The day after our ATM cave tour, we hired a guide named Harry to take us cave tubing at Jaguar Paw (JP is the name of the fancy, way-out-in-the-jungle hotel near the cave). I didn't rent a dry bag, so I don't have photos of it, but it was way cool, though we were a bit cold. It looked like this and this and this. Like the ATM, there's a short hike through the jungle before you reach the cave mouth. Harry demonstrated to us that you can eat termites (and they taste like mint and carrot).
Afterwards we went up to the Jaguar Paw Resort for lunch (rice, beans, chicken, delicious). There was a howler monkey that was kind of the pet of the hotel. As soon as we stopped the car, he hopped on the grill and started picking bugs off and eating them:
Then he climbed onto the hood and rapturously stretched himself above the still-hot engine.
It was pretty cute. Lunch was fine; we ate with our guide and learned more about him. He got into guiding by his father, who was a cab driver. The guides here have to do a lot of safety training and take a ton of history tests. Harry is now going to school to be an architect.
After lunch, Harry drove us to the Belize Zoo. The zoo only has native Belize animals who can't survive in the wild -- mostly they're ex-pets, or nuisance animals. From their website: "The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center was started [by Sharon Matola] in 1983, as a last ditch effort to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films about tropical forests."
We saw a sleepy puma:
A very cool harpy eagle:
April the tapir, who is a celebrity in Belize; schools celebrate her birthday and everything. This is her butt:
All of the signs at the zoo are hand-painted and charming. They are both informative:
But. The best part of our zoo visit was when we happened to walk past the founder of the zoo showing a new trainer how to work with one of the jaguars (sentenced to the zoo after getting addicted to killing cattle). She saw us watching and asked if anyone wanted to try it. I said, "um, YEAH!" and then this happened. That's a chicken foot she's feeding him at the end there. Here's a photo of the guy still munching on the foot:
It was pretty awesome.
To be continued...