The Belize Zoo

Tapir - Belize ZooMacaw Parrot - Belize ZooMonkey - Belize Zoo

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center was started in 1983, as a last ditch effort to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films about tropical forests. Shortly after the backyard "zoo" began, it was quickly realized that its Belizean Visitors were unfamiliar with the different species of wild life that shared their country. This very aspect fermented the commitment to develop the little zoo into a dynamic wildlife education center.

Today, The Belize Zoo is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 125 animals all native to Belize. The Zoo keeps animals that were orphaned, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as gifts from other zoological institutions.

A visit to the zoo is the best way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize, and to understand why it is important to protect the habitats that sustain them.

The Belize Zoo receives over 10,000 school children every year as part of the progressive education programs, and popular zoo events include: April, the Tapir's birthday party; Summer Camps; Science Fair; Teacher Training and Student Career Training.

The Belize Zoo is headquarters for the Tapir Specialist Group/IUCN/SSC and also maintains an active captive breeding program for the green iguana. Tour includes lunch.

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Jungle Canopy Zip Lining

Zip LiningZip Lining

Feel at once with nature on the exciting Belize Zip Line Canopy Tour Adventure. Belize is World Famous for the lush Tropical Rainforest, Nature Diversity, Majestic Trees, Outstanding Wildlife and Bio-diversity, this tour is by far one of the best methods to view it all at a canopy level.

The drive will take you to the Western Highway for approximately 50 minutes where you will reach the limestone hills of Belize. Once at the Zip Line location the guides will help you with your gear, your harness, helmet and hand gear in preparation for your aerial adventure. A short 5 minute walk in this amazing natural rainforest will bring you to the start of the excursion where you will once again be instructed on the zip line method.

Your Zip Line adventure begins from the first platform where you will "jump" from the first platform to zip to the next platform 150 feet away. Flying through the air surrounded by nature is the most exhilarating feeling ever encountered. The Birds and Howler Monkeys found on site will be at eye level making you one with the prolific nature Belize is famous for.

The Zip Line Adventure consists of 8 Zip Line Platforms each strategically located within the Rainforest Canopy. Double cables (each capable of withstanding 2,000 pounds of weight, the requirement for this tour truly had nothing to do with weight but with the size of the safety equipment) are used for ultimate safety. All landing platforms are equipped with safety gear, handrails and guides to meet you at your next landing as well as to ensure your personal safety throughout the tour. The platforms are as high as 85 feet into the Canopy and as far apart as 250 feet. So get ready for this fantastic ride and ensure to reserve early, as spaces are limited!

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Cave Tubing

Cave TubingCave Tubing

Caves tell the history of Belize. They were an intricate part of the Maya religion and culture. Caves were used as the Maya ceremonial sites, and one can still find evidence of ceremonial activities for substantial distances inside the caves. Relics, (mostly shards of pottery are extremely common).

The best way to go through these sacred Maya caves is to float. Less than a half hour drive south to Belmopan, the nation's capital, is a jungle covered mountain range riddled with limestone caves, circular sinkholes and underground rivers. And you can take a guided float trip on a inner-tube through one of the many flooded caves known for their crystalline stalactites and thousand year old artifacts. These caves are home to sightless fish and crabs, as well as bats.

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Xunantunich Maya Ruins

Xunantunich Maya RuinsXunantunich Maya Ruins

The Xunantunich Maya Ruins are by far the ruins with the most archeological importance in the country of Belize. Situated in the tropical rainforest, the temples of Xunantunich are west of Belize City closest to the Guatemalan border in the beautiful Cayo District. Xunantunich contains one of the tallest Maya structures found in Belize, built on grandiose hilltops overlooking the Mopan River. Additionally, the sculptures found here at Xunantunich are the most detailed and intricate of those found in Belize.

You will be heading by van to the beautiful Cayo District; a Belize District we like to refer to as "A Tropical Switzerland", with rolling green lawns, palm trees, plantations and mountains. In Cayo you will meet the Mopan River where your Xunantunich Maya exploration begins by first crossing the river in your van in a hand cranked ferry, only the driver is to remain in the van for the short 2 minute crossing. Undoubtedly, the guide will exit the van as well to admire the 5 foot iguanas that inhabit the riverbanks, sun tanning next to the many horses frolicking on the green riverbank grass.

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Lamanai Maya Ruins

Lamanai Maya RuinsLamanai

Pristine tracts of jungle and savanna never cleared for sugar cane surround this great Maya center. Lamanai's setting the New River Lagoon, with only jungle for miles around, gives it a special quality.

Lamanai is one of the few whose original Maya name is known - it translates to "Submerged Crocodile" hence, the numerous representations of crocodiles here. Lamanai's remoteness contribute to its continuous occupation beyond most other Maya sites, until at least 1,650 A.D.

