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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 / Cahal Pech
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. Our destination this afternoon is Cahal Pech Village in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, a casual eco-resort offering fantastic views over the town of San Ignacio and Belize River Valley, the heartland of Mayan culture and history.

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 Cahal Pech, 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 / Billy Hawk Caye
Drive this morning to the Caves Branch River, where we'll float through Jaguar Paw Cave on inner tubes. We hike through the rainforest to our put-in at the top of the river, then drift all the way back downstream through a series of limestone passages, entering the evocative underworld of the ancient Maya. With 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 above. We’ll pass by underground waterfalls, then into the 'crystal cathedral,' a spiritual center for the Maya. Driving on to the coast, we travel by boat from Dangriga to Billy Hawk Caye, one of more than 225 cays, 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. Billy Hawk is a tiny piece of paradise, just 1.2 acres in size, and was once a stopover point for fishermen who needed a place to rest and sort their catch. Today it is a private island base with a simple beachfront camp from which we'll snorkel and island-hop by kayak. This afternoon, we'll have our first introduction to paddling.

Day 4: Snorkeling the Barrier Reef / Mangrove Paddling
After some instruction in snorkeling basics, we discover the treasures of the reef, enjoying some of the world's finest marine life encounters in the aquamarine waters. We swim through an endless underwater garden of colorful sponges, waving sea fans, bright starfish, and schools of parrotfish, angelfish, damselfish and rays, in some of the clearest water on earth. This afternoon we explore the mangrove ecosystem of the cays by kayak. The small islets are the tops of submerged mountains, many capped with mangroves that support abundant birdlife. Keep an eye out for fishing pelicans and magnificent frigatebirds soaring overhead. Afterward, take some time to laze on the powdery coral-sand beach before savoring another fresh catch for dinner tonight.

Day 5: Snorkeling / Paddling / Garifuna Cultural Encounter
Enjoy glorious tropical sea kayaking today as we paddle to little Bread and Butter Caye, keeping an eye out for leaping sting rays and dolphins as we go. Once we reach the island, we'll drift-snorkel the shallow fringing reef system just offshore, carried along by gentle currents, before a picnic lunch. This evening we meet some of the local Garifuna people who share with us a lively performance of traditional drumming, dancing and storytelling. Belize's Afro-Carib ethnic group, the Garifuna were descended from African slaves, and their music and dance are steeped in the rhythms of Africa. 

Day 6: Billy Hawk Caye / Lamanai
Our idyll on Billy Hawk Caye comes to a close with a final chance to snorkel a favorite patch reef just offshore. 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 on the New River Lagoon. Lamanai, which translates to ‘submerged crocodile’—a nod to the reptiles that live in the New River—was one of the most important trading and ceremonial centers in the Caribbean lowlands. Via a tranquil boat ride on the river we reach Lamanai Outpost Lodge on the banks of Lamanai Lagoon, just minutes from the famous archaeology site. 

Day 7: Exploring Lamanai
Today we’ll explore the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai, once one of the most important trading and ceremonial centers in the Caribbean lowlands. Surrounded by pristine rainforest, remote Lamanai was continuously occupied for more than 3,000 years, from 1500 B.C. until the 17th century. 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 return by boat and enjoy an evening river cruise through the wildlife-rich wetlands.

Day 8: Belize City / Home

After breakfast we transfer by road to the airport in Belize City for homeward flights.

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