Pyramids at Xunantunich archaeological site in Belize

The Hidden World of the Maya: An Immersive Archaeology Tour of Belize

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Customizable Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary to inspire a personalized trip designed with your travel specialist

Countries Visited

Belize

Places Visited

Belize City, Lamanai National Park, Lamanai, Altun Ha...

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Suggested Duration

9 Days

Immerse yourself into the hidden world of the Mayas and live like an explorer. Follow jungle rivers and trails as you travel through Belize’s lost Maya world where the legacy lives on and remains continue to be excavated. Howler monkeys guard epic pyramids, the mystery is etched into tombs, and you will live out a distinctive time and space. Expertly guided and handcrafted, this archaeological tour will take you beyond the standard narratives and into a civilization that delights and inspires.

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate the mystery on a day in Caracol, a magnificently remote Maya city that epitomizes the scale of this innovative civilization
  • Travel into the depths of the jungle on a river cruise, passing peculiar wildlife on route to the spectacular early Maya city of Lamanai
  • Discover fine Maya craftsmanship in Cahal Pech, admire the stucco frieze and pyramids at Xunantunich, and interpret stelae across the country
  • Enjoy intimate wildlife safaris at and around the archeological sites as most of the Maya cities you visit are hidden in rainforest and nature reserves
  • Feel the archaeologist inside of you with a morning at Altun Ha, where the rich tombs suggest the wealth and power of history
  • Connect with the Belize people and the country’s local culture, including many surprises in Belize City and encounters with Garifuna culture
  • Walk on the white sand, settle into luxurious jungle lodges and enjoy a luxurious cocktail cruise as there is always something to bring a smile in Belize
  • Marvel at the two tallest buildings in Belize as Maya pyramids have not been superseded in more than a millennia
  • Complete your journey through Belize’s Mayan history with Lubaantun and Nim Li, cities from the Late Classic Period that love to surprise

Detailed Description

The remains of the Mayas can be found all across Central America, but no country presents them as evocatively as Belize. Most are still being excavated, almost all are hidden in the jungle, and none are spoilt by over-tourism. Raw and redolent, these old Maya sites provide an immersion in another world as one of the tombs and temples are guarded by monkey troops, a world where ceremonial centers are concealed by jungle shadows and inscribed stelae add new dimensions to the mystery. This civilization was so innovative and powerful that the two tallest buildings in Belize are found in abandoned Maya cities more than a millennia after they were built.

Your luxury tour will be guided by a Maya expert and handcrafted to incorporate the full sweep of excavations and ruins. There is Xunantunich, the surreal city shrouded in rainforest legend, and Lamanai, a city only accessible via a long river journey past crocodiles and ospreys. Explore the unknown with visits to Altun Ha and Cahal Pech, and journey deep into a mostly uncharted landscape for a day at Caracol, arguably the most striking of all the old cities. Take in the temples and stelae of Lubaantun, a ceremonial center with a style that is unique to southern Belize. You will explore seven distinctive sites over nine days and piece together a chronology that covers over 3,000 years. You can also discover the nuance that makes Belize’s Maya world very different to the rest of the region.

There will be surprises along the way, as this tour is not just about excavated temples and deciphering tomb inscriptions. A wildlife safari is part of the journey too as you get to explore Belize’s remote corners with most of the archaeological sites nestled in overgrown rainforest and nature reserves. Monkeys swing past, birdsong provides an evening lullaby, and you may find evocative paw prints somewhere along the trail. Perhaps best of all, most of the lodges are located in the jungle, so you will hear and smell the wild long into the night. Urban highlights include Garifuna culture with white beaches, cocktail cruising, and the surprises of Belize City. While Maya sites provide the focal point, these nine days reveal so much more about the country.

You will start with a spectacular journey up New River to Lamanai, a 3,500-year-old city deep in the jungle. Return to Belize City via Altun Ha the next day and get a keen sense of the archaeological excavation process. Explore cultural histories in the capital before returning to the rainforest and the Maya cities of Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. The next day, go even further off the beaten track by discovering Caracola via a rugged road that is closed to everyone without permits. Complete your in-depth tour in southern Belize at Punta Gorda, walking over a white Caribbean beach on route. It will be here that you encounter Garifuna culture, embrace the mystery of Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun, and complete the chronology of Belize’s Maya world.

For additional Belize travel destinations, browse our other Belize tours and travel reviews on Zicasso.

Starting Price

$3,145 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.

What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all activities and tours
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip

Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.

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