Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary & Placencia Lagoon

Feb 26, 2020 - National Geographic Quest

The earliest day of them all was…today! We went cross-country to visit the only jaguar preserve in the world! Established in 1986 and managed by the Belize Audubon Society, it is one of the great Belizean wonders! We departed from National Geographic Quest “befo day” (creole for “before the break of day”) and received a complimentary full body massage on the bus ride to the preserve.

Upon entering the Park, a troop of Guatemalan black howler monkeys gave us the welcome. They were foraging in a Quamwood tree (Schizolobium parahybum), currently in vibrant yellow bloom. A good way to start our visit to the area.

Guests were divided into groups for birding/photography and hiking. The birders went at a more leisurely pace while the rest of us got a good work out along the trail to Ben’s Bluff. The hike lead to a commanding view of the Basin and a quick dip in the pools at the waterfall was a refreshing price for the effort!

We then headed back towards Placencia for lunch and a short stop to buy chocolate and souvenirs was included in the Women Maya Center.

After lunch, we boarded boats that took us back to National Geographic Quest via the Placencia Lagoon viewing different species of birds as well as the West Indian manatee, known also as the seacow!

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About the Author

Jason Jones


Jason holds degrees in environmental science and biology from the Texas A&M University system. He has gained a strong background in biological research and management from several years of leading and conducting a variety of projects at field camps and on vessels. Including work with marine mammals, birds, fish, coral, and other fauna in Alaska, Hawaii, Gulf of Mexico, Africa, Australia, and both polar regions. Jason currently works with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game in Southeast Alaska, collecting biological data in salmon fisheries and crab.

About the Photographer

Jeff Litton

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jeff is an environmental filmmaker and adventure cinematographer. His passion for adventure has led him through rural Kenyan villages, atop erupting Guatemalan volcanoes and to the enchanted Galápagos Islands to film Hammerhead Sharks. Being an expedition filmmaker enables Jeff to combine his love for capturing beauty with his drive to protect the environment. In the words of Jacques Cousteau, “people protect what they love.” Inspired, Jeff created, the United Global Environmental News Agency, an online resource to inspire people to care about the environment.

About the Videographer

Sarah Culler

Video Chronicler

Sarah was raised on a multi-generational family dairy farm, established circa 1815 in Lucas, Ohio. Consequently, her first paying job was milking cows! Rewarding as it was to get paid for the first time, she found her passion behind the lens of a camera. Growing up on the farm gave her not only a strong work ethic but also the love of nature and being outdoors. 

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