Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey River

Feb 26, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


National Geographic Quest spent the night anchored immediately in front of the town of Placencia. The day’s itinerary included a visit to the Jaguar Sanctuary situated directly beneath the Cockscomb Mountains. This sanctuary was stablished in 1984 and is today known as the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Right after sunrise, we disembarked in Placencia and loaded the buses. Our local guides shared the history of the area as well as the conservation projects currently underway at the sanctuary. Upon arriving, our guests had the opportunity to explore the area in all directions. Some went birding while others hiked their way to waterfalls. The extent of biodiversity here—absolutely colossal—revealed itself over and over again that morning.

At our returning to National Geographic Quest, we recharged over brief rest and a lunch that had been prepared by our galley. Thereafter, local speed boats awaited us for a tour through the Monkey River.

It became readily apparent how difficult it might be for one to find space in this territory that isn’t riddled with wildlife in one way or another. Our group spotted, with the help of our keen-eyed naturalists, crocodiles, green iguanas, black howler monkeys, and a diverse mix of birds adorning the Belizean sky.

We concluded our day on board with the visit of the local band Garifuna Collective, who did a wonderful job of putting everyone to dance. It was yet another remarkable day of our expedition in Belize.

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About the Author

Cristian Moreno

Undersea Specialist

Cristian is a Panamanian born in Chile.  He grew up in Panama City until the age of 19 when he returned to Chile to go to college where he received a degree in metallurgic civil engineering. Since 1995 he has been working as a freelance naturalist in Panama.  Specializing in bird watching and ecology, he also has a passion for indigenous cultures, hiking and trekking.  He is a certified scuba diver and is often found exploring coral reefs along the Caribbean coast of Panama.

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