We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Fantastic educational experience”

ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Join ACES's Expert Croc Team on an evening, educational, crocodile eye-shine aboard the "Swamp Thing." Search for predatory crocodiles to capture, tag, & re-release to help ACES Biologists collect scientific data on Belize's wild & threatened American crocodiles. (ACES is permitted by the Belize Forest Department.) Your expedition takes you through mangrove islands & into the starlit night while searching for Isla Bonita's extraordinary, nocturnal wildlife and the infamous saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat. Departing from "The Office Bar & Grill" at 6:30 pm, this extraordinary 2-3 hour expedition is only $50USD per person. All proceeds go to crocodile rescues, research, and education in Belize.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

My husband and I had read that there was a neat excursion on Ambergris Caye with an organization called ACES, the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, where you go out in the evening in a boat through the mangroves and look for crocodiles. So, we signed up.

We met up with two guides, Cherie, who founded the organization with her husband, and one of their assistants, Chris. We started the tour at Reef Village north of the bridge in San Pedro, where Cherie told us that we were in luck because they had a rescued crocodile in possession that they were planning to release tonight. Another couple joined us for the tour, and we all hopped on the skiff and got settled in. Shortly after we sat down, I was informed that the duffel bag under my seat was holding a crocodile. Good times!

We got underway, and Cherie showed us the skull from a large crocodile and explained the anatomy and the differences between crocodiles and alligators. She talked about the mission of the organization (a very worthwhile cause), and before long, she and Chris were getting the live crocodile out of the duffel bag.

Chris sat down with the crocodile and talked some more about the anatomy and behavior of the animal. She was fairly calm, though you could tell she was warming up and looking for her way out. Naturally we all got to hold the crocodile for a while (!) before it came time to release her. Shortly before the release, we took all her measurements and recorded them in the ACES journal. We also gave her a microchip, just like the kind we put in our dogs here in the US. Chris untied her feet, and got her ready to go. We named her Phyllis Dorothy, and then he asked for volunteers to put her in the water, and the other guy on our tour jumped at the opportunity. The release went just as planned.

We watched Phyllis Dorothy swim away into the mangroves. We learned then that you can spot the crocodiles in the dark by shining a flashlight over the water and looking for the red dots of their eyes. It soon became apparent that Phyllis wasn't the only crocodile in the area. There was a sandbar between us and the mangroves, and we could see two or three other crocodiles swimming by the mangroves. At this point, Chris decided he would go after one and try to catch it, and off he went. We all watched somewhat incredulously as he waded over to the mangroves, disappeared inside, and shuffled around. Eventually, we heard a crocodile bellow, and out comes Chris with a new crocodile. He got back to the boat and presented us with a new little guy, who we named Toto.

Toto got his jaw taped, and we scanned him for a microchip. He didn't have one, so we went ahead and took his measurements (54 inches long overall), gave him a chip, and got him ready for re-release. This time my husband opted to try the release process. He failed to account for the fact that perhaps Toto wasn't quite as used to people as Phyllis Dorothy was. Toto's mouth came open as soon as we untaped his jaw. Instead of being lowered down and gently swimming away, he turned back for a thrash when he hit the water. It all happened so fast that we don't know if he didn't release him quite the right way or if Toto was just cranky. Cherie was taking a video, so hopefully she knows what happened. My husband got a teeny-tiny little nick on his finger in the process, which made for a great story to tell when we got back to work. No real harm done.

Anyway, this is a fantastic organization and they're doing valuable work both in educating the public about crocodiles (visitors and locals alike) and rescuing the animals themselves. We highly recommend you take the time to go out on an expedition with them.

1  Thank 2FlyingYorkies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrocsBelize, Owner at ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 6, 2013

Hi you 2 Flying Yorkies in Kansas! What a great night. And, I loved your review! If I was wondering about this tour, your vivid description would tell me exactly what I was in for. :)
I did get video of nippy little Toto during the release. I am working on getting some of my release videos up on the website this week. So, this weekend be sure to check our video page under the Home tab at AmericanCrocodileSanctuary.org to see what really happen that made the release a little risky. I think someone held onto someone else's tail a little to long. :) opsy.
Cherie

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (186)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
All reviews
"baby croc"
in 8 reviews
"night tour"
in 8 reviews
"captain chris"
in 5 reviews
"educational tour"
in 4 reviews
"great for kids"
in 3 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 2 reviews
"interesting facts"
in 3 reviews
"cool experience"
in 3 reviews
"would highly recommend this tour"
in 2 reviews
"fantastic trip"
in 2 reviews
"his team"
in 4 reviews
"awesome experience"
in 3 reviews
"an excursion"
in 2 reviews
"golf cart"
in 3 reviews
"crocs"
in 97 reviews
"mangroves"
in 41 reviews
"capture"
in 22 reviews
Filter

137 - 141 of 186 reviews

Reviewed July 11, 2013

This tour at night is Animal Planet and Crocodile Dundee all rolled into one. Vince and Shari are doing a great job on educating the Belizean public and also capturing and relocating the endangered saltwater croc. we had a ball.

