(This is part 1 of a 6-part description of a trip I took to Belize with friends just after Thanksgiving 2008. I put my pictures a flickr.)
Two friends of mine (L and KL) and I flew to Houston on Thanksgiving where we were met by two other friends (K and H). We spent the night there and then got up the next morning and took a Continental jet to the Belize City International Airport. After going through immigration and customs, we stepped outside and were met by David, one of the managers at Pook's Hill Lodge. Pook's is a great place in the jungle of the Cayo District, far away from any population centers.
David packed us and our stuff into a van, and we headed westward on the Western Highway. After about an hour, we stopped at a restaurant called Amigos and had a delicious lunch of stewed chicken, rice and beans, and Belikin beer. Due to import restrictions, Belikin is about the only beer you can get in Belize--fortunately it's very good.
After lunch we went to the Belize Zoo, which features howler monkeys, spider monkeys, owls, tapirs (which were quite a bit bigger than I expected), otters, coatis, a puma (also larger than I expected), a pair of HUGE crocodiles, a couple of jaguars, and some really foul-smelling wild pigs called peccaries. I didn't get many good pictures, but I got a short movie of one of the jaguars (he came right up to the fence).
Another hour on the Western Highway brought us to Teakettle Village. We took a monstrously bumpy dirt road for about a half an hour, and then we arrived at Pook's Hill Lodge, where we spent the next three days.