Belize

Belize Ecotours

Belize is mysterious Mayan ruins, extensive cave system​s​ to the underworld, acres of unspoiled forest to hike and maybe catch a glimpse of a jaguar, the harmonious blend of many cultures, ​and ​an escape to islands and reefs, turquoise water and tropical breezes.

Belize: From Rainforest to Beach

Day 1: Arrive Belize City

You arrive into Belize City where you are met and transferred to the Belize Zoo, your home for the night. The Tropical Education Center at the zoo has cabins equipped with en-suite facilities and kitchenette area.  The cabins are nestled along the edge of a fresh water pond. A visit to the zoo is the best way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize, and to understand why it is important to protect the habitats that sustain them.  
Enjoy a night tour at the zoo. (D)

NOTE: Accommodation at the zoo is basic. An alternate is to spend a night in a lodge outside of Belize City and tour the Baboon Sanctuary and Belize Zoo en-route to the Cayo District on Day 2.
Jaguar
Photo Credit Sabrewing Travel

Day 2: Cayo District

Start your morning with a canoe trip on the Sibune River observing birds, iguanas, monkeys and crocodiles.

After lunch travel to the Cayo District and your lodge where you spend the next 4 nights. Remainder of the day at your leisure. (B,L,D)
house
Photo Credit Sabrewing Travel

Day 3: Mayan Ruins and Caves

To reach Xunantunich or Maiden of the Rock you cross the scenic Mopan River via a hand-cranked ferry. The site was once an important ceremonial centre in the Classic Period with a population of 10,000 people. Climb “El Castillo”, a 130 foot temple, for spectacular views of the towns San Ignacio, Benque Viejo Del Carmen and the Guatemalan countryside.

Lunch at a local restaurant. (not included)

For chocolate lovers enjoy a hands-on Mayan Cacao demonstration. Try your hand at grinding the cacao bean into a fine chocolate paste on a “Metate”. Discover the history and importance of the cacao to the Maya while making your own chocolate bar or drink. (B,D)
Mayan Ruins and Caves

Day 4: Free Day

A free day to relax at the lodge or book one of the lodge’s onsite activities. You may want to wake earlyfor birdwatching with a guide and then leisurely tube down the river in the afternoon. Or you may want to challenge yourself to hike to the Summit Trail peak. And end your day with a night hike. Or you may want to book a full day tour to Tikal, Guatemala…the most well-known Mayan site. (B,L,D)
bird
Photo Credit Sabrewing Travel

Day 5: Maya Mountains

Today transfer to your lodge at the foot of the Maya Mountains.

En-route visit Barton Creek Cave, formerly used by the Maya as a burial and ceremonial site. Paddle about an hour inside the cave with its cathedral ceilings, stalactites and stalagmites. Your guide will point out artifacts, Mayan pottery shards, bones and skulls.  

Continue to the Green Hills Butterfly Ranch. Enjoy a picnic lunch before learning about the life cycle of a butterfly and the ranch’s research studies. Be amazed by the dazzling colours of the butterflies as they flutter around you in the butterfly house. (B,L,D)
butterfly
Photo Credit Sabrewing Travel

Day 6: Maya Mountains

Today enjoy a variety of guided nature activities from birdwatching, jungle hiking and a night hike offered by your lodge. (B,L,D),
Maya Mountains

Day 7: Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM)

ATM was only discovered in 1989. The cave houses ceramics, stoneware and human skeletons. The most famous skeleton is ‘The Crystal Maiden’, a teenage girl probably sacrificed. Her name derives from her bones that sparkle from years of erosion inside the cave. To reach the relics you wade or swim across a large pool before climbing into the cave. (B,L,D)
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
Photo Credit Sabrewing Travel

Day 8: Placencia

Today’s journey takes you from mountains to beach. En-route stop at the Blue Hole National Park and St. Herman’s Cave.

