Looking for a fun and inexpensive activity in San Ignacio? Look no further than the Green Iguana Conservation Project at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel.
Read on for three reasons why.
1) It supports a good cause
Green iguanas are almost extinct in Belize. Among other problems, this poses a significant threat to the delicate ecological environment. To prevent their extinction, The Green Iguana Conservation Project was created in 1996.
In Belize, some people consider the green iguana a delicacy. The flesh of the iguana is popular in several dishes. Iguanas have even taken on the nickname “bamboo chicken.” Even more popular are iguana eggs. Our guide told us that the eggs are highly sought-after by some couples during pregnancy. He said there is a belief that eating the eggs can influence the sex of a baby: many couples want daughters and eating the eggs increases the chances.
To increase (and protect) the population, The Iguana Project raises many from eggs until they are old enough to be released into their natural environment. They also take in iguanas that need to be rehabilitated or those that have injuries severe too to survive in their natural habitat. Those with severe injuries find a permanent home at the Iguana Project.
The Iguana Project is funded entirely by donations and entrance fees from visitors. Your visit helps the project continue to educate the (local) public and protect the green iguanas from extinction. The green iguana is important to the ecosystem in Belize. If they numbers decline too much it could cause a lot of problems.
2) It’s just fun!
We were lucky on the day we visited and were the only ones on the tour. It was highly personalized and informative. The guide was friendly and patient.
Upon walking into the area the iguanas are kept, they begin approaching you quickly. They are not shy or nervous. This can be a little alarming if you have never been around iguanas before.
My husband was anxious at first. The guide was excellent though. He pointed out which iguanas were calmer and more relaxed to handle. He seemed to know the personality of each one.
By helping my husband find the calmer ones, his nervousness went away. Some of the iguanas are large and active which can be intimidating for someone who has never been around these animals. A couple of them were climbing all over me from the moment I walked in.
One thing you need to be aware of is that their nails are sharp. They don’t mean to scratch you, but inevitably if you interact with them as much as I did, you will wind up with a few scratches. Just remember to clean them with soap and water once back to the resort.
We spent about 40 minutes feeding, holding, and just hanging out and watching them. It was a lot of fun. We even momentarily forgot about how hot it was!
3) Iguanas are adorable!
Well, not everyone will agree with this. Several of my friends didn’t even want to look at our pictures. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? I thought they were adorable!
Check out the pictures below and let us know what you think.
Even if you don’t find them adorable, it’s always interesting to learn more about animals that you may not see or interact with on a regular basis.
If you are planning a visit to San Ignacio during your trip to Belize, add this to your itinerary.
Activity: The Green Iguana Conservation Project
Location: San Ignacio Resort Hotel
Price: $9 (USD)
Hours: 8 AM – 4 PM (tours leave every hour on the hour and no reservations required)
Length of Time Needed: 1 hour
For $9 (USD) you will have a fantastic opportunity to interact closely with the iguanas and learn more about them from the knowledgeable guides. Don’t miss the Iguana Project in San Ignacio!