Roatan tourists might have one less reason to leave the island- they have their own version of Mayan ruins right here, and some are air-conditioned too. On June 5 the Maya Cay tourist park, a part of Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) has officially opened its doors on Osgood Cay in Coxen Hole.
The Maya Cay offers tourists a smaller version of Copan. There is the ‘great’ plaza, the ball court and the ‘hieroglyphic’ staircase. The staircase is not as steep as in Copan and plaza is not as large, but most tourists would appreciate the air conditioned areas that house Maya exhibits adjacent to the ball court.
The majority of the Maya-like structures were built out of concrete and given a stone-like appearance by cutting and carving them to resemble individual stone blocks. Dr. Gloria Lara, a Honduran art historian, has served as a coordinator for the interpretative center that features Maya exhibits. Since according to AKR’s Julio Galindo museum permits in Honduras are “too difficult” to get, the Mayan Exhibits are housed in an ‘interpretive center’ not a ‘museum.’
Nurse sharks, stingrays and sea lions are Maya Cay’s sea creatures. They were brought in to replace the marine enclosure’s original inhabitants – dolphins. “The [Coxen Hole’s] sever system didn’t work as well as we thought,” said Julio Galindo, who had to move the dolphins back to AKR’s facility in Sandy Bay due to concerns about water quality.
For the mammals and birds, a highly specialized A-Z mesh was used on the animal cages. While the mesh allows for easier observation of the animals, the shape and size of the cages allows the animals to take refuge in elevated areas watching the tourists from above, and decreasing their stress level. “We only accept orphaned, donated, injured or confiscated animals,” said Dr. Baird Flemming, the Cay’s chief veterinarian, about the park’s collection of ocelots, monkeys, pelicans, woodpeckers and a jaguar.
Flemming hopes that the sanctuary will serve as a refuge for animals in need and raise awareness of Honduran native and endangered species for tourists and locals. [/private]