Tuxtla’s city zoo, the Zoológico Regional Miguel Álvarez del Toro (tel. 961/614-4700, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$3) is better known by its acronym, ZOOMAT. It occupies a 100-hectare (247-acre) swath of forest with large enclosures containing only—and virtually every—species of animal found in Chiapas.
Following a meandering 2.5-kilometer trail, you’ll spot jaguars, pumas, and little tigrillos; beautiful macaws, birds of prey, and the elusive and much-revered quetzal; and unusual creatures such as tapirs, otters, and anteaters.
An interesting innovation of the zoo is the Casa Nocturna, where artificial lighting has led various nocturnal creatures to think day is night and night is day. Once your eyes adjust, you can watch them going about their business—a lot more interesting than seeing them sleep.
The museum also offers nighttime visits in the crocodile and reptile section (8 p.m. Tues. and Thurs., US$8).
Getting to ZOOMAT
To get to ZOOMAT, take the R-60 minibus (US$0.45, 30 mins, every 10 mins 5:30 a.m.–6 p.m.) from the corner of 7 Avenida Sur Oriente and 1 Calle Oriente Sur; from the central plaza, a cab costs around US$5.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition