The Mayan culture is still alive and well in the southern Toledo district of Belize. Journey into the Mayan Mountains to visit with local communities and learn about their culture and way of life. Your jounrey in the rainforest will keep you busy with opportunities to hike, swim, watch for wildlife and explore the caves and rivers in the region.
Day 1 : Arrive Belize, Fly Punta Gorda Day 2 : The Crystal Skull at Lubaantun Day 3 : Snake Cayes Day 4 : Blue Creek Cave Day 5 : Floating the River / Ixcacao or Warasa Garifuna Drum School Day 6 : Return Belize City
Follow your guide to Lubaantun, where the crystal skull was discovered
Snorkel on the reef or fish along the cayes
Float through Blue Creek Cave, used by the ancient Maya for ceremonies
Visit a Mayan owned chocolate plantation or drum school
Arrive into Belize and connect with your one hour internal flight to Punta Gorda, making 2 other stops en route. Meet with your guides and transfer to the lodge which is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande. The Lodge at Big Falls provides an exciting environment for wildlife enthusiasts and families. Enjoy relaxation or adventure as desired here. The lodge serves as the base for your excursions in the Toledo District, the heart of the Maya world in Belize.
Enjoy breakfast in the morning and set off with your guide to Lubaantun, where the famous and controversial crystal skull was discovered in 1924. Drive through the Maya Mountain foothills to Rio Blanco National Park via the villages of San Antonio and Santa Cruz, and stop to swim in the river and leap over 20 feet into the "botomless" pool. Return to the lodge for some river tubing or explore the hot springs which enter the river from a hillside creek.
Transfer towards the coast and embark on a vessel at Joe Taylor Creek in Punta Gorda for a day on the Snake Cayes, so called for the boa constrictors which inhabit the region. From the safety of your boat, search for a boa in the branches of the trees where they wait for passing birds. Snorkel on the reef around the cayes and keep an eye out for manatees, lounge in the sun, or enjoy an afternoon of optional fishing outside the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. At the end of the day, return to Punta Gorda and head back to the lodge for the evening.
Visit the forest 15 miles south of Big Falls and hike the short trail to Blue Creek cave, used by the ancient Maya for religious ceremony. Don life vests and headlamps before swimming hundreds of yards inside the cave to the point where the river emerges as a waterfall from the sides of the cavern. Back in the daylight, swim in Blue Creek before heading back to the Cal family in Big Falls to help prepare lunch. This Living Maya Experience showcases the traditional Mayan home and garden. After lunch, take part in "Big Falls Extreme Adventures," and enjoy its six stage zip line which crosses the Rio Grande several times.
Day 5 Floating the River / Ixcacao or Warasa Garifuna Drum School
In the morning, partake in a 4 hour float downstream to the lodge and transfer with Hobie kayaks to the bridge over the Rio Grande at San Miguel village. Along the way, hope to spot coatimundi or deer, herons and kingfishers among many other species. After lunch at the lodge, choose between the following activities:
1. Visit Ixcacao Maya Chocolate, a Mayan owned cacao plantation and chocolate making business near the village of San Felipe. Tour the farm and enjoy a hands-on chocolate-making demonstration, where you can grind the beans yourself.
2. Visit Warasa Garifuna Drum School near Punta Gorda, where Ray Mcdonald will introduce you to Garifuna music and drumming rhythms. Learn some of the basics of the primera and segunda drums which combine to make the distinctive Garifuna style.
Day 6 Return Belize City
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
In the morning, transfer back to Punta Gorda for your flight back to Belize City, or transfer by land to the nearby beach town of Placencia.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
When to Go
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.