2. From Belize City: Altun Ha and Belize Zoo Adventure
The Belize Zoo is the perfect way to experience Belize’s untamed jungles and savannahs. The Tropical Education Center was started in 1983 to provide a home for wild animals featured in various documentaries. From the beginning, it was apparent that Belizeans were not familiar with the different species of wildlife that shared their country and great efforts were made to transform the little zoo into a dynamic wildlife education center.
Today, the Belize Zoo covers approximately 29 acres of tropical savannah and features over 125 animals native to Belize. Many of these animals were injured when rescued and have been nursed back to health. Enjoy the awesome range of mammals, birds and reptiles in their natural habitat, including jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans, egrets, crocodiles, and tree frogs. You will spend approximately 1½ hours touring the zoo and educational center before returning via Belize City.
Beautiful landmarks and old colonial buildings mixed with the modern give the “Old Belize Capital” that Caribbean charm. Leaving the city, you journey past several quaint villages along the “Old Northern Highway” towards your Mayan Ruins adventure.
Three plazas and thirteen structures mark the epicenter of this very important ceremonial site of the ancient Mayan civilization. Altun Ha also served as a trade center, located only seven miles from the sea and surrounded by a primary broadleaf rainforest. This site captured world attention when Professor David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum discovered the 9½ pound jade head of the Sun God Kinich Ahau in the tomb of a Royal Priest, located within the main temple of the masonry altars. Prepared stone steps allow visitors to climb atop one of the main temples on the site to capture the beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.