Day 223. Monday, 9th March. From Juntos Cottages, Teakettle to Rock Farm, near Belmopan, Belize.

Such a treat to wake up in a big, comfy bed with crisp, clean white sheets. Especially when feeling one degree under. I thought I had escaped the cold which everyone else in the family had succumbed to. No such luck, it has caught up with me, but isn’t too bad.

Juntos Cottages is a strange resort. It is part of a bigger property, Dream Valley. The Dream Valley side is more upmarket – full of American tourists, and guests at Juntos Cottages use its restaurant, bar, lounge, reception facilities.

As we emerged from our room to walk down to the restaurant for breakfast, there was an agouti munching away on the grassy area beside our cottage. Sadly all attempts to photograph it failed. There were some very pretty tiny birds. Not humming birds, but almost as small. We had heard howler monkeys too.

Sipping a mug of hot coffee, seated on the terrace overlooking a slowly moving river and the jungle, was a very pleasing experience. Check-out was early, at 10am, so we didn’t have a lot of time for indulging ourselves.

Returning to our cottage to pack up, Dennis went to the car park to get Poki. As he didn’t return, I went to look for him and found the Caranex and ground sheet spread out in the car park and Dennis trying to dry everything. Fortunately, there was no one around, as we had rather lowered the tone of the place.

It is a public holiday in Belize today. Our vehicle insurance needs to be renewed. We have been advised the office in Belmopan will be closed. When I look online, it tells me it is open. As we are heading in that direction, we go and have a look. It is firmly shut. However, we now know where the office is so we can get it tomorrow.

We have decided to head for a campground close by at Rock Farm. It is a bird sanctuary and as well as offering camping, has some rooms and cabanas. It is only about 10kms so we find it very quickly.

On arrival we meet Sergey. A Russian. At first I think he is the owner, but he is a fellow camper. A great character. He and his wife, Tanya, have lived in Toronto for many years. They are great travellers and have spent years travelling around Central and South America. They are a wealth of knowledge for us. Tanya tells us there are more than 300,000 Russian speakers living in the Toronto area. Amazing. They are relatively recent arrivals, over the last 40 years.

We look for Jerry, the owner. He greets us with a very proper British accent. It turns out, though that he is Fijian! He was educated in the U.K. and spent a lot of time there. He says we can camp anywhere on the grassy area and tells us there is a river for swimming.

There are cages of rescued birds in the entrance to the reception area. The saddest sight ever is the first toucan I have seen. It is smaller than I imagined, but beautifully coloured. Jerry says it’s back is broken. It was hit by a vehicle and has been brought into the sanctuary. Jerry doubts it will survive.

We set up not far from Sergey and Tanya. It is a showery day. Every so often the heavens open. After lunch and during a fine spell, I go to investigate. I set off to find the river. There are birds everywhere. All sorts of parrots, but they are quite difficult to spot. You can hear them chattering everywhere though. The river is a lot further than I imagine and I am worried the rain may return. I keep going though.

Four squirrels were chasing each other through the trees above me, then 4 monkeys.
I eventually find the river and a very odd feature. A water wheel in the middle of nowhere, creaking and turning away.

After the river, I head to the cages where the rescued birds are being housed. There are many green parrots, 3 large colourful macaws, a gannet, 2 pelicans and a gull of some description. The toucan is still alive.

Back at camp Sergey and Tanya asked us for coffee. Sergey produced a big jar of chocolates too. As we were chatting, 3 guinea fowl were pecking away in the grass.


I wondered if they are native. None of us knew, but Sergey says they are kept to warn of snakes. Apparently they make noise – I’m not sure if they cluck like hens, or gobble like small turkeys, but they warn of snakes in the grass.

As it is starting to get dark, we go to our respective camps to prepare dinner. We listen to music and settle down for another early night. It is hot and sticky though and it takes me a long time to get to sleep.

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