Blue Hole National Park and St. Herman’s Cave are surrounded by dense tropical forest rich with birdlife and wildlife. Traverse Herman’s Cave as your guide points out beautiful speleothems and Mayan artifacts. The Blue Hole was formed by the collapse of an underground limestone cave. The river runs through the cave system forming an azure blue pool fringed with mosses, vines and ferns. A great place for a swim!

Enjoy a picnic lunch at Blue Hole National Park before departing for your beach adventure. (B,L)

Day 9: Snorkel Tour

The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 185-mile barrier reef comprised of atolls, islands and white sand beaches has more than 100 species of coral, hundreds of species of fish and an abundant variety of marine life. Explore this underworld with a local guide. Watch for parrot fish, angel fish, and trumpet fish…to name a few.

If you visit between March and June of each year, you have a chance of encountering the elusive and gentle whale shark. The whale sharks come to feed on snapper who spawn in this area. Not only is it an important biological event but it is also thrilling to see these 40-50 foot creatures. (L)
Snorkel Tour

Day 10: Monkey River Tour

Travel south by boat up the Monkey River lined with mangroves. Hike through the forest looking for green iguanas, gibnut, crocodiles, black howler monkeys and birds too numerous to mention Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the village of Monkey River. On the return journey watch out for manatees. (L)
Monkey River Tour

Day 11: Placencia

Enjoy a day at the beach.

Day 12: Belize City

This morning you transfer to the Placencia Airport for your flight to Belize International Airport and your onward journey.
Placencia

Tour Information

Tour Length: 12 days /11 nights
Departures: Daily 
Minimum Number of People: 2 based on Double Occupancy
Belize: From Rainforest to Beach Includes:
  • Domestic Flights (Placencia-Belize City International Airport)
  • All ground transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • Meals per itinerary (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner)
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees as noted in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guide on excursions and activities
Belize: From Rainforest to Beach Doesn’t Include:
  • International flight
  • Departure tax if applicable
  • Travel Insurance
  • Pre- or post-tour accommodation
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides and driver
  • Personal items

Caves and Maya Ruins

Day 1: Arrive Belize

You arrive at the Belize International Airport where you meet your driver. Travel north to the New River where you board a boat to your lodge.

After dinner, head out on a night river safari on the New River Lagoon in search of Morlet's Crocodiles and other nocturnal wetland creatures. (D)
Arrive Belize
Day 2: Maya Ruins and Sunset Cruise

After breakfast set off for a tour of Lamanai, Belize’s second largest archaeological site. It is known for having the longest history of continuous habitation in the Maya world. The major attraction is the stela of a Maya leader emerging from a crocodile headdress.

Return to the lodge in time for lunch.

Enjoy a sunset cocktail cruise on the New River Lagoon searching for birds and other wildlife. (B,L,D)
Maya Ruins and Sunset Cruise
Day 3: Maya Mountains

Rise early this morning for a either a jungle dawn walk or a sunrise canoe trip. On the jungle dawn walk learn about the habitat and habits of animals such as the jaguar, Black-Howler Monkey, and Keel-Billed Toucans. On the sunrise canoe trip watch for manatees, otters, and crocodiles.

After breakfast travel back down the New River and transfer to Belize City by land where you meet your driver who transfers you to your next adventure.  

En-route visit the Belize Zoo. The Belize Zoo wildlife includes orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated and donated animals, over 45 species native to Belize.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. (not included)

End your journey at an inn located in the Maya Mountains. The inn is situated on 7,200 acres of private nature reserve. It is home to many of Belize’s native cats, raptors and other wildlife. The miles of trails bring you to majestic waterfalls, lush ravines and amazing views. Watch for the over 81 species of wild orchids as you hike the trails. (B,D)
Maya Mountains
Day 4: Caracol and Rio Frio Full Day Excursion

Journey through mountains and pine forest, and cross a river before entering Caracol, surrounded by rainforest. Caracol is the largest Maya ruin in Belize. The Caana or Sky Palace towers above the rainforest at over 145 feet. After exploring Caracol, hike through the Rio Frio Cave and enjoy a picnic lunch at Rio On pools. If time permits enjoy a swim or slide down a natural water slide. (B,L,D)
Caracol and Rio Frio Full Day Excursion
Day 5: Maya Mountains Free Day

