Welcome to the jungle!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize
We departed from Belize City at 9am, when our driver from Black Rock Lodge picked us up.The lodge is about 2 1/2 hours from the city, plus some stops along the way. Our first stop was the Baboon Sanctuary, which doesn't actually have baboons, they are Howler monkeys. And it's not really a sanctuary, more like just a troop of wild monkeys hanging out in a town. But it's still a nice way to see them up close. 
For a small fee a guide takes you on a short hike into the jungle, explaining about the flora and fauna along the way. We stopped and watched several troops of leaf cutter ants going back and forth across the path as we went. After about 15 minutes we caught up with a small family of Howler monkeys and watched them eat and play. We got quite close and were able to get some really nice pictures.
The next stop was Belize Zoo, a small but very nice little zoo situated in the natural setting of the rain forest. We were able to see some of the native birds and animals and even got to pet a Tapir, Belize's national animal.
Most of our journey was on a paved, well traveled road. However, the last 9 miles are on an unpaved, narrow, very bumpy road that seems to go on forever. We did finally make it to the lodge and, after welcome drinks, were shown to cabin 19 at the end of the path. 
The lodge is a unique eco-lodge, 100% off grid, nestled in the dense rain forest above the Macal River in the Mayan Mountains of Belize, 2.5 hours west of Belize City, and south of San Ignacio. There is a small rapids right in front of the lodge and if you can make it over and stay in your tube, there's a free drink waiting for you at the bar. Besides tubing, you can go canoeing and hiking on the lodge property to get a real feel for the jungle. We lucked out and have a small beach area with rope swing right out in front of our cabin.