One of the smallest, but arguably one of the best, zoos in the world, the Belize Zoo packs a lot into 29 acres. Containing more than 125 native species, the zoo has self-guided tours through several Belizean ecosystems — rain forest, lagoons, and riverine forest. Along with the rare black jaguar and the spotted jaguar, you’ll see the country’s four other wild cats: the puma, margay, ocelot, and jaguarundi. Perhaps the zoo’s most famous resident is April, a Baird’s tapir. This relative of the horse and rhino is known to locals as the mountain cow, and is also Belize’s national animal. At the zoo you can also see jabiru storks, harpy eagles, scarlet macaws, crocodiles, and many snakes, including the poisonous and aggressive fer-de-lance.
The zoo owes its existence to the dedication and drive of one gutsy woman, Sharon Matola. An American who came to Belize as part of a film crew, Matola stayed on to care for some of the semi-tame animals used in the production. She opened the zoo in 1983 and in 1991 it moved to its present location. She is also an active environmentalist.
Drive Time from Table Rock: 1 hour on paved highway
Adventure Level: Easy. Flat ground, shady surroundings, and a paved drive make this adventure comfortable for all ages and ability levels.
What to Wear & Bring: Shorts and a t-shirt with comfy shoes are fine for this excursion. A hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent are also nice to have along.
- Includes transportation to and from the lodge, and entrance fees
- Minimum two persons
- A 50% cancellation fee applies to any tours booked and then cancelled by the guest less than 24 hours in advance
- Prices subject to change without notice