Family Belizean Adventures    *alt*

14 days, from £1899
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Description

Belize is home to very diverse cultures, an array of exciting wildlife and numerous animals that inhabit its rainforests and seas. Experience the historic and living culture of the Maya as we travel through jungles to discover ancient pyramids and visit local markets. On the Caribbean Island of Caye Caulker, we have the opportunity to relax and snorkel with a wide variety of marine life including stingrays and turtles on the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere.

TRIPLE ROOMS

This trip allows the option for triple rooms to be included within the booking on a selected number of night stops within the holiday. If you would like this option, a discount may be applicable on the cost of the trip - please ask our Sales team for further information.

Tour comfort rating: standard

Tour pace rating: full-on

Itinerary


 Day 1 Arrive Belize City

Land only clients arrive to Belize City and check-in at hotel. Belize City was the capital of Belize until 1970 at which time it moved to Belmopan and is a typical Caribbean town. Parts of the town are still largely built of wood and galvanised iron, with many of the original colonial style houses in an elegant state of disrepair. There is also a canal system through the old part of town and a hand cranked colonial swing bridge that spans the Haulover creek separating the north and south side of the city from where the local lobster fishing boats and canoes depart. Creole English is widely spoken. Clients on the group flight from London will spend this first night in the United States, usually in Houston.
Meals included: none
Single room option


 Day 2 Visit Community Baboon Sanctuary. Drive to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

This morning is free in Belize City. We then drive along the coastal road to pick up the people joining from London at the international airport, before stopping at the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Here we have a chance of up close encounters with the world's second loudest land mammal - the Yucatecan black howler monkeys in their natural habitat and we learn about the close relationship these animals have with local people who benefit from their protection - confusingly the local people call the monkeys 'baboons'. Later in the afternoon, we arrive at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, an important wetland habitat where we settle down for two nights enjoying the hospitality of our local hosts on the shores of the Crooked Tree Lagoon. If the weather is fine we may take a sunset cruise on the lagoon in search of Green Iguanas and countless birds.
Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
Single room option


 Day 3 Boat trip to jungle Mayan site of Lamanai

If we failed to do the sunset cruise yesterday we can rise early this morning to explore the lagoon by boat if we were unable to the day before. In this birdwatchers paradise we may spot wood stork, boat-billed heron, vultures, kingfishers, grebes, hawks, snail kites, jacanas and, perhaps most notable of all, the rare jabiru - the largest flying bird in the hemisphere with a wingspan of up to 4 metres. We return to the lodge for breakfast and then set off by vehicle to the New River and Tower Hill bridge for the boat ride upstream to the 2000 year old jungle ruins of Lamanai. Water birds are abundant in the ancient rainforest cover and freshwater crocodiles may be spotted lurking along the river bank. Lamanai, the original name of these Maya ruins, means 'Submerged Crocodile', which helps to explain the numerous carved crocodile representations at the site. The ruins are only partially cleared, most of the structures are still consumed by the surrounding rainforest with its thick canopy of huge trees, the humid atmosphere adds an aura of mystery to the scattered and overgrown relics. There is some evidence that the Maya practised human sacrifice here.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Single room option


 Day 4 Walk trails around Crooked Tree and lagoon. Visit Belize Zoo. Drive to San Ignacio

This morning we can explore Crooked Tree village further, walking some of the lagoon and village trails. This was one of the first settlements the British made in the area in the early 17th century. Testimony to this is the many Scottish titles and surnames that still exist! The extraction of logwood for textile dyes is what brought the original settlers here and we can still see the logwood tree growing commonly along the shores today. After breakfast we leave by bus and travel west via the Belize Zoo, home to many of the regions exotic animals. The Zoo is a rescue centre for sick and injured as well as illegally confiscated animals. It is a wonderful opportunity to get up close to many of the forest's more elusive animals and learn about their behavior and habitat. We then continue on to San Ignacio, a traditional Belizean town and an ideal place to base ourselves for the next couple of days. Straddling the Macal River which was once a critical transportation artery for the Maya and later the European settlers, it is now a centre for visiting ancient Mayan sites, caves and canoeing which are all on offer from this scenic town surrounded by jungle.
Meals included: Breakfast
Single room option


 Day 5 In San Ignacio; visit to Xunantunich

Today we make a visit to the great classical Maya site of Xunantunich, Mayan for 'Rock Stone Maiden'. We travel the short distance to the area by bus, then cross the River Macal by traditional hand-winched ferry to arrive at the site. Occupied until about 850 AD, the main plaza is dominated by an awesome structure called El Castillo - a massive pyramid which rises to 40 metres. On the top is a partially restored stucco frieze representing the Sun God and astronomical signs of the Moon and Venus. The superb view from the summit looks out over the forest with the Maya mountains to the south and the lowlands of Guatemala to the west. The afterrnoon is free to explore the local area, including the Mayan underworld on an optional cave canoeing adventure.
Meals included: Breakfast
Single room option


 Day 6 Free day with optional tours around the area including Tikal, a UNESCO World Herital Site

San Ignacio is at the heart of Belize's (small) inland tourism and offers many different activities. Today you can choose from several different optional tours in the surrounding area. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal just over the border in Guatemala is one of those options. Set in one of the America's greatest forest reserves known as "The Maya Biosphere", Tikal and the surrounding forest are also home to many endangered animal species that are often seen here, living amongst one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. Abandoned in the 10th century and rediscovered 900 years later, this huge site lies amongst an example of more than 1000 years of undisturbed tropical forest regrowth. Other optional tours include a visit to the archaeological site of Cahal Pech or a trip through the Mountain Pine Ridge area includes stops at beautiful waterfalls and pools for swimming as well as informative walks through the jungle. You may wish to visit the Belize botanical gardens and jungle lodge where we can tour the gardens, lunch, and then paddle back to San Ignacio along the Macal river, rich in birdlife, butterflies and iguanas
Meals included: Breakfast
Single room option


 Day 7 Travel to the Blue Hole National Park and Green Valley Project Organic Farm, boat to Tobacco Caye.

