Check Out Accommodations at TBZ

Many of our readers might be surprised to learn that The Belize Zoo has excellent accommodations just adjacent to TBZ, and it offers an great base from which to explore the entire country of Belize. For those planning to visit The Belize Zoo, this post contains a description of our experience, including the delicious food, on our recent group trip.

We stayed at the Tropical Education Center of The Belize Zoo. This was a great home base for our many excursions, and the rainforest grounds themselves were full of beautiful trees, vegetation, and flowers -- perfect for hiking around and bird watching. The TEC has a pond that is full of crocodiles, turtles, and has a host of birds hanging out. We were able to feed the turtles and crocodiles one evening and got to see quite a few up close. One evening, staffer John caught a baby crocodile and let Matt hold it. I am hoping to get a photo of that to add!

Tom and Matt and I were housed in one of the three VIP cabins.
Our cabin was up on stilts so that it sat up in the canopy of trees. It had a wonderful screened-in porch on two sides, and inside it had two double beds, a small counter area, and a small bathroom with a hot shower stall! The cabin had electricity, and it was wonderful to have a small refrigerator and lights to turn on at night. The cabin had a large jug of drinking water in it, and it was very clean and comfortable. At night and in the morning, with eyes closed, we could hear the sounds of the rainforest . . . birds, critters, tree frogs and crickets. It was a symphony of nature. The air is earthy and moist and fragrant. The whole atmosphere is rejuvenating.

The students stayed in dormitories, two beds to a room, and there were bathroom facilities a short walk from the dorms. There are also some great cabanas available a short distance away.

The dining hall was a short walk from the dorms, and we had buffet style meals cooked up by the talented Miss Muriel. Our meals were traditional Belize dishes. For breakfast, fresh fruit (pineapple, watermelon, and papaya) was plentiful, along side scrambled eggs, refried beans, tortilla or Johnny Cake biscuits or Fried Jacks (fried tortilla dough with sugar or syrup).

Lunches were mostly packed to take on trips, and they included the most delicious burritos or sandwiches and cakes. The beverages were usually lime-aid or sometimes soda in a glass bottle. The Coke tastes so much better there because they make it with cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. The difference is noticeable! Some of our group bought Belikin beer by the bottle for a cocktail.

Dinner entrees included stewed chicken barbecued chicken, curried pork stew, fried tilapia and spaghetti. Sides were steamed vegetables, rice and beans, potato salad, and coleslaw or cooked cabbage. The fresh salsas were incredibly flavorful, and the habanero hot sauce was in jars on the table. Desserts were simple and delicious. They included bread pudding and some cinnamon and plain cakes without frosting. The food was absolutely delicious, and because we were active all day, and didn't snack between meals, we ate quite a bit, and felt incredibly healthy with such a good diet. I managed to clean my plate at every meal, something I don't often do when I am home.

We traveled with our guide Peter on a large white bus, driven expertly on the bumpy and dusty roads up and down the mountains by Stanley, assisted by Daniel. The three Belizeans made our trip special, because they bonded with our group after just a day or so, and they "hung out" with us on the various excursions or after mealtime. Peter and Stanley (as well as Tom) sang some songs and played the guitar. It was relaxed and fun. I can't imagine that anyone missed television or computers. We had a simple, good, full time.

The last two days of the trip were on Ambergris Caye on the Caribbean. We stayed a short walk to the beach at Steve & Becky's Cute Little Motel, and though we missed the traditional cooking of the TEC, we enjoyed some nice meals out in San Pedro. The motel was quaint and clean, and for the first time that week, I actually used a hairdryer. We had such perfect weather all week long, I don't think I would change one thing about the itinerary. Our digs were delightful.

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