Itinerary Day One in Belize: The Zoo – Lick, Claw, Snap

A long overdue vacation – February 2013. BELIZE!

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It was decided. I needed a trip out of the country in a place I had never been for adventures I’d been longing for… Belize! Amazing jungles, beaches, landscape and rich cultural history. I was in. Alex was in. Runa was in.

After the plane landed in Ladyville (outskirts of Belize City), I had already hired a private transfer to take us to the zoo before settling at our lodging.

Our shuttle man, William, was great. Originally from Amsterdam, he became a Belizean and has since settled in Belize to call it home. He kindly offered to take us to a great road stop food joint.

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The catch? You could only order what the gal had available. Whatever she has though, I’m sure it’ll be as good as the what-seems-to-be-Belizean-staple of (baked) chicken, rice and beans, coleslaw and a plantain.

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After an awesome $3US* lunch, we headed off to the zoo.

*in Belize, the US dollar is easily used as currency at the rate of $2 Belizean Dollars for $1 American Dollar

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Known as the “best little zoo in the world,” it took us no more than two to (at maximum) three hours to slowly meander our way through. Don’t let the short browsing time allude to a negative, however!

Great animals.

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Like these tapirs… who, we were warned to never stand near should they inch towards you with their be-hind.

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Witty signs.

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Yeah, mon, I believe it. Here they are…

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Our guide, Edgar, was super informative… just by chance, we met him the parking lot. William, our driver, knew him by trade and encouraged us to go with him and his guest. We didn’t argue.

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These toucans were way smaller than I thought they would be… I blame Toucan Sam.

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I sat there for a while…

This jabiru stork totally pecked at our cameras as we tried to take it’s photo.

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Ugh, diva.

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Belize has five different species of wildcats, such as that ocelot above.

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And this margay.

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This awesome panther (or in other words… a black jaguar).

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And did I mention a jaguar that we were able to get up close and personal with?

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For $50 and for up to five people, the Belize Zoo offers a “jaguar encounter.” Alex and I found three extra souls to brave hanging out in a small cage that was in the middle of Junior, the jaguar’s enclosure.

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Junior licked Alex’s face.

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Yes, he loved it.

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A trainer kept close watch to make sure Junior behaved. Junior was actually born and bred in captivity.

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And after we got out of the cage, the trainer fed Junior chicken right on a close-by branch so we could get better photos.

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We also saw this Harry Potter-y owl.

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So, I have this abnormal disdain for birds (they fly about with their feathers all up in your face), but I thought these macaws were gorgeous.

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It was a great way to end the visit.

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