Belize Trip

Feb/Mar 2002

Part 2 - Hidden Valley, Caracol and Lamanai

Hidden Valley Lodge on the Mountain Pine Ridge was originally built as a private residence.
Chilly mornings were no match for the cozy fire in our casita.
An Orange-breasted Forest Falcon surveyed the valley from a perch above 1,000 Foot Falls.
There was an overhanging overlook at the top of the falls for the very brave. We did brave it and all saw the falcon!
While the Keel-billed Motmot waited for us at Caracol, we waited out a drizzle on the Caracol Road.
In 1938, loggers discovered the ancient Maya ruins of Caracol close to the Guatemalan border.
Excavation of a mound begins at the base where the humus is carefully removed from the stones.
A recently uncovered sculptured panel is being shored up by workers.
The 139-foot pyramid Caana is the tallest building in Belize. A worker carries a bag of concrete up countless steps to work at the top.
Megan holds a brocket deer skull. Over 200 burial sites have been excavated here. We also managed to add quite a number of birds to our list this day.
A boat ride up New River Lagoon brought us to the dock at Lamanai Outpost Lodge.
Hillside casitas are all but hidden in the lush tropical gardens on grounds that overlook New River Lagoon.
Despite an occasional shower, Indian Church Road was a great place to bird.
It's a very long road when you move at 2-1/2 mph like this Mayan logging truck.
Between the Black-faced Antthrush and the White-necked Puffbird, we take time to pause, swat mosquitos, apply more Cutter's, rehydrate, and listen to jungle sounds.
A Yucatan Black Howler monkey snacks on cecropia leaves. The screaming vocalizations of Howlers may be the scariest sounds in nature!
The partially excavated Temple of the Jaguar Masks has two jaguar masks at its base.
During ancient ceremonies, incense burners were placed in openings of this remarkably intact mask.
A mask at the Mask Temple shows Olmec influence in its slack-jaw expression.
Ceremonies held at High Temple were for the rain god Cha who is depicted in the many masks uncovered here.
This beautifully carved stela shows a ruler whose face was chiseled off. Presumably he was blamed for a drought the Maya suffered around 980 AD.
A small museum on the grounds displays many artifacts collected from the ruins covering the period 800 BC to 1640 AD. These carved polychrome pieces are from the Classic Period 200 AD - 850 AD.
A mother Howler monkey hides her baby on her back while we pass beneath her branch.
A morning paddle revealed an Agami Heron in a quiet backwater to some.
We saw this flower of the Provision Tree, which blooms only once and for only one night, on our final evening's "spot light safari" boat trip when we also saw a fascinating array of birds and animals.
New River Lagoon is famous for its Morelet's Crocodiles and the Mayan ruins at Lamanai where there are 732 mounds in an area of two square miles. Lamanai is Mayan for "submerged crocodile".
A beautiful Belizean sunset.
Back in the U.S., they promised our bags would be here…someplace!
Part 1 - Chan Chich and Crooked tree