Housed in the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the Green Iguana Conservation Project gives visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with the prehistoric-like creatures.
The green iguana (Iguana iguana), known locally as "bamboo chicken," is one of the largest lizards, reaching up to 6 feet long (including their tail). The iguana’s flesh and eggs are considered a delicacy in Belize. Prior to its protection, the iguana was heavily hunted. The destruction of their natural habitat has also affected the population. The Green Iguana Conservation Project was created in 1996 in an effort to help the declining population in Belize.
The organization focuses on protecting the species as well as educating the community on the natural history and their release program. This is done through education outreach programs and onsite tours.
The tour starts in the hotel lobby with a discussion about the animals of Belize. As you walk down the path to the enclosure, keep an eye out for toucans and other birds in the nearby trees. The guide explains the goals of the organization, how the animals are cared for, and ends the tour with a chance for visitors to interact with and feed the iguanas. Most are friendly and used to being around people. Some newer additions to the group might be a little more aloof, but they eventually come around to get a quick snack.
Tours are offered daily, every hour on the hour, and last about 45 minutes. The hotel is within walking distance from downtown San Ignacio. If you're looking for another adventure to fill you day, the Cahal Pech Archaeological Site is also close by.