Life on the Monkey River

Mar 06, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


After a flight to Guatemala City, we boarded our charter planes to Puerto Barrios and then took an animated tour led by local Guatemalan guides to the dock of Santo Tomas, where we boarded National Geographic Quest. We set sail after a delicious welcome cocktail and dinner towards Belizean territorial waters, checking in at daybreak. The morning was spent on introductions, briefings, and staff talks aimed at preparing us for the adventures to come. We began our explorations of the beautiful little Central American country of Belize later that day by joining local fishing boats and guides to cruise up the scenic and wildlife-rich Monkey River.

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About the Author

Emma Ridley

Expedition Leader

Born of a Scottish father and English mother, Emma enjoyed an international upbringing because of her father’s job as a foreign correspondent.  Although her family eventually settled in Rome, Emma's schooling was conducted in French, having started her studies in Brussels, Belgium and finishing at the Lycée Français de Rome in 1988.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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