Belize | Exploring Rainforest, Reefs, and Ruins

Belize | Exploring Rainforest, Reefs, and Ruins

About this trip

Embark on an active exploration of jungles, underground rivers, Maya ruins, and coastal habitats. As you swim, hike, boat, and float your way across Belize, you’ll encounter incredible biodiversity and geological features in the country’s pristine central rainforests. An excursion to Tikal in Guatemala offers insight into the Maya civilization that once ruled this region, and unparalleled snorkeling opportunities abound at South Water Caye Marine Reserve, part of the Belize Barrier Reef.

Highlights

  • Descend into Belize’s extensive cave systems as you float along a network of underground rivers by inner tube.
  • Explore the temples, pyramids, and plazas of Tikal, an important capital of the ancient Maya civilization.
  • Swim and snorkel in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, one of the most biodiverse marine areas in all of Belize.
  • Kayak the Sittee River and watch for iguanas, crocodiles, toucans, and other wildlife.
  • Boat along the mangrove habitats of Man O’ War Caye, a significant nesting site for seabirds like the Magnificent Frigatebird and Brown Booby.
  • Learn about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation programs at the Belize Zoo.
11 Travelers

$3,495

Land Cost

Group size

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$3,095

Land Cost

Group size

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

Arrival, Belize City

Day 1

Upon arrival at the airport in Belize City, you will be met and transferred to the oceanfront Radisson Ft. George Hotel. Gather this evening for an orientation by your guide, followed by a welcome dinner.

Dinner included
Overnight at Radisson Ft. George Hotel

Tikal

Day 2

This morning after breakfast, transfer to the Belize Zoo. Situated upon 29 acres of tropical savanna, the zoo exhibits more than 150 animals representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. Residents include orphaned, rescued, and rehabilitated animals, as well as those born at the zoo or sent as donations from other zoological institutions. Upon arrival, receive an introduction to the animals of Belize and visit the exhibits. Highlights include the jaguar rehabilitation program, the Harpy Eagle exhibit, and the Baird's tapir enclosure. After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll begin our transfer to the Petén region in Guatemala, with a brief stop at the Belize/Guatemala border for an examination of our documents. PLEASE HAVE YOUR PASSPORT READILY ACCESSIBLE. In the late afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on Lake Petén Itzá, Guatemala's second largest lake. Many of the Petén's inhabitants live in communities along the lake's shore, the largest of which is Santa Elena, connected to the colorful island town of Flores by a causeway.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Villa Maya

Tikal

Day 3

After an early breakfast, journey to Tikal National Park. The famous Maya site of Tikal is located in the Petén lowlands, and the magnificent ruins remain shrouded in mystery. Hidden deep within the rainforest, the site covers over 25 square miles and contains 3,000 separate structures, some currently under excavation. Learn about Tikal's most important architectural features and what they have revealed about Classic period Maya culture. After lunch at the national park, continue exploring the ruins before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Villa Maya

Sibun River

Day 4

After breakfast, we'll start our journey back to Belize. En route, we'll visit the Yaxhá ruins in Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo National Park, part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Findings indicate that the city was occupied throughout the pre-Classic and post-Classic periods and that it was allied to Tikal. Yaxhá has more than 500 buildings, including a twin pyramid complex not seen anywhere else except in Tikal. After lunch, we'll transfer to the border and continue with our journey to Belize, arriving late in the afternoon to our lodge.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge

Sibun River

Day 5

After breakfast, embark on an exciting cave tubing excursion. Once at the site, this moderately strenuous river expedition will begin with a 15-minute drive to a drop-off point at the river's edge. We'll then sit in rubber inner tubes and float through the entrance to the cave, continuing through the dark chambers and enjoying views of the sparkling mineral formations overhead with the aid of headlamps. Once the water becomes too shallow, we'll put aside the inner tubes and set off on foot. The cave floor is rocky and wet, and at times it will be necessary to climb over rocky formations. Our local guides will prepare an underground, riverside picnic lunch for us to enjoy with our headlights on. Please note that this excursion is subject to high water levels, and due to safety precautions, might be cancelled with no prior notification. In that event, we will make every effort to replace with another excursion. Clothing requirements will be provided. Return to our lodge in the early afternoon and have the rest of the afternoon free to enjoy the amenities or go on a rainforest walk with our guide. This evening, have dinner at the lodge.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge

Hopkins

Day 6

This morning, go birding along the trails of the lodge. Our location in the foothills of the Sibun National Forest Reserve provides a rich natural environment for numerous species of birds, including the beautiful Lesson's Motmot and the Keel-billed Toucan-the national bird of Belize. Following a leisurely breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to our lodge on the Caribbean coast, arriving in time for lunch. We'll have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax and enjoy the beach.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at The Colonial at Jaguar Reef

Hopkins

Day 7

After breakfast, board the boat for the 40-minute ride to South Water Caye Marine Reserve, the largest marine reserve in Belize and an outstanding example of a barrier reef ecosystem. Considered to have one of the highest levels of marine biodiversity in the Western Hemisphere, the reserve has been designated a region of high ecological importance and is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its vibrant corals, extensive spur-and-groove reef formations, mangrove ecosystems, and clear waters are home to an amazing array of endemic, colorful, and rare marine species. You have the opportunity to snorkel on the coral reef and explore the mangroves both above and below the surface. Also, cruise along Man O' War Caye to see nesting birds. Three different types of mangrove vegetation provide a perfect sanctuary to a variety of native bird species, including pelicans, the Brown Booby, and the Magnificent Frigatebird (also known as the man-o'-war bird). Return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, travel to the nearby Lebeha Drumming Center in Hopkins Village for an introduction to the culture of the Afro-indigenous Garifuna peoples. A local expert will introduce us to the importance of drums and music, and skilled drummers will treat us to a performance. We will have the opportunity to learn some drumming skills and dance moves ourselves.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at The Colonial at Jaguar Reef

Hopkins

Day 8

This morning, have a leisurely breakfast and transfer to the Sittee River for a kayaking excursion. Watch for iguanas, crocodiles, turtles, and birds as you paddle along the river, one of the largest in Belize. Lunch is at a local restaurant. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at the lodge.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at The Colonial at Jaguar Reef

Depart

Day 9

This morning after breakfast, transfer to the airstrip in Dangriga for a short flight to the Belize International Airport, where you will connect with your international flight back home.

Breakfast- included