Journey through cathedral-shaped caves, spot wildlife along the banks of the Macal River, and explore winding trails in the Belizean rainforest. Then discover the jungle-clad ruins of Tikal where the ancient Maya once held their royal courts. End your Belize vacation with two days at a beachside hotel on Ambergris Caye - snorkeling, diving or fishing by day and relaxing to the Caribbean rhythm in the evening. Enjoy this complete adventure with a wide taste of what Belize has to offer in just 8 days.
Day 1 : Arrive in Belize Day 2 : Belize Jungle Day 3 : Rio Macal and Xunantunich Day 4 : Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Day 5 : Tikal Days 6-7 : Ambergris Caye Day 8 : Return Home
Canoe down the Rio Macal and spot Belizean wildlife
Explore the Mayan underworld of Actun Tunichil Muknal
Visit Tikal's towering pyramids that rise over the jungle canopy
Snorkel Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley
Arrive at the Belize City airport and transfer to your jungle retreat. Time permitting, stop at the Belize Zoo, where in typical Belizean fashion animals roam 29 acres in large natural enclosures. Your jungle lodge is tucked next to the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve and Roaring River. Surrounded by pristine forest, your days at the lodge are filled with natural discoveries exploring the lush vegetation of the Maya Mountains and the mysteries beneath.
Spend today relaxing and settling into your jungle lodge. The day is yours to explore the many trails and river that flow through the Pooks Hill property. Take a guided hike in old growth forest, float along the jungle river, or just relax and listen to the wildlife that surrounds you.
After a leisurely morning, set out down the Macal River for your first introduction to Belizean wildlife. Your guide helps you spot iguanas, peccaries, coatimundis, and a myriad of bird life. After lunch in town, visit the Maya ruins of Xunantunich, once a major ceremonial site and the second tallest ruin in Belize. From atop, enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the Cayo District of Guatemala.
Today wake early for your unforgettable adventure into the Maya underworld. Begin your explorations from the lodge doors, crossing creeks and journeying deep into the Belizean jungle to the opening of the sacred Actun Tunichil Muknal - the Cave of the Stone Sepulcher. At the entrance gear up with helmets and waterproof headlamps, then wade into the emerald-colored water flowing from the cave's gaping mouth. Your journey follows the river's flow through wet and dry caves encased in hanging stalactites and towering stalagmites. Your final destination is the spectacular primary chamber where ancient kings and priests made blood sacrifices to appease the Maya gods. Your lights illuminate the ghostly outlines of skeletal ritual victims and scattered ceramic shards of ancient rituals. Tunichil is an active archeological site, so be careful not to disturb the sleeping skeletons and ceramic pieces before returning to the light above ground. Those preferring life above ground can choose from a variety of alternative excursions. See Barton Creek Cave for an alternate excursion.
Rise this morning for an early breakfast before departing for the three hour drive to the magnificent Tikal ruins, just over the border in Guatemala. Tikal's towering pyramids rise above the thick jungle canopy like stoic sentinels of ancient mysteries. The ancient Maya began building this city around 600 B.C., and for the next 1500 years the area was an important religious, scientific, and political center. Pyramids were built to honor dead kings, administrative buildings rose, storage houses appeared, and houses for royalty were carved out of the jungle. Tikal became one of the greatest centers of Maya culture and sprawled over 46 square miles with more than 4000 structures in the core city center alone. Today, the pristine forest engulfing the ruined city is home to howler and spider monkeys, white lipped peccary, brocket deer, coatimundis, toucans, scarlet macaws, parrots, ocelots, and the seldom seen jaguar. After a tour of the ruins, drive back to your lodge in Belize for your last night in the jungle.
After breakfast, you are transfered to the airport for your short flight over crystal Caribbean waters to Ambergris Caye. Settle into your beach side hotel and relax into the Belizean spirit. Tomorrow morning you're off on a snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley for your first introduction to the wonderful world of the Belizean reef. Sea turtles, eagle rays, nurse sharks, and hundreds of species of fish, coral, and sponges create one of the world's most diverse underwater ecosystems. The rest of the time is available for you to arrange activities locally. You can take a PADI scuba diver Resort Course, explore the island by bicycle, rent a catamaran, or just relax on the beach. The island has plenty of services for daytime adventure and nighttime dining.
Day 8 Return Home
Bid farewell to Ambergris Caye and fly back to Belize City in time to connect with your return flight home.
This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
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.