Belize Zoo or Community Baboon Sanctuary?

Jul 27th, 2010, 01:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 46
Belize Zoo or Community Baboon Sanctuary?

Hi all, We (2 adults, plus 2 kids, ages 10 and 12) are going to Belize this week! We'll spend 3 days in Cayo then 5 in Placencia. On the way from the airport to Cayo, we are trying to decide between the Zoo and the CBS. My husband is not crazy about zoos, though I hear this one is special. (I was there in 1987 as a college student, and it was VERY small, all I remember well is the tapir.) The CBS has good reviews on tripadvisor and igougo, but on this forum I haven't found anything that makes it seem worth going too far out of the way for. The owner of the lodge where we will be going in Cayo told me that the drive to CBS from the airport was 30 minutes to the sancuary, then 60 minutes within the place to get to the location to tour, then 3 hours for the tour, all for $50 pp. The guide book says about one hour total drive and $5 per person for a 45-60 min tour. The facts (or lack thereof) seem to sway me in favor of the zoo, being right on the way, though for some reason the CBS sounds more wild and appealing. I'd love any guidance!

(In Cayo, we're planning to go to the San Ignacio market and Xanantunich one day (maybe satisfy my craving for seeing monkeys), then the ATM tour the next. Maybe also some river tubing before heading for the coast to relax.)
needavacation is offline  
Jul 27th, 2010, 01:15 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 27th, 2010, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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The Zoo and the same tapir, April, is still at the zoo.
Katie_Valk is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 378
What kind of experience are you looking for? Would you like to see a greater variety of animals, or are you interested in seeing the howler monkeys above everything?

I haven't been to the Zoo, but I spent 2-3 days in the Baboon Sanctuary. You're almost guaranteed to see howler monkeys during your visit, but you probably won't see much else during the day (other than a lot of birds, which are neat). Don't expect a pristine jungle wilderness. There's a reason it's called the "Community" Baboon Sanctuary--the monkeys live amongst the trees near all the houses. The wildest parts that I saw are along the river.

The price that the guide quoted sounds much more accurate than the book price you noted. The guided trips there seemed to be much more expensive than other areas of Belize. They cater to the cruise-ship crowd and thus charge higher prices for nature activities than other places I noted in the Cayo area.

It does take about 30-45 minutes to get to the Sanctuary from the airport. I don't know why it would take another hour to get to the final destination within the Sanctuary. They may be taking you to a different village than the one we stayed in (Bermudian Landing).

To anyone who's thinking of staying at the Sanctuary--don't stay more than one night. I don't think it's worth a longer visit. You'll get much better service on days when cruise ship passengers are visiting, but guides and services can become scarce once they disappear.
Gritty is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 09:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,197
It takes less than 45 minutes from the airport to the sanctuary and the tours start right there - not sure what the extra hour is about. We enjoyed staying there and staying at the zoo, too (different trips) but I'd recommend the zoo in your situation. It's a really natural, funky, unzoolike experience and I think it's rewarding to acknowledge the indigenous species in the country. They do good work. Keep us posted!
hopefulist is offline  

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