This comprehensive tour delves deep into the heart of Belize's historic and natural wonders; combining mysterious Mayan sites shrouded by dense jungles, river trips, wildlife spotting and enjoying the turquoise Caribbean waters off the coast of this small but fascinating country.
The adventure starts in the remote Orange Walk District. Amid the remnant of one of Belize's major Mayan cities, Lamanai Outpost Lodge sits on the banks of a lagoon surrounded by wildlife. Explore the jungle clad ruins, go on boat trips to spot many resident species of mammals and birds and discover this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Continue to the Cayo District to explore this lush rainforest area. While away your days tubing down the river, hiking and/or biking through nature trails, exploring some of the country's best-known Mayan sites such as Caracol and Xunantunich or delving deep into the regions vast network of caves.
Belize's Toledo district, close to Punta Gorda is the next stop. Boasting the country's highest concentration of traditional Mayan villages, visitors will notice an intriguing mixture of Mayan, Garifuna and Mennonite communities. Spend your days exploring waterfalls, ruins and scenic islands just offshore before finishing at a beautiful beach retreat close to Placencia.
Day 1 Take the daytime flight from London to Miami arriving late afternoon. Overnight at an airport hotel such as the DoubleTree by Hilton or take a short taxi ride to trendy South Beach and enjoy the city buzz for the evening.
Day 2 This morning, take a short flight from Miami to Belize City. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred North to the Orange Walk District (approximately 3 hours). This area comprises of steamy jungle rivers, wilderness and wildlife, and some of the country's most important Mayan ruins. Factor in a handful of first-rate jungle lodges and the fact that visitors are few and far between, and you've got a near-perfect scenario: by day, you can play the intrepid jungle explorer, by night, you can return to a thatch-roof villa and a bottle of red. Spend the next 3 nights at the Lamanai Outpost Lodge, located on the banks of Lamanai Lagoon and just yards from one of Belize's most fascinating archaeological site of Lamanai, this is the perfect place to start your Belizean adventure! Arrive to the lodge aboard a tranquil river boat, spotting wildlife as you go. Your stay here is all inclusive with many excursions to choose from each day.
Day 3 Staying just yards from the Lamanai archaeological site means accessing these incredible ruins before many other visitors arrive. Known for their impressive architecture and jungle setting, the ruins are surrounded by dense rainforest overlooking the New River Lagoon. As you wander, listen out for the howler monkeys high up in the trees, spot lizards and colourful birds and butterflies. The name Lamanai means "submerged crocodile" in Maya, so you don't need two guesses at which animal may lurk in the waters of the nearby lagoon! Although not as big as some other Mayan sites, this was once a thriving city, home to 20,000 people for over 3000 years. Visit three temples, a ball court and several other small building. The highest temple rises an imperious 33m above the jungle canopy providing excellent views over the river and the surrounding countryside.
Day 4 During your stay at Lamanai Outpost Lodge, choose from a variety of excursions from jungle walks at dawn, night walks, canoe expeditions, learning about traditional Mayan medicine (as the only resource for medicinal aid, indigenous people have long used a wide variety of local plants for their powerful and effective medicinal properties), boat trips along the river including a sunset cocktail cruise. All are accompanied by a naturalist guide who will teach you the intricacies of this region and point out the abundant wildlife along the way. Your stay includes two excursions per night's stay. Being surrounded by an incredible variety of habitats that facilitate unsurpassed nature based and soft-adventure activities, depart right from your cabaña without any need for day-trips. Some of the wildlife in the area include that of the jaguar, the impressive black howler monkey, the jaguarundi and the vividly-colored Keel-Billed toucan.
Day 5 Travel by boat and by road to the Cayo District. Spend the next 3 nights at Chaa Creek. This family run lodge offers palm-thatched cottages nestled along the banks of the Macal river in a setting of unmatched beauty. The property is rated as one of the world's best Eco Lodges and is within a 400 acre nature reserve offering a wide range of exciting activities. On the grounds are a medicinal plants trail, a blue morpho butterfly farm, horse stables, an organic farm, biking and hiking trails as well as one of the best spa's in the country. Delicious cuisine is served in a romantic al fresco dining area. This afternoon, relax by Chaa Creek's beautifully appointed, fresh water swimming pool.
Day 6 Today is at leisure. Explore one of the world's most pristine ecosystems surrounding Chaa Creek Lodge, choose from a number of nature trails and spot birds, butterflies and flora along the way. Relax by the pool or alternatively Rainbow Tours can organise a variety of excursions in the local area to waterfalls, caves, the botanical gardens and enigmatic Mayan archaeological sites.
Day 7 Day at leisure. Rainbow Tours highly recommends visiting Caracol, the largest Mayan archaeological site in Belize, with its towering pyramid (Caana) rising over 140 feet above the jungle floor, from where there are impressive views of the jungle. After stop off for a cooling dip in its nearby fresh water pools. Why not kayak through the mysterious Barton Creek Cave system? Gently paddle your canoe along the scenic creek and, with lights shining, venture into the dark, winding cave system known as a Mayan underworld. Stalactites hang high overhead as you float past impressive calcite crystal formations in cathedral-like chambers.
Day 8 Depart the Cayo District in time for a short scheduled flight down to the southern coastal town of Punta Gorda in Toledo district. Often referred to as Belize's Forgotten District, this region is home to unspoilt nature beauty, a melting pot of cultures, astonishing diversity from the cacophonous wildlife of the jungle, the nearby reefs and the small Mayan villages dotting the countryside. Transfer from the airstrip to the beautiful eco-lodge, Copal Tree Lodge (formerly Belcampo Lodge). The lodge looks out over a 12,000 acre nature reserve that encompasses pristine rainforest, a sugar cane plantation, cacao trees, tropical gardens and an organic farm. Listen out for the cries of the howler monkeys and spot toucans hoping among the branches from your veranda.
Day 9 The next two days are at leisure to relax or enjoy the included activities on offer at Copal Tree Lodge.Tucked away in a pristine forest where the Rio Grande meets the Caribbean, there is no shortage of activities for guests. Explore the river by kayak, canoe or on a guided fishing excursion. Meander through the tropical gardens or take a guided hike through the lush surrounding forest. Keep an eye out for iguanas, birds, monkeys and other jungle dwellers. Learn about heritage crops such as coffee, chocolate and rum at the on-site organic farm. Spot rare and common birds species accompanied by an expert guide at dawn or dusk or why not head out on a bike to hit the narrow lanes of nearby Punta Gorda.
Day 10 Another day for further exploration of the Toledo District. There are many excursions (payable locally) guests can choose from, from visiting the nearby ruins of Lubaantun, horse riding, a culinary tour, a cocktail mixology class, jungle foraging t...
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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