Belize River Jungle Cruise – A River Boat Safari

Belize City, Belize.

As I am writing this post, the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. We were lucky to complete our Southern Caribbean cruise in early February just as the world was awakening to the realization of the severity of the pandemic underway in Wuhan, China. As we boarded the ship, a special questionnaire was distributed along with our normal paperwork. Had we visited China in the previous two weeks? There were one or two more questions on the topic besides the usual questions about illness symptoms, but I don’t recall them. In any case, our cruise on the Carnival Conquest was without issue.

On our first trip to Belize, we chose an excursion that took us to the site of Mayan ruins, and then put us on the Belize River for a jungle wildlife cruise. The opening image features a male green iguana. That’s right, green iguanas are the typical species found in Belize. They can change coloration, males, like the one in this photo, often take on an orange hue. We saw plenty of them on the shore during our cruise down the river to the ocean.

The bus dropped us off at the jungle cruise “port” and while we waited, the captain brought our boat to the dock. The crewman and our tour guide (with the backpack) were getting ready to help us board. We were hoping to see wildlife, and we weren’t disappointed as you will see in the featured images. Where the river met the ocean, the captain gave us a high-speed (and rather bouncy) trip to the tender dock so that we could get back to the ship.

I took up a seat at the front of the boat and the crewman stood on the bow holding onto a rope. He was the wildlife spotter and he was good at it. As I was right up front with him along with my fancy camera, he made sure that I could see and photograph the wildlife he pointed out. He earned an extra large tip for his helpfulness. A baby crocodile was one of the first we could see. The captain maneuvered the boat in vain looking for mama croc, but she was not to be seen. This little guy was maybe a foot or so from snout to tail tip.

We did see full grown crocodiles, a couple of them, along the way, swimming along the surface, that dangerous mouth hidden underneath the water, protruding eyes looking for a meal.

In the trees, there were birds of many types, and we also saw howler monkeys. The monkeys were camera shy and the only decent photo I captured wasn’t able to capture his face. I elected not to share it.

As we headed toward open sea, that sharp-eyed crewman spotted a manatee. The captain took us near the light brown mass that was swimming close to the surface. I happened to capture the lone herbivore as the mammal brought nose to surface to take a breath. Combined with the visit to the Mayan ruins, this excursion is one of the highlights of the cruise. I submit for you, dear reader, a collection of images captured on the jungle cruise. As usual, if your browser supports it, you can click on an image to enlarge it and scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner



  1. We were also in Belize in February. We didn’t go on a river cruise, but saw many iguanas all over the country. Lovely pictures, so lucky to have seen a manatee.

  2. Thank you John, lovely trip! Thank you for sharing, just what I needed on this snowy April day.

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