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The three R's: Rainforest, Reef and Ruins

Past trips have included some of the following: Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Jaguar Sanctuary in the Cockscomb Basin, Rio Bravo Reserve, Belize Agro-forestry Research Center in Toledo, Blue Creek, Manatee refuge, the Belize Zoo, Community Baboon Sanctuary (black howler monkey reserve). There are an abundance of wildlife sanctuaries to choose from. Hikes to waterfalls, to the peak, deep into the forest can yield sightings of agouti, monkeys, coati, tapir tracks, white hawk eagles, toucans, manikins, and maybe even jaguar tracks. Crocodiles and iguana, even jabiru storks (the biggest in the world) live in Belize.

We can arrange a visit to a Maya village with overnight stays to give ourselves time to learn something about their culture. You could try your hand at making tortillas! Their beautiful slate carvings depict animals from their forest or copy ancient Maya temple carvings. A visit with Aurora, a shaman, is a must. Her understanding of plants is remarkable. We might get to see Maya dancing and marimba playing. We will visit a school to donate the school supplies that we have brought along to share.

Belize's coral reef is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. It is the best in this hemisphere and not to be missed. Arrangements can be made to our own private cay (island) where we can snorkel with marine naturalists to see a whole new biodiversity underwater. You could swim with lemon sharks (not dangerous), parrot fish, sergeant majors, angel fish, eels, giant sponges, etc. Even if you have never snorkeled before, you can have a lesson to get the hang of it. It's easy.

We will visit either the ancient Maya ruins at Tikal, across the border in Guatemala, or Caracol in Belize still under excavation. Now that archaeologists have deciphered more of the glyph writing, we know much more about these ancient people, their religion, their ability to feed cities or 20,000 to 50,000 people or more, their courts, architecture, their burial practices, their trade routes, their astronomical and mathematical expertise. Their pyramids and civilization were as advanced as that of the Egyptians. You will be astonished!