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Xunantunich ruins in Belize

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Example 6 Day Tour
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Begin your Belize tour with an introduction to the Belizean wildlife and the ancient traditions kept alive today. Immerse yourself in Maya history and culture in the ruins of Tikal and local caves where they made sacrifices to their gods.
Toucan in jungle
Highlights
  • Float the Macal river. Watch for iguanas, peccaries, coati mundis and more
  • Wade through the water into the ATM cave and explore this Mayan underworld
  • Visit Tikal, one of the greatest Mayan ruins, in the midst of the jungle
Trip Type:
  • Independent
Activity Level: Easy Active
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Belize

Arrive at the Belize City airport and transfer to your jungle retreat. Along the way 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.

Day 2: Belize Jungle

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 3: Rio Macal and Xunantunich

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a leisurely morning, set out to down the Macal River for your first introduction to Belizean wildlife. Your guide will help you spot iguanas, peccaries, coati mundis and a myriad of bird life. After lunch in town, you will will 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.

Day 4: Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today wake early for our unforgettable adventure into the Maya underworld. You will 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. 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.

Day 5: Tikal

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 to honor dead kings were built, 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.

Day 6: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Bid farewell to the world of the Maya, and transfer to Belize City and connect with your international flight home. Note International flight cannot depart prior to 1 PM.

Photo Gallery

Xunantunich ruins in Belize Toucan in jungle Entering the main complex at Xunantunich Snorkel the clear, tropical waters Top of Pyramid in Xunantunich On the road to Mountain Pine Ridge A couple begins their guided tour of the ATM cave North Acropolis- Tikal

Map

Accommodations

Pooks Hill Lodge

Beautiful place to hang out at Pooks
Swim in the Roaring River at Pook's Hill Lodge
Cabanas at Pook's Hill Lodge

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$1,375

Notes

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Included
  • 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners
  • 5 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Gear Rental
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Border tax at Belize-Guatemala border $45
  • Tikal Entrance Fee $20

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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