Your flight lands at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City and your private transfer meets you upon arrival. While descending, you noticed the divide between the jade canopy and the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Outside of the airport, the trees shade the roadway as a wide canal runs alongside the airport, feeding into the water. Traditional villagers utilize the canals for traveling and fishing. Homes and small restaurants composed of wood panels continue to line the waterways, housing canoes, paddleboats, and overlooking smaller vessels.
Stop first at the Belize Zoo for an introduction to Belizean wildlife. The zoo offers visitors a chance to see animals that forage in the wilds of the country, yet are not always visible to people passing through. Each exhibit provides the animals with ample space and preferred habitat. Nine tapirs, a tropical relative of the rhino, graze in jungle underbrush; scarlet macaws flutter their wings around an aviary, their long tail feathers trail behind them like streamers.
Wild iguanas wander along the footpaths and perch on high handrails. The zoo encompasses 29 acres and continues its mission of protecting injured, orphaned, and endangered animals endemic to the region. Junior Buddy, a rescue jaguar, was abandoned by his mother as a cub. As a rescue animal, Junior Buddy became familiar with people due to his interactions with the zoo staff and has since become friendly with all visitors as an ambassador to teach people about the true nature of the species.