I didn't even know where Belize was till I'd been there.
It's in Central America just down the road from Mexico before you get to Honduras with Caribbean Sea to the east and dense jungle to the west. Cub did some great diving when he came here, there is a massive Belize Barrier Reef with rich marine life, but we opted for a JamesBondesque speedboat ride through the jungle to the Mayan Temple ruins of Lamanai.
What an absolute TREAT!
The speedboat was thrilling.
We sped 25 miles down the New River into the heart of the jungle till we reached the ruins, and we LOVED it.
We didn't see a single other boat on the water so everywhere was so still and so quiet and the water was like glass, it was stunning.
I've read some reviews of this trip and it appears we were very lucky to have the river to ourselves as some days are much MUCH busier.
We saw a Jesus bird (Jacana) walking on the water,
bats on bark (ZOOOOOM)
a turtle, a huge iguana, a pair of crocodiles fighting, (OMG what are the chances?!!) osprey....
and all the time the reflections on the glassy water were mesmerizing.
Dolly and the Jaguar Temple.
Looks a bit like a jaguar's face doesn't it? A bit.
The ball court.
We were allowed to climb up High Temple but up the wooden steps at the side to preserve the stone and also with a bit of regard for health and safety. (Blimey)
View from the top of High Temple.
Nil health and safety!
But what a fantastic view across the treetops, out to the river.
We heard the Howler monkeys howling before we saw them.
They were swinging in the trees. Awesome.
The faces were originally a face inside a crocodile's mouth.
Mummy Howler monkey with baby Howler monkey on her back.
We made some ripples speedboating back for our traditional Belizian lunch.
I had plenty of fried plaintains.
Today was brilliant.
Who would have thought we'd see a large crocodile eating a smaller crocodile?
And Howler monkeys.
And we sampled a traditional Belizian meal.
What we learnt.
The people of Belize are delightful and completely unoffendable. Calling someone "fat" would be seen as an endearing, affectionate way to say they just liked eating.
We saw houses that were literally sinking.
They all adored Prince Harry who visited recently. He drank all their rum, danced with all their women, shook everyone's hands, he was like a breath of fresh air to them all, one in a million.
We heard the story of Queen Elizabeth 11 eating capybarra, now known as the Royal Rat, because she liked it that much she had seconds.
We saw the University, the schools, the immaculate uniforms, we heard about the smacked bottoms for naughty children and other mild physical punishments that kept the children in line.
We drove on the right because the two adjoining countries, Guatemala and Mexico drive on the right and it was too confusing for people passing through to keep changing sides, haha.
The tour guide was a brilliant storyteller and he painted such a good picture of the locals and their way of life that we might want to return. Fabulous stuff. And we saw crocodiles and Howler monkeys. What a great day.