Look at me and my badass iguana friends, hanging out, sharing a bite to eat. You know… casual.
The Belizean border town of San Ignacio is possibly one of my favourite towns ever. Cute and small yet vibrant and exciting, it’s the perfect place to spend a few days before crossing into Guatemala or heading to the Cayes.
From San Ignacio you can also do a million different day trips: Guatemala for Tikal, cave tubing, hiking, zip lining and all sorts. We were booked in for a day of zip lining and cave tubing but unfortunately the weather had other ideas and it was rained off. Obviously we were disappointed, but we soon pulled up our big girl pants and found something else to do.
After a morning spent making and trying Mayan chocolate (I know!!!) we headed up to the San Ignacio Resort Hotel to hang out with some new pals.
Hidden in the grounds of the hotel, visited by the Queen as she toured Belize in 1994, is the Green Iguana Conservation Project. For a small fee you can help out the green iguana population of Belize and hang out with some rescued iguanas, most of which will eventually be rehabilitated and set free back into the jungle.
Green iguanas are having a pretty tough time at the moment. They’re a bit of a local delicacy, and black iguanas are beginning to take over territory. The aim of the sanctuary is to educate tourists and locals on how green iguanas live, breed, and generally enjoy there time living.
While at the sanctuary you get to see the iguanas up close, get scratched to death because you stupidly wore a bardot top, and feed them. And all I can tell you is that it’s an afternoon well spent. The guides are so helpful and kind, and answer every question you put to them. You can tell that they’re passionate about what they do!
They also offered us some amazing advice about heading into Guatemala the next morning and honestly it made our trip so much easier. Apparently the trick is to just take a taxi to the border crossing, rather than faff around with buses as we’d previously planned to – you end up taking a taxi either way! We took the advice and it couldn’t have gone smoother.
What was so nice to see is just how well looked after and cared for the iguanas are. They’re all happy, well fed, and looking forward to being rehabilitated from whatever situation they were rescued from. Some of them, unfortunately, are too badly hurt to ever return to the wild, but they’re cared for with just as much love and passion. It really is a great project!
If you’re passing through San Ignacio, I couldn’t recommend these little iguana buddies more. Sure, spend a day going mad in the jungle with cave swimming, but stop by these guys as well. Honestly, meeting them was one of my favourite parts of our travels around Belize. I’m so happy that we got to share the afternoon with them and got to contribute, if only a tiny bit, to making them big, strong, and ready to go home! x0