Into the Jungle!

Saturday morning bright and early, we all boarded the ferry and headed to the mainland, excited for our brief but action-packed couple of days! We arrived at the Belize City ferry terminal and headed right to the Belize Zoo with our knowledgeable guide Melvis who works for Programme for Belize. At the zoo we saw the Tapir, the national animal of Belize, and many other interesting mammals, like the puma, jaguar and ocelot. As the day got a bit hotter, we all got back into the van to drive to La Milpa Field Station (, stopping for lunch along the way at “Cocina El Sabor”.

Kate posing with the World Croc day sign at the Belize Zoo!

The pumas we saw at the Belize Zoo!

The group at our lunch stop “Cocina El Sabor” on the way to La Milpa.

When we arrived at La Milpa, the excitement of the group was palpable. La Milpa is nestled deep in the rainforests of northwestern Belize, and it was truly beautiful to be amidst so much undisturbed wildlife (the group was able to see white tailed deer, oscillated turkey, and many species of hummingbird upon arrival). Melvis then took us to the Mayan archaeological site at La Milpa that is the third largest in Belize (it was just ten minutes down the road from where we were staying!). Despite the rain, we all thoroughly enjoyed walking around the un-excavated site and learning about the Mayan civilization.

The sign at the entrance of La Milpa ecolodge.

Exploring La Milpa Archaeological Site upon arrival!

Our guide Melvis talking to us at La Milpa Archaeological Site.

When we returned to the ecolodge, we settled in, ate a delicious dinner, and then got ready for our night walk, which was one of the groups favorite activities from this weeked! Melvis lead us around the grounds of La Milpa, and with our headlamps creating a path, we were able to spot cricket frogs, a tailless whip scorpion, two red-eyed tree frogs, various species of toads, a small snake and too many insects to count. We all went to right to bed after the walk knowing that Sunday would be another full day of exploring.

Emiline and a red-eyed tree frog on the night walk!

One of the many cricket frogs we saw! They were small but made a loud chirping sound that made them easy to find.

The small snake that Melvis found on a tree that we all got to hold!

Just as the sun began to rise, some of the group sleepily made their way to the lodge, where we drank coffee and tea before departing on a bird walk. With Melvis leading the group again, we were able to spot many bird species native to Belize, but perhaps the most intriguing find were the Peanut-Head bugs in camouflage just up the road from the lodge.

The oscillated turkey that was at La Milpa ecolodge.

After a hearty breakfast, the group loaded back into the van to drive to the Lamanai archaeological site. This city, The City of Submerged Crocodile in Yucatec Mayan, is the second largest Mayan ruin in Belize, and was extremely successful due to its proximity to a large freshwater lagoon that was used as a water source. This site was completely excavated, so we were able to climb to the top of the High temple and the Jaguar Temple. It was fascinating to learn more about the ancient Mayan way of life.

The group at the entrance of the Lamanai Archaeological Site.

Emiline and a view of the Jaguar temple.

At the top of one of the smallest temples at Lamanai, the Mask Temple.

The view from the largest temple at Lamanai, High temple.

The group was pretty tired after the Lamanai excursion but we got ample time to sleep during the three hour van ride back to the ferry terminal. On the ferry ride back to San Pedro we got a nice goodbye from two dolphins that were following the waves created by the boat!

This week we will be busy conducting research and preparing our costumes for Lobster Fest, so tune in next week to see how it goes!

3 thoughts on “Into the Jungle!

  1. The trip to La Milpa sounds wonderful–especially the night and bird walks! Good luck with the research this week.

  2. The night walk and the temples sound fabulous. I’m sure you will never forget them.. So glad you all got to visit some of the Mayan ruins and learn about this historic and fascinating culture and civilization.

  3. Hooray for night walks! I was able to do one in Madagascar and I will never forget it with all of the lemurs 🙂 So lovely to hear about your adventures! We also did a Lamanai trip back in 2005 and 06 🙂 – Whitney

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