Thank Susan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrocsBelize, Owner at ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 6, 2013

Thanks Susan! We appreciate your support and hope you join us again soon!
Cherie & Vince

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

The croc tour was a great counterpoint to the guilt-inducing snorkel trips that feature chumming / touching sharks and rays. Cherie, Vince, and Chris are dedicated to crocs, but they're deeply concerned with all of Belize's wildlife. It's always a treat to hear somebody speak passionately about their passion, and this tour was no exception.

We started out at the Reef Village bar, which has swings! A little tipple while the group assembled and we waited for sundown, then we were off to tour the canal. We saw the orange eye-shine of a couple of crocs, then Chris surprised us by launching himself off the boat and into the water. They nabbed a three year old, and we learned about its condition, whether it had ever been tagged and what that process is like, how it looked slightly dehydrated and why, why its teeth weren't pure white as they should have been, and what other problems might have prompted it to be taken for rehabilitation. Everybody on the boat was offered an opportunity to respectfully touch or hold the croc, then it was gently released back where they found it.

We spotted another croc but it was too big to wrestle in the deeper water where we found it, although Chris was more than game! It was an interesting tour for everybody on board except our 4yo, who was horrified at the thought of having a crocodile on board, then asleep. I gather he was on the young end of their usual passenger, but he did fine and I think other kids might have a lot of fun. Our bigger kids (8, 11) definitely loved it!

100% of your tour fee goes to help fund their work, so it's really a great experience all round. I highly recommend this one! Thanks again, guys!

1  Thank Liz J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrocsBelize, Owner at ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded July 3, 2013

What a great and informative review BabyLizzie. THANK YOU! We have our hands full this week. A croc call every day for the last 7 days. Hope to see you again sometime!
Take good care,
Cherie

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

My boyfriend and I went out with Cherie, Vince, and Chris last Sunday the 23rd of June and had an absolute blast, despite sharing the boat with a family of 7 including 3 small kids.

The trip was incredibly informative and Vince caught a baby gator and brought him aboard for us to hold, measure, and release back into the wild...

Cherie couldn't haven't been nicer and Chris even allowed us to follow him into town after the gator trip ended to show us a restaurant that would still be open late on a Sunday at 9:30 since we hadn't eaten yet...

Being a huge gator fan, I was mildly disappointed that the only one we caught was a baby (Cherie said they often bring 5-8ft ones aboard the boat!), but that just gives me reason to visit them again. For $40 USD, this is an absolute bargain and should not be skipped!

1  Thank TripsAh0y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrocsBelize, Owner at ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded August 6, 2013

We are all so glad you had a great time! I am a little disappointed though that you are calling them gators....Smiling...but when you come with us again we will get you calling them Crocs! We really love your photos! Thank you for taking the time to share. And recently we have started to recommend eating prior to coming out with us. We often get carried away and run overtime.
Thanks for coming and helping to take a bite out of extinction!
Cherie, Vince & Chris

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed June 28, 2013

Vince, Chris, and Cherie really have something special going on. These 3 really LOVE the crocodiles on Ambergris Caye and are doing their best to preserve them. Although their main objective is to tag, track, and move problem crocs, they also take on tourists to accompany them on their boat through the mangroves at night to “assist” while Vince and Chris get in the water to grab the crocs (yes, IN THE WATER!). These guys really seem to be passionate about saving the dwindling croc population. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if they were experts or just a couple of nuts that are doing their best at something they believe in. In the end, it was a great combination of both expertise and nuts. Near the end of our trip after having a 9-footer slip out of the noose, we were able to release a cool little 3-footer back into a new, safer, and healthier habitat after we all got to feel his skin, get pictures, and learn about him. We’re all pulling for you Screech!

If I were to recommend anything to the team, it would be to get their ride-along program information in front of every single hotel in San Pedro. So many people I talked with would have loved to have gone out but didn’t know about A.C.E.S. and the trips.

Although this is not one of the things that our hotel outlined to us as a planed activity, my wife and I were really happy that we sought out this adventure and were able to go out with the crew one night. Highly recommended!

2  Thank Matthew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CrocsBelize, Owner at ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary, responded to this reviewResponded July 4, 2013

Awe, thank you Matt! I don't know what else to say other than your review made me smile from ear to ear! Hope you can join us again sometime; and, I'll be sure to post on our website if we ever catch 'Screech' again. Oddly enough that particular little croc has been everyone's Fav!
Cheers,
The Expert Croc Nuts! :)

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary also viewed

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
 
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
 

Been to ACES / American Crocodile Education Sanctuary? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing