Thursday, May 12, 2016

Into The Jungle

I'll conclude this series of posts about visiting Belize by telling you a bit about the three days we we spent at duPlooy's Jungle Lodge after our week of diving. We were met at the Belize City dock by the driver in his khaki shirt and pants - the uniform of duPlooy's - and set off on a 2 1/2 hour drive into the Cayo district. 

Along the way Philip pointed out the changing landscape, from mangroves to savanna to jungle. He explained that the teak trees looked dead because they lose their leaves to conserve water during the dry season. When the rains begin in May the new leaves will emerge, just as northern trees respond to the warmth of spring. We learned a great deal from him about the democratic government and agriculture. Cattle were everywhere; there's no factory farming in Belize. Every few miles a horse stood tied out to graze in the tall grass beside the road.

A Mayan Goddess welcomes visitors to duPlooy's Jungle Lodge.
Finally we turned from the highway onto a rutted dirt road. We bumped and bounced for four miles to reach our lodge. It was worth it!

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:
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.
We had to leave Belize much too soon, but I look forward to going back and seeing more of this beautiful, friendly country someday.


  1. How gorgeous!! Thanks so much for the tour!

  2. What an amazing place to visit, just stunning!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. what an amazing place but of all animals i think i like Rosie best


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