Today we head south along one of Central America's most scenic highways - the Hummingbird highway. Our first stop will be at the Blue Hole National Park operated and run by the Belize Audobon conservation society, here broad leaf semi deciduous rainforests cover the limestone cliffs and many of the caves in the region, we hope to be able to visit a large cave complex and swim in a crystal clear limestone sink hole surrounded by lush jungle. Continuing along the highway through orange and cacao groves we will stop at a local organic farm and tree planting project for lunch. We can learn about local food products and may even have the opportunity to plant a tree on our visit and help to keep Belize green. Our final destination is the tropical island of Tobacco Caye, located 10 miles off the coast, a 20 minute boat ride from Dangriga Town. As one of the smallest island in Belize, Tobacco Caye has an intimate, relaxed feel with a host of activities to choose from. We stay in cabins right on the reef's edge overlooking the ocean at the delightful Joe Jo's by the reef resort.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner


 Day 8 Free day with optional trips including snorkelling in the Belize barrier reef system

Tobacco Caye measures just 200 feet wide and 400 feet long. Optional trips include visiting the small coral cayes, such as Bird Island a renowned local bird sanctuary. There are excellent snorkeling opportunities in the World Heritage Site of the Belize barrier reef system off the island as well as fishing tours, manatee watching and tours to nearby islands. A full list of costs of these activities is provided in the optional excursion section. Alternatively you can play beach volleyball, use one of the hotels kayaks or simply unwind in a hammock overlooking the ocean.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner


 Day 9 To Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve, home of jaguar. Walk reserve trails and stay in jungle lodge

We return to the mainland by boat, heading to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve. Southern Belize has a low population density and high forest cover, ideal conditions for one of the world's rarest big cats - the Jaguar. The reserve is the only one of a few throughout the world, and is a protected area designated especially for the protection of this elusive creature. It is thought that the area is home to one the densist populations of Jaguars in the America's. Although we are unlikely to see them their prints are commonly found and numerous other animals make the National Park their home. Staying in the heart of this jungle environment is a unique experience, getting to know both the forest and the local Mopan Maya population that today protect it and benefit from the tourist industry around the park.
Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
Single room option


 Day 10 Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Sanctuary

Today we explore the park and its numerous trails. The park is considered the best inland national park in the country owing in part to the extensive network of trails through out. There are marked trails as short as 15 minutes and as long as four days in length! We intend to explore a number of the trails along the creeks and rivers as well as climbing to view points that offer stunning views of the expanse of green tropical forest throughout this mountainous area. In the evening we will explore by night through this enchanting location. As we walk we will be looking for the wildlife hiding amongst the vegetation and searching for jaguar footprints.
Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Single room option


 Day 11 Drive to Belize City, water taxi to Caye Caulker

We leave the park this morning and head towards Belize City to take a water taxi to Caye Caulker. Once a pirate lair, this tiny but enchanting tropical island lies 34km northeast of Belize City and about 1.6km inside the greatest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. The water taxi transfer takes about an hour and is a highlight in itself, speeding through the turquoise waters. The island remains uncrowded and unluxurious, with relatively modest prices in restaurants and bars, owned and run by the friendliest of local people. The local fishermen catch lobster, conch, fish and crab to supply the domestic and foreign markets, so fresh seafood is readily available. (Lobster is the best buy when in season from Jun to Feb). There's time to relax - our hotel has a small beach with can accommdate volley ball and basketball courts. The location is ideal to enjoy a number of optional trips. You may take a snorkelling trip out to the nearby Hol Chan Marine Reserve & 'Shark and Ray Alley', or take a full day trip out to Swallow Caye to observe the manatees in their natural mangrove habitat. Scuba diving is also available. (All optional).
Meals included: Breakfast
Single room option


 Day 12 Free time on Caye Caulker

A free day to do as much or as little as you wish, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Caye Caulker.The island remains uncrowded and unluxurious, and the local fishermen catch lobster, conch, fish and crab to supply domestic and foreign markets. It's a popular place with backpackers, so there is a proliferation of good, reasonably priced restaurants. There's time to relax or enjoy a number of optional trips. You may take a snorkelling trip out to the nearby Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark and Ray Alley, or take a full-day trip out to the Manatee Reserve to observe manatee in their natural mangrove habitat. Scuba diving is also available.
Meals included: none
Single room option


 Day 13 Free time in Caye Caulker

Another free day to relax or enjoy the optional activities available. Although the hotel does not have a restaurant, cafes, bakeries and shops are all a short walk away in the town itself. You have to choice to dine here or return to the hotel with its beach front location from where you can eat while watching the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and white sandy beaches.
Meals included: none
Single room option


 Day 14 Tour ends Belize City

Today we return in the morning to Belize City by water taxi, where our tour ends.
Meals included: none


Tour Map