Thursday, January 16, 2014

Trips Instead of Gifts- Belize, Stop 3

Our time in Cozumel is here and Roatan is here.  

The country of Belize was our 3rd and final port before heading home.  Mom and Dad have also spent lots of time here diving, and again, I had been looking forward to joining them.  Isaac went on a two dive trip with them though, and I'm glad they did.  Belize has been having very strong rains that have caused run off to make the Caribbean a bit murky, but they still had two gorgeous dives.  David and Laura had a beautiful beach day, so everyone came back happy!

I went with Nanny and Dede to a howler monkey preserve and the Belize City Zoo.  The preserve is pretty cool.  It's nearly an hour in-land in a village.  In the 80s, some researchers discovered that while the howler monkeys and humans were living fairly peacefully together, the monkeys were dying off because of the slash and burn farming methods of the village.  A team came up with a plan to help the farmers in a 20 mile radius come up with different farming methods, and they use the proceeds from the preserve tours for education centers and programs in the village for the residents.  It's worked out so well.  Our guide from the preserve had us literally walking through people's yards to get to the troops of howler monkeys.  One mama had her baby in mid-November, and she had no problem showing off her tiny girl to the curious visitors.  We made sure not to feed or touch them, but they came right to us.  Precious.

The Belize City Zoo is perfect.  They've taken great care to make very natural habitats for each of their animals.  They also only have animals native to Belize.  We had a great time watching the animals play.  I think my favorites were the jaguars. 

We had three more evenings and two full days of fun and food on the ship.  On the last night, we celebrated my birthday and Isaac's birthday a bit early.  It was a great week of family, and an awesome way to spend 3 family birthdays!

With our two waiters Mateo and Brenda.  They took awesome care of my parents and grandparents in October and us this trip.  Truly amazing people!

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