Iguana Park is one of the best places on the island of Roatan to connect with nature. Anyone who’s had a pet iguana or just would like to see the animals in their natural habitat will enjoy a visit to the one-of-a-kind Arch’s Iguana & Marine Park. At this 12-acre tropical paradise near French Cay, some 4,000 of the green and friendly creatures roam free. As an animal sanctuary, Arch’s gives many of the iguanas a chance to thrive on this Caribbean island known for its diving scene and great food.
Spiny yet friendly, iguanas are a type of lizard native to the islands of the Caribbean and Central America as well as Fiji and other Pacific islands. These plant-eating reptiles take their name from the Spanish rendering of the native Taino word for the lizards, iwana. The reptiles who call Iguana Park home represent several species, but many of them are the Roatán spiny-tailed iguana, an endangered species native to the island. Some orange-tinged iguanas are also scattered around their island home. The park’s iguanas are quite friendly especially at feeding time when park visitors have a treat to share—afternoon feeding time is a favorite of both park visitors and the lizards. At other times, visitors have the chance to pet some of the friendlier iguanas who don’t mind the attention.
Eco tours are some of the most popular things to do in Roatan, and there are few better to see an array of animals than Arch’s iguana park. Other amazing animals can be found here on both land and sea. In addition to the green and orange iguanas, you’ll also find blue-headed lizards scampering by and monkey lalas sunning on rocks. Also called the basilisk, these critters look like like miniature dragons. They can scamper across the surface of ponds, looking like they’re walking on water. Roatan’s own version of parrots, the red-lored parrot, congregate in trees and like to munch on cashews. Some monkeys and coatis, a relative of the raccoon, also hang out at Arch’s. The park also works to preserve sea turtles and several kinds of fish with its marine efforts.
The park staff works hard to reintroduce some of the iguanas into the wild, helping to keep the island’s ecosystem strong and providing a cool place to visit on the islands of Honduras. Once a year, some of the most suitable iguanas are released back into some of Roatan’s other natural spaces. Staff members also turn their attention to turtles, a rather fragile species that needs the right conditions in which to thrive at the iguana park.