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You MUST Overnight at the Belize Zoo – But Only If You Like Giving Jaguars Treats

I absolutely love the Belize Zoo – the staff, the carefully hand-painted signs that are a mixture of funny, informative and stop-and-think beautiful…


and of course the animals.  In small but lush enclosures filled with local flora and AMAZING local animals.  Where else can you see a pile of slumbering jaguars?


or ocelot kitten, Rhaburn, playing with his toys?


We spent half of the morning and some of the afternoon at the harpy eagle’s birthday party, we ate lunch (affordable and filling at the zoo’s cafeteria) and it was time to see our zoo housing for the night.  We had the Belize Zoo Night Tour in our future and we were staying across the street at the TEC – The Tropical Education Center.

No offense Belize Zoo, my love, but that name does nothing to describe how beautiful this place is…and this area.

As you move inland, away from the sea, the landscape of Belize changes to gorgeous savanna.  I have been blown away by the savanna of the south.  Outside of Hopkins, the flowering grasses and the water birds..the land is just tear-inducing gorgeous.

But here, outside of Belize City, the area is just as pretty.

These fairy flowers are everywhere.



Ponds and marsh grasses and spindly pines…the air smells divine.IMG_4434Jamal, our host from the zoo and all around great guy, drove us across the street to the TEC and our casita in the woods.


Super comfortable and COOL at night.  The porch was my absolute favorite part.IMG_4441If I ever write a novel, I am doing it here.


With frequent naps in this hammock.


Outside is this…


And this silly vulture preening outside of our casita…

IMG_4458The pond house – there are two for lodging.




The dormitories.



And the main building where breakfast and dinner are served as part of your room & board.  Good food.


And the tallest royal palm you ever did see.


We were ready for the night tour of the zoo.  Jamal met us at dinner with a bucket of fruit and a small container of meat tidbits.

Do I have one thousand pictures of the night tour?  No!  It was pitch black!  And that made it particularly awesome.  The four of us alone at the zoo…with all the animals.  But they knew the routine…the tapirs lumbered over to take carrots and peanuts so gently from our fingers…leaving them covered with a bit of tapir slime.

The jaguars wanted chicken!  We fed Lucky Boy soft chicken hearts since this poor baby has just a few teeth from his AWFUL experience of almost being starved to death down south.  (Check out his story here on the Zoo’s website.)  You would never know it.  He is HUGE…and hungry.  And those claws look scary enough!

Here he is asking for chicken.

lucky boy


We fed gorgeous spotted Junior Buddy and then my boyfriend (picture from my last visit to the zoo, Carlos the puma.)

His purring for food…it’s just amazing.  You want to nuzzle your head right into his chest.  Or…well…maybe it’s just me that wants to do that.


Back at our casita, I slept wrapped in a blanket and woke to parrots squawking in the trees.  What a LOVELY place to stay and the night tour is a once in a life time experience that I plan to do…oh about once a year 🙂

IMG_4479I promise you…and your kids will LOVE it.





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3 thoughts on “You MUST Overnight at the Belize Zoo – But Only If You Like Giving Jaguars Treats

  1. TarheelBornGal

    Sounds like a great experience, and I love the look of the casita! How were the mosquitos? They are on my mind at the moment as we’re having an onslaught here in Playa. Little devils!

  2. Miranda

    Hi, Rebecca. My husband and Inwill be back in our condo in SP at the end of Dec. this trip, we want to spend a couple of days on the mainland, seeing something different. I was thinking San Ignacio or Hopkins. But would 2 nights at the zoo keep us busy? Our plain doesn’t get into Belize City until about 5 pm. How long does it take to get to the zoo, and what kind of transportation is there? Does it make more sense to go on the way back, when we could get any early start? And is there anything else to do around the zoo?

  3. Small World Band

    Its about 30 miles to the zoo from Belize City. I would suggest getting a private taxi from the airport to the zoo. Id estimate this cost at around $50usd. You could stay the first night at the TEC across from the zoo, check out the zoo in the morning too if you so desire, and then head to San Ignacio around noon. For transport from the Belize Zoo to San Ignacio you should be able to catch a local “chicken bus” that will stop somewhere around the Zoo on the highway. The people there will be able to advise you on this, if not a private taxi is also an option. Id guess a private taxi from the zoo to San Ignacio to cost around $100usd. Then back from San Ignacio to Belize City you’ll have no problem catching the express bus which is inexpensive and quick.

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