the two cats took the chicken bone. Junior had been taught from an early age to be gentle and slow. Well Wild Boy about snapped off his fingers! Wow- we weren’t about to try to feed him after that. Wild Boy also did very graceful rolls for us, while Junior was flipping over his head and lolling about. Very funny. Wild Boy was right above us at about 7’ up and we could stand on the log stumps to get really close. He was beautiful!
We tipped our Zookeeper Guide who obviously had wanted us to enjoy our time with the jaguars and he seemed pleased.
In the gift shop, we got some magnificent finds from the local bakery: the world’s best Banana Bread, cookies, and cinnamon rolls. Another t-shirt, some special
By 2 pm we headed past Belpoman, the country’s small capital, and then south on the
By 3 pm we pulled into the Blue Hole National Park Visitor’s Center, a small wooden building with another housing some displays. We bought tickets for the park, which allowed us to swim in the blue hole (this afternoon) and then hike the cave (in the morning), since we couldn’t do both before dark.
We ended up at Ian Anderson’s Resort for the night. It is a lodge in the jungle just 100 yards south of the Blue Hole swimming area. We wouldn't recommend them as they've moved far from their model and security ends at 11pm and check-in required too much effort, but we're happy to have a place to sleep. (Note: Sunday thru Thursday, an attendant at the Blue Hole Visitor's Center allows RV's to overnight there since he is on-site. He charges $5 per person- I don't remember if that was U.S. or Belize). I would try 5 Blue Lakes next time.
Today we saw our British friends (from Corozal) both at the Belize Zoo and here.
By the way, last night, I did get to hear the amazing roar of the Howlers. Then I saw the local dog streak across the yard and soon, 5 unaccompanied horses trotted up and proceeded to eat grass at the blue house’s lawn. Lia this morning saw someone come and drag one of the horses back home. Too funny! We laugh at how in Alaska, we tried to catch a little dog running loose, but the people we told informed us kindly that they don’t have “leash laws” around there. We’re getting used to see all dogs running around wherever, but the horses still surprised me.
Our plan is to spend one more day tomorrow (Sunday) in