Touring Xunantunich and the Belize Zoo will give you the opportunity to some of the best natural and cultural destinations Belize has to offer.
- 9 hrs
- Available Days:
- Every day
- 8:00 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.
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.
Similar things to do
This full-day tour to Tikal National Park introduces you to the greatest city the Maya ever built. It dates back to 200 BC, and remained a flourishing capital until 900 AD. At its height, it is believed to have supported a population of around 90,000.
This site has one of the most interesting collection temples of any Maya ruins in Belize. There’s the 130-foot tall El Castillo temple, which is one of the tallest buildings in the country. Visitors can climb to the top of it stepped facade to check out the incredible surrounding landscape.