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Green Hills Butterfly Ranch – Belize Diary, January 28

A nostalgic trip back in time to Jan and Tineke’s old place.

Green Hills Butterfly Ranch founders, Jan and Tineke, were our closest friends when we lived across the road at Mountain Equestrian Trails. When we weren’t busy with guests, we dined together and went for nature walks by the creek-bottom pasture land where blue morpho butterflies roamed free. They taught us about wildlife and introduced us to breadfruit and other local delicacies.

Jan and Tineke were great fun, extremely knowledgeable, and supportive as we navigated our new landscape. It was they we called when a scorpion stung our daughter, or some other critter showed up unbidden.

Blue Morpho Sign

Jan and Tineke have since moved on, but we were keen to revisit Green Hills and spend some time with the butterflies.

The house
Poinciana bloom

We couldn’t help notice the house looked the same and the landscaping was as pretty as ever.

Our guide Odaly

Odaly met us in the parking lot and ushered us into the butterfly house where insects sipped on Gatorade-soaked dish sponges.

The butterfly house
Giant Owl Butterflies (Caligo memnon)
Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa)
Variable Cracker (Hamadryas feronia) on Bob’s pineapple shorts

One butterfly was drawn to Bob’s shorts.

Mexican Bluewing on Camille’s salty arm

Another found Camille’s bicep interesting.

Golden Longwing (Heliconius hecale)
Voracious caterpillars

Next stop, the caterpillar house, where butterfly eggs are brought to hatch and feed and pupate.

Pupae racks
Earrings or pupae?

One of their jobs, Odaly told us, was to harvest the chrysalises and hang them from microfiber-covered shelves. She showed us how easy it was to detach and reattach each little gem.

A pair of White-necked Jacobins (Florisuga mellivora)

When we were finished gawking at the butterfly circle of life, we sat and watched the hummingbirds.

A gaggle of White-necked Jacobins
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl)
An immature Jacobin?

These tiny little guys were immensely fun to photograph, so we lingered, but eventually, we gave up our seats to a new wave of visitors.

Our old driveway

As we were leaving, we took a long look at the MET Driveway, one we had driven, walked, and ridden down so many, many times. It still looked the same, wildly inviting and promising adventure.

Mountain Equestrian Trails

What a year that was, fourteen months of trial, error, and triumph that tested our mettle and turned us into a power couple—committed to each other, resilient, and not afraid of anything.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

2 replies on “Green Hills Butterfly Ranch – Belize Diary, January 28”

It must be very satisfying to look back and know that, what could have broken others, melded both of you, forming a very tight bond. Congratulations!

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