A free day to relax at the inn or book one of the inn’s many onsite activities or tours. You may want to wake early for birdwatching with a guide. Or take a complimentary mountain bike out on the 90 miles of trails. Both self-guided and guided hikes and mountain biking is available at the inn. (B,L,D)
Maya Mountains
Photo Credit Sabrewing Travel
Day 6: Cayo District

After breakfast, travel to the San Antonio Maya Village for a cultural tour and demonstration from a traditional Mayan Shaman.  

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in San Antonio Maya Village. (not included)

Continue your journey to the banks of the Macal River, the location of your lodge. (B,D)
Cayo District
Day 7: Choice of Activity

Today choose from either a visit to Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM) or Offerings Cave and Sapodilla Waterfalls.

ATM was only discovered in 1989. The cave houses ceramics, stoneware and human skeletons. The most famous skeleton is ‘The Crystal Maiden’, a teenage girl, probably sacrificed. Her name derives from her bones that sparkle from years of erosion inside the cave. To reach the relics you wade or swim across a large pool before climbing into the cave.

With the Offerings Cave and Sapodilla Waterfalls, choose ether the Hilltop Cave or Blancaneaux Cave.  

Find Hilltop Cave after a thrilling 1-hour drive to the top of a hill. Here there is a natural sink hole. Enter the sink hole by a ladder with ropes and safety lines on the low side or rappel 70 feet on the high side. It isn’t a large cave but it contains Maya artifacts.

Enter the Blancaneaux Cave on a 12 foot ladder. The main chamber is dry with a ribbed surface from years of running water. Look for formations such as helictites.

Sapodilla Waterfalls is only accessible from the lodge’s property, in a remote and untouched location. The falls consist of several pools with cascading water and a total drop of over 100 feet. There are several ways to enjoy the waterfalls. Take a short ride to the top of the waterfalls and rappel down. From the bottom pool of the falls climb up the side of the falls. Or relax and swim in the cool water. (B,L,D)
Cayo pots
Photo Credit Sabrewing Travel
Day 8: Tikal, Guatemala

Rise early for a full day trip to Tikal in Guatemala - arguably the largest and most famous of all the Maya sites. Your guide will provide an in-depth introduction to the site. Besides enjoying the tour of this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site, you may hear the guttural calls of howler monkeys and the beautiful symphony ​of tropical birds.​ (B,L,D)​

Tikal, Guatemala
Day 9: Departure

This morning transfer to Belize City for your onward journey. (B)
Departure

Tour Information

Tour Length: 9 days /8 nights
Departures: Daily 
Minimum Number of People: 2 based on Double Occupancy
Caves and Maya Ruins Includes:
  • All ground transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Meals per itinerary (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner)
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees as noted in the itinerary
  • Border crossing fees between Belize and Guatemala
  • English-speaking guide on excursions and activities
Caves and Maya Ruins Doesn't Include:​ Include:
  • International flight
  • Departure tax if applicable
  • Travel Insurance
  • Pre- or post-tour accommodation
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides and driver
  • Personal items

Ambergris Caye Extension

Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island. Its twenty-five miles of shore is surrounded by the blue Caribbean Sea and protected by the second largest barrier reef in the world. The town of San Pedro is about a mile long and only a few blocks wide. Some streets are still made of sand. There are very few cars and trucks as most places can be easily accessed by walking, cycling, water taxi and golf carts. Ambergris Caye’s barrier reef is popular with scuba divers and snorkelers as well as a variety of other water sports. There is even birdwatching, cycling and hiking on the island.
Day 1: Arrive Ambergris Caye

After a 15 minute flight from Belize City you arrive in the village of San Pedro. You are met and transferred to the accommodation of your choice. Spend the remainder of the day relaxing at the beach. (B)
Arrive Ambergris Caye
Day 2: Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is Belize’s first marine reserve. It is home to tropical fish, nurse sharks, Moray eels, stingrays, corals and sea turtles. Your guide points out the amazing marine life as you snorkel. Your tour continues to Shark Ray Alley where you can swim with nurse sharks, sting rays and large schools of fish.

