Boasting the world's second largest coral reef, a wealth of ancient Mayan archealogical sites, abundant flora and fauna in its steamy rainforests and of course a laid-back Caribbean vibe, the tiny country of Belize is a little slice of paradise waiting to be explored!
In this three-centred adventure, pretend you are an intrepid explorer at the jungle clad ruins of Lamanai, discover a wealth of wildlife and delve deep into the enigmatic history of the Maya.
Next stop is the Cayo District, a vast highland stretch of rainforests, extensive cave systems, Mayan ruins and remote, rugged terrain. Spend your days spotting monkeys in the trees as you tube down the river, swimming in pristine pools formed by waterfalls, hiking, biking and exploring the stunning natural surroundings. With over 60% of this area being either a national park, forest or wildlife sanctuary, spot everything from toucans, jaguars, iridescent butterflies and parrots.
End your adventure on the palm-fringed beaches of Ambergris Caye, sip cocktails by the pool or find a shady patch of powder white sand to read a book. For the adventure seekers, discover world-class snorkelling and diving.
Day 1 Today depart the UK to Miami in the USA for an overnight stay (due to flight schedules - subject to change).
Day 2 This morning depart Miami on a short flight 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 Maya 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. At 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 Today you will be taken to the Cayo District. Located in the western section of the country and bordering Guatemala's department of El Petén, the Cayo District is a vast highland stretch of rainforests, ranches, and some of the country's most remote and rugged terrain. It's a region you head to not for beaches, but rather for Maya ruins, extensive cave systems, and the chance to explore the great outdoors on foot, by horse, or in a kayak, raft, or canoe. The country's capital, Belmopan, is located here, but the real hub of the district is San Ignacio, a small town with colonial-era streets and a funky medley of restaurants and shops. Some of Cayo's not-to-miss attractions include the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the Barton Creek cave, and the ancient Maya city of Caracol. Spend the next 3 nights at Black Rock Lodge. This evening, head out with an experienced guide to explore the rainforest under the cover of darkness. Spot a variety of nocturnal creatures such as the red eye tree frog, tarantulas, snakes, and many other incredible species.
Day 6 Travel through the scenic Mountain Pine Ridge area before going off road to the mysterious Barton Creek Cave system. Along the way, pass through a traditional Mennonite community where horse and carriage rule the road. Then pick up your paddle and high-powered light for your half-day expedition into the Barton Creek Cave, used by the ancient Maya as a ceremonial centre and burial site. 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. Knowledgeable guides leading this tranquil, low-intensity adventure discuss the relevance of the cave to the ancient Mayan people and the archaeological significance of this 7.5-kilometre (4-mile) limestone formation.
Day 7 Today is at leisure to enjoy the surrounds of the lodge. In a stunning and remote location on the banks of the Macal River in the Mayan Mountains, guest can enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding and tubing all on the property. For those seeking further adventure and more Mayan ruins, Rainbow Tours recommends a full day to Caracol. The most famous of Belize's Mayan treasures, surrounded by thick jungle. On the way back to the lodge, stop off at Rio Frio Cave for a refreshing dip in its pools.
Day 8 Today depart the Cayo District by road to San Ignacio airport. Board a Tropic Air flight (approx 1hr) to Ambergris Caye. The largest of Belize's islands, Ambergris Caye runs parallel to the magnificent Belize Barrier Reef. Once home to the ancient Maya (they created the island by digging a channel between it and Mexico), Ambergris is located 56 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Belize City and is accessible by boat or plane. It's a popular destination for diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, kayaking, and windsurfing. Formerly a fishing village, San Pedro is the island's only town; its sandy streets are lined with waterfront restaurants, hotels, tiki bars, and dive shops. Spend the next 3 nights at Portofino Beach Resort.
Day 9 Day at leisure to enjoy this beautiful Caribbean island. Located on a lovely stretch of beach on the northern shore of Ambergris Island - Portofino is away from the bustle of San Pedro town but still accessible by boat. It offers fantastic views, great diving and snorkeling, all in a personal, laid back and casual atmosphere. For those adventure seekers, Rainbow Tours recommends doing a half day Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley snorkel tour. Explore the breathtaking marine life flourishing in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Hol Chan, which me...
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