Tanager Rainforest Lodge offers all the best of Belize jungle adventure with an authentic Mayan experience. The lodge is located on the banks of the Rio Grande, the gateway to the Mayan mountains. Experience modern Mayan culture with local families and villages as you learn to make an authentic Belizean lunch, chocolates and take a Garifuna drumming lesson. You'll also have the opportunity to kayak, go cave tubing, birding, ziplining and more. Spend your evenings relaxing at the lodge and recounting stories of your day with your fellow travelers.
Visit a local market to purchase the ingredients for your traditional lunch
Visit the Warasa Garafuna Drum School and participate in a class
Meet a local family of artisans as they teach you their craft
Choose from a variety of activities offered at the lodge
Upon your arrival at Belize International airport, you will be escorted to Tropic Air and set up to fly into Punta Gorda, an hour trip with two stops along the way. In Punta Gorda meet up with your guide and travel twenty miles to the lodge which rests on the banks of the Rio Grande river. Enjoy dinner and a relaxing evening at the lodge.
This morning drive with your guide 18 miles past the Maya villages of San Antonio and Santa Cruz towards Rio Blanco National Park. En route, stop to visit Lubaantun, a site dating back to 700-900AD set in the magical ambiance of the Mayan jungle. Lubaantun is most noted for its large collection of miniature ceramic objects found during its excavation. These are thought to have been used in rituals as charmstones.
Continue on to Rio Blanco National Park, where you'll explore with your guide. This park was declared an "Indigenous People's Park" in 1992. The reserve is managed by surrounding Maya Villages in the region who see its preservation as a top priority. Enjoy a guided hike, picnic, and a swim in one of the waterfalls before returning to the lodge this evening.
After breakfast today travel to Big Falls Village, a short walk from the lodge, to visit the Chiacs. This family of artisans make functional crafts out of materials gathered by hand from the surrounding jungle. Become acquainted with Juan, Hilaria, and their daughter Marta as you try your hand at crafting! Laughter will abound and your visit will fly by as you learn trade secrets under the guidance of the Chiacs. This Belize tour cultivates a great appreciation for the work that goes into the beautiful baskets, hammocks, shoulder bags, palm fans and rosewood carvings of the region. The Chiacs have recently developed their business with grant assistance from Adventure Life.
After bidding farewell to the Chiacs, enjoy an authentic Belizean buffet at Coleman's Cafe.
This afternoon choose from a number of activities offered at the lodge: enjoy the swimming pool, kayak, tube on the river, or take a nature walk around the grounds. You can also walk into the village and try the zip line that skims across the jungle canopy and crosses the Rio Grande.
After a full day of activity, enjoy dinner and a free evening at the lodge.
This morning you have the option of rising early for a guided bird walk around the lodge grounds. Your guide, Steven, is an expert birder who will help you spot and identify the local woodpeckers, trogons, parakeets, and toucans.
Later in the morning, visit the Ixcacao Mayan Chocolate facility in nearby San Felipe village. Ixcacao is a boutique factory owned by Abelina Cho, and is known for its delectable, sustainably-produced, environmentally-conscious chocolate. Enjoy a lunch that will delight your palate with its unique chocolate flavors, courtesy of Ixcacao.
After lunch head toward Punta Gorda for a visit to the Warasa Garifuna Drum School, founded by master drummer and teacher, Ronald 'Ray' McDonald. Experience the vibrancy of Belizean culture through the unique rhythms of the Garifuna as you participate in a lively drumming lesson.
Once again, the evening will be yours to dine and relax at the lodge.
Today your guide and hostess at the Living Maya Experience, Anita Cal, takes you to the Punta Gorda market. Learn from Anita as she shares her knowledge of the market and introduces you to the exotic produce of southern Belize. At the market you will buy ingredients to take back to Anita's home where you will roll up your sleeves and prepare (and then enjoy!) an authentic Belizean lunch.
This afternoon you can choose between two activities:
-Kayaking on the Rio Grande: You will be transported 5 miles upstream to San Miguel village, embark on a Hobie (sit-on-top) kayak ,and float downstream back to the lodge. Along the way enjoy the riverside scenery and even get a chance to spot some local fauna.
-Blue Creek Cave Swim: You will be transported 15 miles south to Blue Creek cave, hike half an hour to the cave mouth, and swim upstream inside the cave to a point where the river cascades from a fissure in the cavern wall.
Return to the lodge for dinner.
Day 6: Depart Lodge at Big Falls
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Enjoy your last morning at the lodge before returning to the international airport or traveling on in Belize.
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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.