San Ignacio Cayo and Belize Zoo
Drive Time: 2 hours
The drive alone to the zoo will be a treat as you take in the views of the breath-taking mountains on the Hummingbird Highway.
Once you arrive at the zoo you will certainly enjoy the up close viewe of a vairiety of animales, all native to Belize.
The Belize Zoo 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 wildlife which shared their country. This very aspect fomented the commitment to develop the little zoo into a dynamic wildlife education center.
Today, The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 170 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. The Zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions.
The Belize Zoo has become the first nature destination in Belize that is fully accessible to visitors with physical disabilities. It is a non-governmental, non-profit organization focused on wildlife conservation through wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education.
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.
SAN IGNACIO CAYO
The town was originally named El Cayo by the Spanish. On October 19, 1904, El Cayo was officially declared a town by the government of British Honduras. In the past a creek ran between the macal and the mopan rivers one mile outside of San Ignacio going toward Benque Viejo. This creek then fulfilled the definition of an area of land completely surrounded by water and thus the name Cayo. There was a big wooden bridge across this creek in the late nineteen forties, but since the creek eventually dried up the area was filled with lime stone gravel and today there remains no evidence of its past existence. This unfortunate demise of the creek, however, took away the distinction of the classification 'cayo' from the venerable western town of 'El Cayo' and returned it to a regular land mass no longer an island. It is the most diverse ecotourism inland community in Belize and the home of the two largest mayan sites in the entire country of Belize. It is also known as the bread basket of Belize through agriculture.
TIME APPROM. 2hrs 30minutes one way