A Nature Lover’s Adventure

Belize is a Central American playground with an enthralling wild side and soothing aquatic splendors

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The Mayan High Temple (Source: Lamanai Outpost Lodge)

The vast, mysterious night sky silenced every thought in my head as I marveled at the dazzling blanket of low-hanging stars that lit our course across the New River, the longest river in Belize, to our first port of call. The 90-minute river ride is the most exhilarating route to Lamanai Outpost Lodge, an eco-friendly sanctuary with 17 rustic cabanas nestled in a vibrant habitat teeming with wild black howler monkeys, crocodiles, and more than 250 species of vivacious birds. The thatch-roofed structures receive crisp surround-sound of the restless wildlife. The lodge is named after the region, which translates to “submerged crocodile.”

There are eight in our group of bird watchers, novice hikers, and seasoned thrill seekers who have ventured to a destination where roughly 50,000 Mayans lived between 1500 B.C. and the early 1700s. Situated north of Belize City, it’s the jewel of the Orange Walk District, which offers wilderness adventure and archaeological expeditions.

In the 20th century major excavations of the area unearthed temples of an ancient Mayan civilization that survived the Roman Empire. Hieroglyphic decoders believe the site carvings record sensational stories of war and peace.

The trails to the Mayan ceremonial site at Lamanai are swarming with ruthless mosquitoes that laugh at repellent, but the view from the summit of the High Temple will take your breath away. There are other excursions: At daybreak bird watchers in our group set out to scout for gray catbirds, great kiskadees, and mangrove swallows. After dusk they revisited the riverbank to stalk nocturnal birds, while the rest of our group went crocodile hunting. Well, we accompanied the guide who caught (and released) the toothy reptiles.

Leaving Lamanai we traveled by river, highway, and rugged dirt roads to our lunchtime pit stop at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for migrating birds. Crooked Tree is noted for its abundance of cashew trees, which fuel a fledgling cottage industry. Verna Samuel served a sampling of her cashew creations after lunch at Bird’s Eye View Lodge (www.birdseyeview belize.com). The forested Cayo District, 90 minutes southwest of Belize City, was our next overnight destination. This region offers cool creeks and the dramatic Thousand Foot Falls that plunge 1,400 feet.

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  • Jeff

    / Hi travelers..I just want to say a big Hello from Athens!!..I hope you are in a good shape and in a good mood..Aki,my irnefd..Yes,you seem to be pessimistic..!!Don’t do that please!!!I know it’s difficult to get used in a different style of life after a world around trip..But you must feel blessed for that,and for all these moments of traveling..Every day it’s a new day my irnefd..My proposal is to start writing a book for your journey around the world with Voula..!!Yes !!We want that..!!With more personal feelings and thoughts from your life trip..Think about it!!I just finished reading Hlias Vroxidis book..Great trip and great writing..!!Aki And Voula I send my love from mother Greece and i wish you the best!!You are Rock!!:))))LeonidasAthens,GreeceP.S Aki your best wild picture is unbelievable men!!!!What a moment!!!