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Barrier reef, BelizeBilly Hawk Caye, BelizeHowler monkey, Baboon Sanctuary, BelizeBilly Hawk Caye, BelizeKayaking near Little Bread and Butter Caye, BelizeNew River near Lamanai Ruins, BelizeLamanai Ruins, BelizeKeel-billed Toucan, Billy Hawk Caye, BelizeBarrier reef, BelizeLamanai Outpost Lodge, BelizeOrange Walk rainforest, BelizeLamanai Ruins, BelizeBilly Hawk Caye, Belize
 
 
Learn More 8 Days / From $3,495 (800) 543-8917 for Availability Share

Belize Multi-Sport Adventure

Join Us in the Land of the Maya for the Ultimate Caribbean Nature Escape!
Day 1: Belize City, Belize / Chaa Creek
Arrive in Belize City, where you are met at the airport by our Expedition Leader. En route to the Cayo District of central Belize, we stop at the Community Baboon Sanctuary, an innovative grassroots project to protect habitat for the endangered black howler monkey (called “baboon” in the local Creole dialect) while promoting community development. More than 200 private landowners in seven villages covering 20 square miles have voluntarily pledged to conserve their land to protect black howler monkey habitat, while visitors to the sanctuary allow residents to benefit directly from ecotourism proceeds in the process.

Our destination is Chaa Creek, a private 365-acre nature reserve on the Macal River in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. The ecolodge and preserve are one of the Caribbean's best examples of sustainable tourism, and Chaa Creek's owners, pioneers in Belize ecotourism, have received numerous awards recognizing their leadership. A visit to Chaa Creek brings alive Belize's ecology and natural history in a context that also provides an exceptionally comfortable stay in such wild environs. We spend two nights at Macal River Camp, tucked within the rainforest in the ancient Mayan heartland. Here, visitors experience nature much as the original Maya inhabitants did – without the din of civilization, and only the sounds of the more than 300 species of tropical and migratory birds that live on the reserve. Chaa Creek is also home to a number of other jungle dwellers including peccaries, jaguar and monkeys. The camp is surrounded by miles of nature trails that lace one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world, including the famous Maya Medicinal Plant Trail.

Day 2: Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave
Today is devoted to exploring one of Belize’s most fascinating natural and cultural highlights: Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave. We drive to the trailhead, then hike 45 minutes into the Maya Mountains. Following ancient jungle trails used by the Maya, our route crosses three streams as it passes through the 6,700-acre Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. We learn about plants and animals of the jungle along the way, finally reaching the entrance to the cave. Outfitted with flashlights and hard hats, we explore the caverns, a maze of burial chambers filled with ceremonial vessels and other cultural artifacts left by the Maya centuries ago. It’s an exhilarating archaeological experience, and we feel a bit like Indiana Jones as we wade through the water investigating our mystical environs. Back at Chaa Creek, we may have an opportunity for an evening hike to experience the transformation of the rainforest at dusk, as the jungle sounds become a percussive orchestra.

Day 3: Jaguar Paw Cave Tubing / Half Moon Caye
Drive eastward this morning to the Caves Branch River, where we'll float through Jaguar Paw Cave on inner tubes. We’ll hike through the rainforest to the top of the river, put in with our tubes, then drift all the way back downstream through a series of limestone passages, entering the evocative underworld of the ancient Maya. With only headlamps to light our way, we float past ‘windows’ in the rock walls that filter green jungle light as we swirl around stalagmites jutting out of the river and stalactites looming from above. We’ll pass by underground waterfalls, then into the 'crystal cathedral,' a spiritual center for the Maya.

Continuing to the coast, we travel by boat to Half Moon Caye, one of more than 225 cayes, or small islands, that dot Belize’s barrier reef. Stretching over 150 miles, the reef is the second longest in the world and one of the richest marine ecosystems on earth. Half Moon Caye is part of Lighthouse Atoll, 60 miles offshore, Belize’s most remote and spectacular atoll. Weaving our way among islets on the barrier reef, we enter a keyhole passage and wind through narrow mangrove-lined channels to reach Half Moon Caye. Our tropical camp here is a highlight, offering unparalleled seclusion and proximity to nature.

After some instruction in the basics, we’re quickly comfortable in our kayaks and ready to discover the natural wonders that surround us. Keep an eye out for fishing pelicans, leaping rays and dolphins and magnificent frigatebirds soaring overhead. The world beneath the sea is just as captivating, and we have our first chance to encounter it today, floating among the waving sea fans and schools of parrotfish as we enjoy some of the finest snorkeling on the planet—followed by time to laze on the powdery white-sand beach.

Days 4 & 5: Snorkel and Kayak Lighthouse Reef
Spend two full days exploring the treasures of Lighthouse Reef, enjoying some of the world's best paddling and snorkeling through the aquamarine waters. Legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau revealed the amazing underwater diversity of this area to the world in the early 1970s. It has since become known among divers as the ‘Aquarium,’ renowned for its sheer abundance of marine life, exquisitely clear water and thriving coral reefs. We'll also visit the atoll's famous Great Blue Hole, one of the most celebrated diving spots on earth, whose depths were charted by Cousteau and the Calypso crew in 1971. We have many options for exploration, including a shipwreck just north of the cay. In 1971, the Ermlund lost power during a storm and was deposited on the reef by a large wave, where the 4,000-ton wreck has remained untouched due to its isolation from the mainland. 

Day 6: Half Moon Caye / Lamanai
Our idyll on Half Moon Caye comes to a close today with a final chance to snorkel a favorite patch reef just offshore, walk the island trails, or beachcomb along the pristine stretches of sand. This afternoon our motor launch transfers us back to the mainland, where we continue to Belize City and on to Lamanai. Here, some of the most entrancing Mayan ruins in the world await our discovery at the ancient city of Lamanai on the New River Lagoon. Lamanai, which translates to ‘submerged crocodile,’ was one of the most important trading and ceremonial centers in the Caribbean lowlands. Via a tranquil river boat ride we reach Lamanai Outpost Lodge on the banks of Lamanai Lagoon, just minutes away from the famous archaeology site. This afternoon, we’ll take a nature walk to get acquainted with the area.

Day 7: Exploring Lamanai
A full day in Lamanai offers a variety of exciting experiences in nature amid the ruins. Surrounded by pristine rainforest, remote Lamanai was continuously occupied for more than 3000 years, from 1500 B.C. until 1600 A.D. Excavated beginning in 1974, its spectacular ruins illuminate a period of history that encompasses the early formative years of Mayan civilization through to initial European contact and colonization. With structures ranging from pre-classic temples to the Spanish colonial era, with jungle trails, refreshing swimming holes and an excellent on-site museum, Lamanai is one of the most intriguing of all Mayan sites in Belize. We learn about the area’s natural and cultural history on jungle walks and a 3-hour guided tour of the ruins.

Day 8: Transfer to Belize City / Depart
After breakfast we transfer by road to the airport in Belize City for homeward flights.

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