We left the TEC at approximately 8 a.m. and took the long bus ride to a Pine Savannah reserve, Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Geographically, it was not as long in distance as one might think for a nearly 3 1/2 hour trip one way, but because the terrain was extremely rough, our bus traveled very slowly and carefully over the mostly dirt roads, over hill and dale, up the mountain.
On the way there we stopped at Moonracer Farm for a chat with Tom and Marge Gallagher and a brief hike around. If you are looking for a place to stay in this area of Belize, Tom and Marge have some great accommodations, and I encourage you to check it out!
I laughed a little when I looked up the web link for Mt. Pine Ridge, because it says it is not accessible by bus, only by car. After our trip, I can understand why they say that. Stanley did an amazing job getting us there on our big, white bus. (And we even got a flat tire, discovered just before we left to go back, and thank goodness we had a spare! Stanley and Peter changed that giant bus tire in the heat in 15 minutes flat!)
This reserve is unbelievably beautiful, and it was worth the long and bumpy trip! We enjoyed swimming in the cool and clear pools, and the students (and Matthew) slid down the natural water slides!
"Within its boundaries are the Rio Pools, a popular site for a summer picnic, where the river cascades down into a narrow cavern strewn with granite boulders. It's a great place to spend some time enjoying the deep pools and clambering around the enormous granite rocks."
[Remember to click on photos to enlarge them.]
On the way home, we made a stop at Green Hills Butterfly Farm where noted biologist Jan Meerman refreshed us on the life-cycle of the butterfly and showed us around the butterfly house, full of blue morpho butterflies, prevalent in Belize, among others.