Discover the best of it all on this handcrafted two-week tour with several days in Ambergris Caye, several in Western Belize, and a short jaunt to Guatemala and Tikal. Search for jaguars, ride in a canoe and tube, explore the Mayan underworld, and snorkel with sharks. Belize is an indelibly relaxed country that is epitomized by white island beaches and deserted Caribbean coastlines.
Ambergris Caye – Laid-Back Island Life
You will land in Belize City and continue your journey in a small plane with a 15-minute flight to Ambergris Caye. Dreamy views will appear from the window as you touch down on the narrow island. Just 25 miles long and only a mile across, this slither of land is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Your hotel will be situated on the coast just a short drive from the charms of San Pedro Town. Laid-back and low-key, Ambergris Caye epitomizes the allure of the Caribbean.
Ambergris Caye – Snorkeling Expedition
A vibrant marine world can be found just below the water’s surface. Schools of unusual fish play around the coral, rays can be spotted on the ocean floor, turtles drift from the depths, and reef sharks spend their time in the shallows. This is an accessible world, even for those who have never snorkeled before. You will begin your snorkeling adventure at Hol Chan Marine Reserve before concluding at Shark Ray Alley, which is a site that quickly lives up to its name. After a morning in the water, your afternoon will be free to enjoy the beach.
Ambergris Caye – The Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole is nature’s marine portrait, and fresh colors fill the scene. You will have the choice of two experiences to choose from: you can helicopter above the Great Blue Hole for stunning views of nature’s portrait or scuba dive into the depths. Like yesterday, this will be a morning of adventure that will be followed by a serene afternoon on the beach, perhaps with sunset cocktails at a San Pedro beach bar.
Ambergris Caye – Maya History and Culture
Today, you will venture to Lamanai. Much of the site is still being excavated, and this only will only add to its charm as you explore the site. Here, you can admire the stucco frieze of a jaguar, climb the steps to panoramic views from the Jaguar Temple summit, and admire the enormous Maya king stone mask. Traveling to this ruined city is part of the experience. It requires a 26-mile boat journey past crocodiles, spider monkeys, and river otters. Orange Walk will then introduce you to Belize’s past and present. On today’s tour, you will visit a Mennonite village, discover the Banquitas House of Culture, and walk across a raised walkway between two Maya ceremonial sites.
San Ignacio – Cave Tubing and Exploring
Today, you will hop onto a water-taxi and transfer to the mainland. Here, you will meet your driver for a journey through Belize’s interior. Your destination will be San Ignacio, which is a small town that is flanked by thick swathes of forest. On the way, you will stop at a maze of underground rivers and caves. Here, you can enjoy a unique means of exploration. You will sit back in your rubber inner tube and float through the caves with a headlamp. Sounds will lead you downriver, especially when dripping water suggests a break in the cave’s roof. This will be an activity that is unique to Belize, and it is only the start of what you will discover in the interior.
San Ignacio – Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve
Another cave will be your destination this morning, although your experience will be very different from yesterday. You will traverse Barton Creek in a canoe for a relaxing paddle through cathedral-like chambers and cavernous natural rooms. Eventually, you will reach a sacrificial Maya site, and you can still see evidence of poetry and human remains. Your morning adventure will be followed by a great hike into Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve. Ascending through the pine, you will soon reach Caracol, which is a Maya pyramid that is the tallest structure in Belize.
San Ignacio – Mayan Xunantunich
Xunantunich never looks real. Even as you are walking up the ancient steps to El Castillo or standing beneath Maya arches, the scale and the setting make this site feel like a place of fiction. After a relaxing morning in and around San Ignacio, you can spend your afternoon at Xunantunich. First, you will take a ferry across a green river, stroll through trees to temples that seem to appear from nowhere, and cross green landscapes to El Castillo. The East Frieze drawings will help start a discussion about Maya culture and life, and the views from the summit of El Castillo stretch all the way to Guatemala.
San Ignacio – Actun Tunichil Muknal
Actun Tunichil Muknal is one of Central America’s most surreal sites, and vast Maya ceremonial caves were only discovered a few decades ago. The sheer abundance of artifacts creates an eerie atmosphere, and you will get a real sense of Maya culture. This will be a full-day tour that involves quite a bit of hiking and swimming, which will lead you through the caves and to its different halls and chambers. For those who want to explore more than Belize’s coast, these caves are usually the highlight of the country.
Tikal (Guatemala) – A Lost City in the Jungle
Tikal rises from the jungle with its pyramids. Temple steps are shrouded in moss, and ruins crumble beneath overhanging branches. As you walk through the forest, the sights will burst from the trees, and the lack of other visitors will maintain the feeling of seclusion. While there are many Maya sites across Central America, none have such a surreal setting. You will begin the day by crossing the border to Guatemala and checking in to a lodge just beyond the Tikal ruins. You will then spend the afternoon at the site. Here, you can wander the forest paths with your local guide and discover the extravagant remains of the once flourishing site.