Remainder of the day at your leisure. Relax at the beach, rent kayaks or bikes or stroll through the shops in San Pedro. (B,L)
Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley
Day 3: Ambergris Caye

Free day. (B)
Ambergris Caye
Day 4: Departure

Transfer to the San Pedro Airport for your flight to Belize City and your onward journey. (B)
Departure

Tour Information

Tour Length: 4 days / 3 nights
Departures: Daily 
Minimum Number of People: 2 based on Double Occupancy
Ambergris Caye Includes::
  • Domestic Flight
  • All ground transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • Accommodation of your choice
  • Meals per itinerary (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner)
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley tour
Ambergris Caye Doesn’t Include:
  • International flight
  • Departure tax if applicable
  • Travel Insurance
  • Pre- or post-tour accommodation
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides and driver
  • Personal items

Explore Toledo

Day 1: Arrive Belize

You arrive at the Belize International Airport and transfer to a local flight to Punta Gorda. Meet your driver at the Punta Gorda airport and drive to your guesthouse, your home for the next 5 nights.

Your guesthouse offers the best of both worlds: accommodation in a lovely jungle setting, yet only a couple of miles from "downtown" Punta Gorda. Intentionally small and quiet, they have just six rooms. The bar is at the heart of the Guest House, acting as reception, bar, meeting area, and restaurant serving breakfast and dinner. There are over a mile of nature trails on site offering good birding opportunities, regular sightings of the resident troop of howler monkeys, and assorted other critters. (D)
Arrive Belize
Photo: Sabrewing Travel
Day 2: Lubaantun and Blue Creek

After breakfast depart with your guide to the Maya archaeological site, Lubaantun, or Place of Fallen Stones. Lubaantun is the largest ceremonial centre in the Toledo District, located near the village of San Pedro Columbia above a tributary to the Columbia River. Built in the Late Classic Period it consists of eleven major structures, grouped around five main plazas, and is noted for its stonework, rounded ‘corners’, and being the supposed home of the infamous Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull.

After your tour of Lubaantun, continue south-west to the village of Blue Creek and begin your jungle hike through the Blue Creek Rainforest Preserve -- home to huge bromeliads, orchids, cohunes palms and heliconias, all interwoven with jungle vines. Following the river bank, the trail leads you to Hokeb Ha cave – one of the most impressive natural sites in Toledo, and used for ceremonial purposes in times gone by. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the entrance pool, or don lifejackets and headlamps for cave swimming up to a series of small underground waterfalls. (For those who prefer dry caving, or in the event water levels prevent safe access to Blue Creek, you will visit Tiger Cave instead.) (B,D)
Lubaantun and Blue Creek
Photo: Sabrewing Travel
Day 3: Living Maya Experience

This will be a day steeped in the Maya culture, visiting two Kekchi Maya families in Big Falls village. The Living Maya Experience gives you a fascinating glimpse into a fast disappearing world in which they depended on the land to provide for everything from food to medicine, furniture to entertainment. The Cal family showcase a traditional Maya home, complete with a bark bed and traditional low seats. You see how they press juice from sugar cane with a hand-crafted ‘mangle’, the different types of corn they grow, the soapberries for washing your hands, and the calabash used to fashion bowls and cups. Their kitchen garden reveals an array of plants, herbs and spices used to season food, and you then help prepare a traditional meal, which you enjoy for lunch.

