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!