|A Mayan Goddess welcomes visitors to duPlooy's Jungle Lodge.|
We stayed in the Tree House, with our own private garden and balcony.
After enjoying our "welcome" drink (tamarind juice, club soda, and Belizean rum) we set off for the Belize Botanical Garden. Kenneth duPlooy and his family basically built the huge garden from an abandoned farm. It adjoins the lodge.
|Even the snakes are pretty!|
Our plans for the next three days-
Day One: a short jungle hike followed by an inner tube ride through an ancient cave system.
Day Two: Touring ATM cave, which extends two miles in length for tourists and is 200 feet underground. This involves hiking, swimming, and a bit of climbing. Along its length are the original Mayan artifacts and human sacrifices brought as offerings to this sacred cave.
Day 3: The Mayan Ruins of Tikal National Park in Guatemala.
No cameras are allowed at the ATM cave due to a skull being broken by a tourist a few years ago, but what we saw there was unforgettable.
|Photo Credit: jmbelizetravel.com|
Visitors enter the ATM cave. For Mayans, this is the entrance to the underworld.
However, we did photograph the Tikal temples and palaces, as well as a bit of the wildlife.
|This is a tiny sample of the entire park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.|
|A troop of howler monkeys siestas in the shade. It was 105 degrees on the day we visited.|
|Imagine climbing these steps while carrying offerings.|
|Tikal was inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to about 900 A.D.|
Each evening when we returned to duPlooy's we cleaned up and headed to the outdoor bar area to feed the kinkajous. These nocturnal animals are wild but swing by to pick up a few bananas. Then they vanish into the jungle for the rest of the night. It got dark about 6:30 there, so we still had plenty of time to enjoy a tropical beverage before dinner.
|Looks cuddly, but far from tame.|
|Ted starts a shy kinkajou's night off right!|
|Fresh fruit entices birds to visit each morning.|
We met Judy duPlooy and her daughter and son-in-law, Shayla and Chris, as well as Rosie, their dog and lodge ambassador.
|A Plain Chachalaca at breakfast.|