Lamanai features the second largest Pre-Classic structure in the Maya world and the view across the surrounding forest from the top of the temple is magnificent. In front of the temple stands a 13 foot stone temple mask of a Maya King.

What remains of two 16th century Catholic missions are nearby. Maya natives rebelled and burned the churches to the ground as part of a regional uprising. A makeshift Maya Stella standing in front of what remains of one church, is widely interpreted as renouncing all allegiance to Christianity.

The sites protected status provides for an abundance of wildlife inside the park. There are at least seven families of howler monkeys that make Lamanai their home and you will most likely see a couple of them peering down through the branches as you wander the trails. In addition, the marshlands around the lagoon support many species of water birds and wildlife, including crocodiles.

The one site museum houses an amazing collection of impression artifacts depicting Maya Gods and animals. Facilities include: rest rooms and a covered picnic area for visitors.

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Caracol Maya Ruin

Caracol Maya RuinCaracol Maya Ruin

Caracol sits high on a plateau, 500 meters above sea level on the western edge of the Maya Mountains. It is nestled deep in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve within the Mountain Pin Ridge Area.

Caracol is formed as the most extensive Maya center in the country. Cutting across the hilly terrain, remnants of vast agricultural fields systems give evidence of an extensive farm industry that once provided sustenance for a large population. Caracol has an internal road system made up of 60 kilometers of Sacebeob (roads) and causeways, which served as routes for transportation and communication.

This site is home to the tallest man-made structure in Belize, Canna, standing 143 feet above the plaza floor. The discovery of Alter 23, which shoes bound captives, indicates that Caracol was an extremely fierce and warlike center. It is believed that Caracol defeated Tikal in war in 526 A.D.

The scenic drive to Caracol traverse through the Mountain Pine Ridge Area. The road travels over a series of creeks, through lush tropical forest and pine forest, habitat for a variety of bird species. The highest canopy rainforest is home to several species of cats, as well as rare birds such as the Keel Billed Toucan, Mot Mot, Crested Guan, Great Curassow and the Oscillated Turkey. A wide variety of orchids, vines and trees are also found in the area. This tour can be combined with a visit to the Rio Frio Caves and the Rio On Pools.

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Altun Ha Maya Ruin

Atlun Ha Maya RuinsAltun Ha Maya Ruins

The Altun Ha Maya Ruins are about 30 miles from Belize City and because the site is less than 10 miles from the sea, Altun Ha was probably more important for trading and agriculture, rather than as a ceremonial center. The temple of the Sun God was named for this sites' focus of worship, the Sun. The most remarkable artifact excavated as the site is a spectacularly carved jade replica of the head of Kinich Aha, the Sun God. The jade was mined in Guatemala and other artifacts found at the site emanate from as far away as ruins near Mexico City. Altun Ha was occupied from 350 B.C. to about 95 A.D. There's also great birding at the ruins.

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Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves

ATM CaveATM Caves Skull

The ATM Caves is 1 hour and 20 minutes from Belize city and 45 minutes natural hike. The hike includes three dream crossing and passes through 6,700 acres Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve.

Because of this passage through, this cave is known to only a few guides, who have permission from the Belize Department of Archaeology to take visitors to this special cave. To this day the cave has not been looted and nearly all the cultural artifacts have remained in place as they were originally found in 1989.

Degree of Difficulty:
Challenging: A good level of physical fitness.
Required: Ability to swim is a plus.
Clothing: Shorts and T-shirt are suggested along with a good pair of tennis shoes or hiking shoes. (No Sandals Allowed) You will be getting wet, so bring along extra clothing.

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Flores Peten, Guatemala

Flores, Peten, GuatemalaFlores, Peten, Guatemala

Flores is a small slow-paced village with Caribbean sensibility, pastel-colored buildings and friendly people. Flores is situated on an island in Lake Peten Itza, 45 minutes by road from Parque National Tikal and 2 hours from Cayo District in Belize. Enjoy exploring the cobble-stoned streets flanked by handicraft stores and charming houses, many of which are small hotels, guest houses and restaurants.

Good places to eat are easy to find in Flores. Order up your favorite international cuisine or go Guatemalan if you're looking for a taste of adventure. The shops stay open well into the evening and you can purchase colorful hand-made garments, fabrics and other take-home items, including T-shirts and local hard-wood carvings fashioned after indigenous wildlife.

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Tikal Overnight Trip, Guatemala

Tikaly, GuatemalaTikal, Guatemala

Tikal in Peten, Guatemala is one of the greatest and most magnificent Maya sites in Central America. Tour hours of guided tour at the site and enough time to walk around on you own.

Departure at 7:00am flight and return the next day. An optional stop on the way back for photographs and shopping. This trip includes a round trip flight and park fees, guide at the site; lunch and drinks when traveling. Guests have to pay their own Belize departure tax and their hotel and dinner is open.

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