After lunch, the nearby Chiac family will introduce you to the world of Maya crafts, and only when you visit will you understand just how much work goes into making crafts, from turning jungle vines into basket weaving material, or processing henequen fibres into rope for making hammocks. Try your hand at making a basket, or taking a turn at using the waist loom used to weave the traditional Cuxtal bags. (B,L)
Living Maya Experience
Photo: Sabrewing Travel
Day 4: Port Of Honduras Marine Reserve And Snake Cayes

The offshore cayes of the Toledo District are one of Belize's undiscovered gems, teeming with marine life, but with very few tourists! Enjoy a day of snorkelling and swimming, the chance of manatee and dolphin sightings, and optional fishing on your return journey! Established in 2000, the Port Honduras Marine Reserve lies just north of Punta Gorda Town and is managed by TIDE, a local NGO. It’s an area recognized for its high biodiversity, and one which serves as habitat for various endangered species. Your tour takes you first to Abalone Caye - home to the TIDE ranger station, and its lookout tower for some fantastic views of the Marine Reserve. You’ll learn about TIDE’s work in protecting the Marine Reserve, and their success stories in reversing the decline of species, coral degradation, and the sea grass beds. From there you’ll head north-east to the lovely West Snake Caye, a small mangrove island with a white sand beach, located on a fringe coral reef system. You see fan, brain, and fire coral, sponges and crabs, lobster, and numerous fish, from grunts, parrot fish, trumpet fish, blue tang, snapper, angel fish, yellow-tail damsel fish, and many more! Relax on the beach with your picnic lunch, before heading back to Punta Gorda mid-afternoon with optional fishing on your return journey. (B,BL)
Port Of Honduras Marine Reserve And Snake Cayes
Photo: Sabrewing Travel
Day 5: Chocolate and Rio Blanco National Park

Toledo is home to some of the world’s finest cacao, highly prized for its quality and flavour. You guide will take you to visit Agouti Farm to meet Mr Eladio and his family to learn about the Maya history of chocolate, see how the cacao is grown, and taste the beans direct from the cacao pod! Help to roast and grind cacao with traditional stone tools, and enjoy the local ‘kukuh ukul’ cacao drink.

After a traditional Maya lunch continue your journey to Rio Blanco National Park, with its limestone boulders and shady trees lining the riverbanks. This 105 acre park was established in 1994 by the villagers of Santa Cruz and Santa Elena, and is home to a wide range of fauna and flora, and is a good site for birdwatching. The Park features a small trail network and a hammock bridge spanning the Rio Blanco river, but is perhaps best known for its lovely waterfall and deep swimming hole. (B,D)
Chocolate and Rio Blanco National Park
Day 6: Placencia

This morning transfer to the Punta Gorda airport for your flight to Placencia. You are met at the Placencia airport and transferred to your beach hotel.

Spend the next three days exploring the Placencia area. (B)
Placencia
Day 7: Placencia

Enjoy a day relaxing on the beach. Or you may want to arrange tours offered by your beach hotel: take a 25 minute glass bottom canoe to False Caye, a mangrove caye with inner lakes surrounded by coral and tropical fish or snorkel (equipment provided or you can bring your own), kayak, cycle, hike or fish. Alternatively you may want to visit Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary where you may get a glimpse of a jaguar. (B)
Placencia
Photo: Sabrewing Travel
Day 8: Placenica

Free day to enjoy beach life. (B)
Placencia
Day 9: Belize City

This morning you transfer to the Placenica Airport for your flight to Belize International Airport and your journey home. (B)

Tour Information

Tour Length: 9 days /8 nights
Departures: Daily 
Minimum Number of People: 2 based on Double Occupancy
Explore Toledo Includes:
  • Domestic Flight
  • All ground transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Meals per itinerary (B= Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner)
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees as noted in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guide on excursions and activities
*Note that the restaurant at the Punta Gorda guesthouse is closed for dinner on Wednesday and Saturday so only 3 nights of dinner have been included in the package. For the other two meals, you may travel into Punta Gorda for dinner at a local restaurant.
Explore Toledo Doesn’t Include:
  • International flight
  • Departure tax if applicable
  • Travel Insurance
  • Pre- or post-tour accommodation
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Excursions, activities, and entrance fees not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides and driver
  • Personal items
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