SAVE THE FROGS! Eco-tour to Belize was a huge success!

red-eye-eco-tour
WOW! What a trip! The SAVE THE FROGS! Eco-tour to Belize was a blast! From June 19th to the 28th, ten frog-saving supporters trekked through rainforests, hiked through pine savannah, relaxed on white, sandy beaches, and found lots and lots of beautiful frogs! See the adventure for yourself and check out these amazing photos from the 2014 SAVE THE FROGS! Eco-tour to Belize.

Belize Travel

On the 19th of June, the SAVE THE FROGS! Eco-tour landed in beautiful Belize. After such a long day of traveling, we arrived at our first destination: The Tropical Education Center (TEC)!

Belize Travel

After settling in, we set out to find some frogs. It was the beginning of the wet season in Belize and the frogs were out! The first frog we found was a Sabinal Frog, Leptodactylus melanonotus! Isn’t it gorgeous?

Belize Travel

Here’s SAVE THE FROGS! Education Coordinator Kathlyn Franco with a beautiful Veined Tree Frog, Trachycephalus venulosus.

Save The Frogs, Belize

What an awesome frog!

Belize Travel

Besides frogs, we found some toads too! Who couldn’t love the charming face of a Gulf Coast Toad, Incilius valliceps?

Gulf Coast Toad

Snakes alive! We found an adorable little Black Stripe Snake, Coniophanes imperialis.

Black Stripe Snake, Belize

While staying at the TEC, we took a day to experience the incredible archaeological site Xunantunich! Located just outside of San Ignacio, this city is thousands of years old. We were also quite privileged to receive a guided tour of the local plants and their uses as we explored the ancient Mayan city.

Xuantunich

The SAVE THE FROGS! Eco-tour group members say “HI!” from the historic Xunantunich Mayan archaeological site.

Xuantunich

The SAVE THE FROGS! Belize Eco-tour left the Tropical Education Center and traveled far south to the small, Mayan town of Blue Creek. Situated in pristine, old-growth rainforest, Blue Creek is a haven for wildlife and the diversity of flora and fauna is amazing!

Belize Travel

At Blue Creek there are so many activities to experience. We were guided through the forest by an extremely knowledgeable Mayan ethnobotanist and we learned how the forest provides so many uses for the Mayan people. We also trekked up mountains, hiked through the rainforest, forged rivers, and explored intricate cave systems.

Belize Travel

It is a truly beautiful area to visit and explore.

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

We spent many hours of the day hiking through the myriad of trails that pass through the rainforest.

Belize Travel

The water level in the creek, which was acting more like a raging river, was quite high! It was quite the experience to cross together as a group!

Belize Travel

If we were not hiking trails or fording streams, then we were climbing! While being somewhat difficult, all members of the group were able to climb up root-covered rock walls to make it to the entrance of the Blue Creek Cave.

Belize Travel

Blue Creek Cave is an incredible sight. The mouth of the cave is absolutely breathtaking!

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

One day we explored the inside of Blue Creek Cave!

Belize Travel

Getting there was quite an experience, but it was well worth the hike!

Belize Travel

We discovered many interesting creatures that called the cave home, included this Tailless whip scorpions (often called whip spiders), but they are scientifically referred to as amblypigids. They might look a bit scary, but they are totally harmless.

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

One morning we took a few hours to walk with a local guide and ethnobotanist.

Belize Travel

The guide led us all around the forest and taught us how they used plants in the forest for their food, making their homes, or even for their medicine.

Belize Travel

Would you drink from this vine? Well the water vine is a survival item for the Maya as the water contained in the vine is completely safe to drink.

Belize Travel

After a day of hiking through the forest, it was great to cool off in Blue Creek! Rain or not, it was still a refreshing experience.

Belize Travel

The dock at Blue Creek is a great place to relax, bird watch, and enjoy a nice, cold beer.

Belize Travel

From Black Hawks soaring above our heads to coming face to face with the elusive water possum, the wildlife sightings were phenomenal! The best part though? The frogs! This Mexican Treefrog, Smilisca baudinii, was contently lounging about by a light looking for insects to eat.

Belize Travel

The diversity of amphibian life is quite high in Blue Creek because of the substantial rain that falls each wet season. During our stay it was the beginning of the wet season in Belize and the frogs were out! Each night we went out looking for frogs we were never disappointed.

Belize Travel

Yellow Treefrog, Dendropsophus microcephalus

Belize Travel

Yellow Treefrog, Dendropsophus microcephalus

Belize Travel

On our last night at Blue Creek we found so many Marine Toads!

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

That’s a lot of toads! Yikes!

Belize Travel

After a few photos, we set them on their way. These toads are essential for controlling pest species in Belize, like cockroaches, mice, snakes, and even scorpions! For the most part, scorpions are harmless to humans, but if one stings you… it’s going to hurt!

Belize Travel

The trip continued to get better as we headed north toward the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (TREES)! Home of the endemic Maya Mountain Frog, TREES is located on 200 acres of prime amphibian habitat and it borders the Sibun Forest Reserve.

Belize Travel

The facilities are quite nice and the view from your cabana is even better.

Belize Travel

TREES not only offers amazing opportunities to the see the forest, but the amenities are also excellent for birding or chilling out in the hammocks.

Belize Travel

The swimming is great too!

Belize Travel

There is so much to see and do at TREES, but we were there for frogs… and frogs we found!

Belize Travel

At night we set off into the forest and hoped to find some fabulous amphibians.

Belize Travel

It was not long before were found the endemic and threatened Mayan Mountain Frog, Rana (Lithobates) juliani. This species is unfortunately becoming quite rare in Belize, so it is a treat to be able to see a healthy population at TREES! 

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

This is a juvenile Mayan Mountain Frog, Rana (Lithobates) juliani

Belize Travel

We found a Vaillant Frog, the largest species of frog in Belize. Look at that beautiful green head!

Belize Travel

We also found some amazing species that live on the forest floor! This is the endangered Rain Frog, Craugastor sandersoni. This species is heavily impacted by habitat destruction and pesticides.

Belize Travel

Belize Travel

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We also found the threatened Blue-spotted Treefrog, Smilisca cyanosticta. Can you guess why it is called the Blue-spotted Treefrog?

Belize Travel

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We also found some very cool reptiles, like this cryptic Helmeted Iguana, Corytophanes cristatus.

Belize Travel

This species is very hard to find, so it was a joy to see them up close and personal.

Belize Travel

After a froggy week in the jungle it was time to dry out and head to the island! Our group spent the remainder of the trip at South Water Caye, which is a 14 acre island that is just a 45 minute boat ride east of Dangriga.

Belize Travel

This was a great place to relax, snorkel, and bird watch! We were taken to some excellent snorkel sights, but along the way we had to check out the Frigate bird and Brown Booby colony!

Belize Travel

Sadly there were no frogs on the island, we did find this pretty amazing endemic species of gecko!

Belize Travel

After a relaxing few days, the group packed up and went home. What a trip!

Belize Travel

Want to experience this adventure first hand? Then send an email of interest to SAVE THE FROGS! Ecologist Michael Starkey at Starkey@savethefrogs.com. We’d love to have you join us in Belize next year!

Belize Travel

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