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July 24, 2014

group in waterfallJuly 23, 2014


Welcome to Belize! This morning began at 5:45 (many of us arrived bleary eyed) with an absolutely beautiful stroll through the grounds of DuPlooy’s Lodge The botanical gardens have many different kinds of plants including ; bananas, f Velvet apples, Mamay apple, philodendron, palm trees, epiphytes and the Belizean national orchid. Many birds were seen this morning including; Jacana, turkey vulture, hummingbird, social fly-catchers.


Breakfast was a Belizean fare of scrambled eggs, beans, spice bread, and fresh fruit, including some picked from the morning walk. The orange juice was divine and the coffee (which was much needed) was an elixir necessary to fuel us for the remainder of the day.


Time to board the bus! – Oh my, do you remember the ‘70’s when they tried to set a Guinness record for stuffing as many as people as possible into a VW bus??? Well that would be us – with Bruce as our driver and Nathan as co-pilot we were on our way for the 2+ hour drive to Domingo Ruiz cave. There was a HUGE tree in the road. But with the help of Nathan, Ron, and the others on the bus, they were able to successfully move the felled tree and we were on our way to the remote mountain top access to the cave. During the walk to the cave we found several animal tracks, including; a young tapir, jaguarondi and, oscillated turkey track. We experienced silence and total darkness in the back of the cave followed by a very well sung versions of “Row-Row-Row Your Boat” and “Good Morning This Lady” (a Belizean Christmas song led by Ron and Bernadette. )


Lunch at the Rio Frio cave was spectacular. We entered the beautiful cave and hiked through the naturally formed tunnel. After lunch all of us either climbed, got pushed or pulled, and crawled along the rocks to get to the upstream entrance to the cave – it was wonderful. Many of us were able to glimpse Grandpa’s Balls (a native bush with bright red fruit) as we meandered back to the bus. After leaving Rio Frio, we traveled a short distance down the mountain to Rio On Pools where we “butt-slid down” and “showered” under the falls! Can you imagine how good a cool natural shower felt after hiking all day?

fungus gnat threads

Threads hangnng down from the fungus gnat larva in the cave.

Green Kingfisher

A Green Kingfisher near the Rio Frio Cave

Fork tailed Flycatcher

Several Fork Tailed Flycatchers were spotted along the road to duPlooys.



In summary – we saw many birds today including;a bat falcon, Green Kingfisher,parrots, swifts, swallows, vermillion fly-catchers, and a fork tail fly-catcher. We discovered Marie Sharp hot sauce, Belikin Beer and plantain chips at a local market.


all the gang!And addendum: We were surprised at dinner by a visit from Elsa Ochoa and Fernanada Pulido, two Belizean teachers who traveled with the group about 9 years ago! Nearly every year since they have returned with their daughters and nieces to have dinner with us and share Belizean culture. This year they arranged for a High School Marimba Academy to come and play music for us. What a treat!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    July 24, 2014 7:05 am

    Awwww Sounds like a blast. Wish we were there!!!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 24, 2014 12:51 pm

      We were dancing last night while our guests played the Marimba. All I could think of was how much fun you and dad would have dancing here too! From Megan

  2. Tracy Johnson permalink
    July 24, 2014 8:33 am

    This sounds like the Trip Of A Lifetime!! I wish I were an educator, so I could have come along! Please give my greetings to Susy Holloway! Thank you for sharing-I love reading your blog! Tracy

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 24, 2014 12:49 pm

      The trip has far exceeded my expectations! So far today before 8 am we saw an agouti and a blue crowned mot mot and spectacled racer. Wish you could be here – maybe you should take up teaching!

  3. Penelope Tillett permalink
    July 24, 2014 12:47 pm

    Welcome to Belize you guys. I see my sister Bernadette Ellis is there with you guys. Please be safe everyone and enjoy.

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 24, 2014 1:00 pm

      Thank you sis! Be assured that we are in safe hands with Mr. Nathan! “We gud!” I got really close to a snake this morning! A spectacled racer! You would not “Belize” it! from Bernadette
      PS I am teaching these guys Creole!

  4. Scott Zimmerman permalink
    July 24, 2014 1:29 pm

    Anyone see any bats in the caves? I understand there are plenty of species in Belize…

  5. Penelope Tillett permalink
    July 24, 2014 2:58 pm

    Please be careful regarding those snakes Bernadette Ellis. Pa Harold nuh de ya fi tek care a you. Pens

    • Bernadette Ellis permalink
      July 28, 2014 9:16 am

      Hey sis I know gal no worry I go close but still far enuff fu no get ina trouble 🙂

  6. Ben Coggins permalink
    July 24, 2014 3:42 pm

    Looks like you all are having a blast. Have fun and make sure Stephanie Coggins gets to see a few spiders, she loves them !!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 24, 2014 9:08 pm

      Coggins is getting much more comfortable with many of the creatures we have seen. We will see if she can share some of her favorites in the morning!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 25, 2014 7:16 am

      Stephanie says she is “spinning her own web to sleep in tonight”

  7. Karen permalink
    July 24, 2014 5:22 pm

    Wow, what a wonderful time you are all having. Love reading all about it. Have fun and be safe. Hi Em!

  8. July 24, 2014 8:13 pm

    In the picture at the waterfall, what does Liz Baird have on her head? It looks like a camera….or a light….in the waterfall? If it is a camera, I can imagine interesting pictures. Pictures….more pictures please! I am sharing this blog with many friends….they are all fascinated and vicariously enjoying the trip.

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 24, 2014 9:06 pm

      It is a camera – a GoPro in a waterproof case! We are hoping to have some excellent video to share after our adventures!
      We’d love to have many more photos, but as you can imagine the internet is a bit unpredictable. It took nearly 20 minutes to get one photo on this blog!

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