Make It Yours
Depart from Boston on your morning flight. Arrive to Belize City by late morning and catch your quick flight to Dangriga. Upon arrival in Southern Belize's largest coastal town, meet your guides from the Reef Lodge and transfer by speed boat across the beautiful Belizean waters. On arrival, settle into your room at the South Water Caye Lodge, go through a camp and safety orientation and listen to a tropical marine environment introduction. After lunch, set out for your sea kayak instruction and safety briefing. Once finished explore nearby cayes and mangrove forests. At dinner we will introduce you to the ecology of the Tropical Coral Reef Environment.
These days are spent exploring the bio-diversity of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Your time here includes snorkeling patch reefs, mangroves, and sea grass habitat, as well as a trip to the Smithsonian Marine Research Station. You also have the chance to snorkel the cuts and outer edge of the main barrier reef. You can continue to practice your sea kayaking skills with professional instruction from trip leaders. Your evenings are spend immersed in a culture of Garifuna people who make their living from the sea. They will share their stories, traditional dance, drumming and Garifuna foods. The last night on the cay is a grand farewell celebration with fresh seafood, drumming, dancing and stories.
Enjoy your last morning on the reef before saying good-bye to the South Water Caye Reserve and journeying into the country's interior. You will travel by boat to the mainland, where a van awaits to take you along the Hummingbird Highway to your home for the next four nights. Along the way stop at the Belmopan Market, stretch your legs, and find a snack among the stalls piled high with fruits and housewares. 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.
This morning, you will have the thrilling opportunity to soar through the jungle treetops high above the forest floor. A short hike up into the rainforest leads you to the first of five platforms where you begin your exciting trip back down through the jungle canopy on a series of cables. In the afternoon, you will take a leisurely float through the caves and majestic jungle on inner tubes. You will hike to the put-in to the Cave's Branch River with your inner tubes. From there, enjoy a float through a series of caves with glimpses of the towering rainforest in between.
Today you'll continue your adventures with the exciting Black Hole Drop. This highly adventurous tour has been described as a rush like no other! The tour begins with a steep hike over clad limestone hills that lead up, up and up to the edge of a collapsed cave system with high forest growing out of the center and massive caverns on either end. Here your skilled team of guides will prepare you to ease your way over the lip of the cave and lower you down the 300 feet down into the collapsed cavern's floor. The slow descent allows you to savor the view as you pass through the layers of the canopy on your way to the ground. This tour is not recommended for the faint of heart.
We wake early for our unforgettable adventure into the Maya underworld. We begin our journey from our 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 we gear up with helmets and waterproof headlamps, then wade into the emerald colored water flowing from the cave's gaping mouth. Our journey follows the river's flow through wet and dry caves encased in hanging stalactites and towering stalagmites. Our final destination is the spectacular primary chamber where ancient kings and priests made blood sacrifices to appease the Maya gods. Our lights illuminate the ghostly outlines of skeletal ritual victims and scattered ceramic shards of ancient rituals. Tunichil is an active archeological site, so we're careful not to disturb the sleeping skeletons and ceramic pieces before returning to the light above ground. This is a fairly rigorous trip and travelers should be in good shape. For those looking for an alternative trip, a visit the the Barton Creek Cave is an excellent choice for any age. There are also other activities available for those who prefer life above ground.
After breakfast, transfer to Belize City and catch your international flight home.