The next day we went to visit Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. These sites are local to San Ignacio and easily reachable on public transport. Though I would like to point out that the reggae on the bus from San Ignacio to Xunantunich was…. extremely loud. From the place the bus dropped us off we caught a cable ferry across the river then a pleasant half hour or so walking to the site.
Xunantunich was not one of the major powers in Maya history, but it does have some wonderful friezes and wildlife. There were four or five troupes of howler monkeys in the vicinity and they constantly made their presence heard.
Inside some of the structures there were many bats and the wildlife in general was abundant.
Cahal Pech is a much smaller site but very charming. Lots of little plazas and courtyards.
The day after that, as we failed to find transport to El Pilar, we headed to Belize zoo. Belize zoo is rather special. Firstly they only have animals that are living in Belize. Secondly they do not buy in animals (or swap in). Every animal there was either born on the site or rescued from somewhere in Belize. They have a very good release programme but many of the animals do not want to be released! Furthermore, the feeding wagons attract a great deal of local wildlife. Here are two yellow winged tanagers and a hepatic tanager exploiting food destined for captive tapirs! I confess that this is one of my favourite photographs from the entire trip. The yellow winged tanagers are so, so pretty.
And that was not all!