Touring Xunantunich and the Belize Zoo will give you the opportunity to some of the best natural and cultural destinations Belize has to offer.
- 8 hrs
- Available Days:
- Every day
- 7:00 AM
- Hotel Transport Included
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
At the Belize Zoo you’ll get to see rescued native animals. Belize Zoo emphasizes rehabilitation – this zoo runs a jaguar rehabilitation program as well as a Belize harpy eagle restoration program. Animals live in facilities designed to recreate their natural habitats.
Belize has a huge variety of native species, many of which are represented at the zoo. You’ll see tapirs, spider monkeys, snakes, and lots of species of tropical birds that you can usually only see in the rainforest. If you make arrangements with the staff, you can help feed some of the animals.
After exploring the zoo you’ll drive through mountainous western Belize to reach the Maya city of Xunantunich. Xunantunich means “Maiden of the Rock” in the ancient Maya tongue. This city allowed the Maya to control the Belize River Valley from 700 to 850 AD. Around 850 AD Maya civilization started to crumble, and by 1000 AD the Maya had abandoned Xunantunich.
Xunantunich is located at the top of a hill, and takes about a mile (1.6 km) of hiking to reach. Before you can begin your hike, you will cross the Mopan River on a hand-cranked ferry, which was built during the 19th-century. This city has several stone plazas and temples for visitors to explore.
El Castillo is the most prominent feature of this site. It probably served as a temple, and has some of the most interesting and elaborate friezes of all the structures in Xunantunich. You can hike to the top of El Castillo to enjoy an unobstructed view of the surrounding city.
The Belize Zoo is a small non-profit zoo that serves as a home to orphaned, injured, and rehabilitated animals that can no longer survive in the wild. Founded in 1983, the zoo has played an important educational role – it has taught both local residents and tourists about native Belize wildlife and the critical role these animals play in the ecosystem.
Less than a 10-minute drive or a 25-minute uphill walk from the town of San Ignacio, the 2-acre Mayan ruin site called Cahal Pech makes for pleasant morning or afternoon trip.
Read more:Cahal Pech Ruins
Home to the second largest Mayan pyramid in Belize, Xunantunich is one of the most impressive Mayan sites in Belize. The site is composed of three major ceremonial plazas surrounded by numerous temples, palaces, and house mounds. Xunantunich is located 8 miles (13 km) southwest of San Ignacio on the Western Highway.
What to Bring
Hiking shoes, comfortable clothes, camera, bottled water, and money for personal expenses.
Transportation, guided tour, entrance fee, lunch, and a beverage.
Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “BOOKING REQUEST” for full details.
Very interesting. Loved it.
Similar things to do
This tour will bring you to the top of a Maya temple, and then to the entrance of the Maya underworld. The temple is inside the Maya city of Xunantunich, which is located near the border of Guatemala. Its name translates to “Maiden of the Rock.” After you ascend the walls of its temple, you’ll continue the tour to the Cave Branch River, where you’ll follow the river into a series of caves that had intense spiritual significance for the Maya.
On this tour, you’ll get to see two very different Maya sites. The first, Xuanantinuch, is the ruins of a compact but impressive Maya city. Here visitors can stroll around multiple plazas and temples. At the nearby Barton Creek Cave, you’ll see a cave that served as an entrance to Xibalba, the Maya underworld.
Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is the doorway to Xibalba, the Maya underworld. This cave contains ceramics and human skeletons that have fused with the walls of the cave. The most famous of these remains is the Crystal Maiden, a skeleton of a young woman believed to have been a sacrifice. Her bones are now partially covered with the sparkling build-up of cave sediment.