Placencia – Sunrise From Tikal
By staying near Tikal, you can be back in the ancient city before dawn. With a flashlight, you will begin the day by walking to Tikal’s main temple to climb up its steps for a sunrise surprise. Watching the sun as it rises over the jungle will be well worth the early start. Afterward, you will fly to Placencia. You will touch down mid-morning and have an early lunch at your luxury lodge. In the afternoon, you will set off on the classic Placencia adventure: a boat tour on the Monkey River.
Placencia – Biking Placencia
Placencia has become Belize’s luxury hangout. The diving and snorkeling here are superb, and the inland adventures reveal untouched rainforests and rivers. Most people travel around in golf carts rather than motorized vehicles. Your stay here will be serene and sublime, especially with your accommodation being at one of Central America’s finest luxury lodges. You can spend the day relaxing around the lodge and on the beach. You can also take one of the bicycles into the town for a look at the cafes and restaurants. After ten days of activities, today will be all about catching your breath.
Placencia – Snorkeling in Gladden Split
Today, you can enjoy another adventure on the water, and the marine life can be a nice contrast to what you discovered at Ambergris Caye. From April to June, Gladden Spit is a haven for whale sharks. At any time of the year, there is a whole marine reserve to discover. Here, you can spot fish of all manners of colors in addition to sea turtles. You can choose to snorkel or scuba dive from the boat before returning to the lodge for another quiet afternoon on the coast. While so many Caribbean islands have become overrun with tourism, Placencia showcases a place on the sea that remains as blissful as it always has been.
Placencia – More Beach Hours
Wild and wondrous, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary symbolizes the allure of southern Belize. The land remains off the beaten path and has roughly 200 endangered jaguars living within the reserve. Today, you can trek through the sanctuary with a licensed guide, and you will have a decent chance of spotting a jaguar. Sightings are unpredictable, but you should at least see a paw print in the mud. Howler monkeys also occupy the trees. You can stay out until sundown, which is the best time to see the cats, before returning to Placencia for a night of fine dining.
Placencia – Departure
Belize is a small country, so it will be just a 30-minute flight from Placencia back to Belize City, where you will connect with your international departure.
- Bask in the tranquility of white-sand island life with a couple of days in Ambergris Caye
- Uncover the secrets of Western Belize in San Ignacio, which is a charming base for visiting wildlife reserves and Mayan relics
- Venture to Guatemala for an afternoon and morning at the Mayan city of Tikal
- Complete your vacation with relaxed nights on the southern coast at Placencia
- Snorkel in the Caribbean at the Great Blue Hole, Shark Ray Alley, and Gladden Split
- Discover lesser-known Maya sites, including Lamanai, Caracol, Xunantunich, and the underworld of Actun Tunichil Muknal
- Escape to jungle and mountains as you canoe the Barton Creek cave and cave-tube the Monkey River and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
- Absorb the friendliness and color of Belize’s culture
During this adventurous 14-day Belize tour, you will snorkel in Shark Ray Alley, find Mayan temples in the jungle, explore nature reserves, and search for rare wildlife. Every day can be relaxing, even if it involves trekking to a Mayan temple, swimming at Rio On Falls, and canoeing through Barton Creek Cave. Draped along the Caribbean Sea, this small country is easy to navigate and has a vast range of highlights to discover. Handcrafted for explorers and curious minds, this two-week tour will allow you to discover the best of Belize. This tour will also spit your time between the white-sand cayes, the lush interior, and the southern coastline.
Your tour will begin at the best-known of Belize’s destinations, Ambergris Caye. Surrounded by Caribbean waters and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this white sandy base quickly introduces the tranquility of the country. You can bask in the laid-back island life, snorkel in Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Shark Ray Alley, and explore the Great Blue Hole. In the evenings, you can relax at your lodge and look out over the Caribbean.
You will then travel to San Ignacio via a combination of water-taxi and forest roads. Your days here will be all about the interior. Here, you try out cave-tubing, canoeing, and hiking in Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve, and exploring the Mayan site of Xunantunich. During your time here, you will be surrounded by forest and immersed in the local life. You will spend the next day in Guatemala, where you can explore the Tikal ruins in the afternoon before returning to them for a temple sunrise the following day.
After returning to Belize, you will spend your final few nights in Placencia, which is a coastal destination of luxury developments and beautiful beaches. You can spend a day diving or snorkeling around Gladden Split for a spectacular experience. You can also spend an afternoon on Monkey River and a morning in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to jaguars and other rare creatures.
$4,895 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.
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