Insider's Guide to Belize City

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 Reviews

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  • Location:Belize City, Belize
  • Duration:8 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

Xunantunich and The Belize Zoo

Walk in the footsteps of the ancient Maya and encounter some of Belize's most exotic animals in this combo full-day tour of the Xunantunich ruins and the Belize Zoo. Float across a river on a hand-cranked ferry, then climb one of the country's most impressive ceremonial temples for panoramic views of the lush valley below. You’ll go wild at the Belize Zoo with an up-close look at the animal all-stars of the rainforest.


  • Full-day trip to Xunantunich and Belize Zoo
  • Scenic drive to the Cayo District
  • Trip across the Mopan River by hand-cranked ferry
  • Visit the impressive Maya site of Xunantunich
  • Panoramic views from the top of El Castillo
  • Lunch at a Cayo-area restaurant
  • See native cats, primates, reptiles and birds at Belize Zoo
  • Pick-up and drop-off from most Belize City hotels

What You Can Expect

Xunantunich and The Belize Zoo

Kinkajou or 'Night Walker'

Immerse yourself in the worlds of both the ancient Maya and the animal kingdom. After pickup at your Belize City hotel, you’ll travel into Belize’s Cayo District along the scenic Western Highway, traversing most of the country’s width during the approximately 1.5-hour drive. 

To reach the hilltop ruins of Xunantunich, you’ll cross the Mopan River on a traditional hand-cranked ferry. Once inside the protected archaeological site, step back in time to the powerful peak of the Mayan civilization. Your guide will discuss daily life and religious practices of the Maya while you explore the city plaza, ball court, and ceremonial temples by foot. 

The highlight of this ancient city is El Castillo, an imposing stone pyramid that rises out of the jungle and is the second tallest structure in the country. After a steep climb up stone stairways and through various passageways, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of the lush surrounding hillside, nearby villages along the Guatemalan border, and the excavated plaza. Keep an eye out for howler monkeys swinging in the treetops below.   

Rest up with a lunch stop at a local Cayo District restaurant before hitting the road again. Your next stop is the Belize Zoo, which was originally founded as a sanctuary for animals that could no longer survive in the wild. Today, it is a successful wildlife education and conservation center and home to an impressive array of indigenous species. You'll be able to observe some of Belize’s famed rainforest residents, including jaguars, tapirs, spider monkeys, coatis, crocodiles, and blue-crowned mot-mots. 

At the end of your wildlife encounter, you'll be driven back to your Belize City hotel.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2015

excellent, guide very very good

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2013

Rudi Thompson, our tour guide, made this trip not only enjoyable but memorable beyond words! He was so informative, supportive, friendly, funny, and tremendously good hearted. In short, he created a very happy day. You should clone him.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2011

had great time at mayan ruins and wonderful visit at the Belize zoo!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2010

With the ferry out of service, we visited Cahal Pech instead of Xunantunich. At the zoo, our guide was known by all the animals.

4 star rating: Recommended June 2011

The trip is nice. Xunantuich is smaller than Lamanai. But it is still worth visting. In addition, this is a wonderful combination that you can go to the zoo with the Mayan site. The zoo is small, but this is the only zoo I ever visited that I saw a Margray cat.
The tapirs in the zoo are also lovely.

Lynne R

4 star rating: Recommended February 2010

For both tours the guide was very pleasant and well-informed. I was the only participant on both tours. The tour to Xunantunich and the Belize Zoo was very good and I appreciated the fact that you ran the tour even though I was the only guest.
From USD $ 134.99

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Tour code: 4110DEB5


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