On day 3 of our expedition in Belize, we visited Bocawina National Park. After some pre-breakfast snacks, we headed out on Zodiacs to the beach at Hopkins Village, where we boarded buses that would take us to Bocawina National Park. Here, we enjoyed nature walks at the foot of Maya Mountain, which also marks this area as a ceremonial site of the Mayan culture. Although the site is unexcavated, it is a place to learn about the wonders of the ancient Maya at an educational center, where we also have lunch. We are introduced to Mayans living here now. We appreciated Mayan dances while eating traditional foods, including some Mayan chocolate ice-cream called yam-yam. Then it was off to Placencia Village, followed by a performance by the Garifuna collective back on board National Geographic Sea Lion.
National Geographic Sea Lion
Monkey River and Ranguana Caye
Shortly after National Geographic Sea Lion dropped her anchor, we awoke to very calm seas with overcast skies and a light southwest wind coming off the land. Our guests prepared for early morning adventures and headed out in Zodiacs and local skiffs to explore the meandering lower reaches of Monkey River, the largest estuary of southern Belize. Great blue herons and great egrets stood knee deep on the sandbars near the shore while yellow-crowned night herons and black vultures hunkered down in the drizzle that accompanied us. Guides and guests gazed up at the treetops, hoping to see green iguanas with the males in their bright orange breeding colors and perhaps a troop of Yucatan black howler monkeys. We walked the trails through the gallery forest a few miles upstream. Our luck was shining brightly, and several monkeys were sighted high above. We returned to the ship to savor the delicious brunch prepared by the amazing hotel department. Ranguana Caye was our base for the snorkeling and island activities this afternoon. Guests had a wonderful experience swimming among the bright and beautiful fish and the other tiny critters that live in the hard and soft corals of the fringing reefs. Parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, and sergeant majors were some of the familiar friends seen. As the trip wound down to the final stages, contact information was exchanged among new friends, experiences were shared, and future trips were discussed. Guests bid farewell to the crew and staff. Glasses were raised, and a guest slide show put smiles on our faces.