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Explore the complex of Tikal

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Sea Lion
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Set sail on a one-of-a-kind land-and-sea excursion to explore Belize's aquatic treasures and Guatemala's Maya ruins. Snorkel among hundreds of different types of fish and coral on the Belize Barrier Reef, using the National Geographic Sea Lion as a home base. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard along the coasts of white-sand islands, and swim in turquoise lagoons filled with marine life. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is the Northern Hemisphere's largest reef system. Then, go to Tikal, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and other Maya sites to see thousands of ancient temples and shrines spread out under the canopy of the rainforest.
Relaxing in BelizeSpider monkey at TikalThe famous Tikal temple used in the filming of Star WarsExplore incredible ruins in BelizeRelax on the beaches of BelizeExplore the complex of Tikal
Highlights
  • Discover the spectacular temples and pyramids of both Tikal and Yaxhá.
  • Dive Belize Barrier Reef corals, one of the largest barrier system.
  • Explore Belize’s coastal rivers by Zodiac.
  • See dazzling birdlife and monkeys in Maya Biosphere Reserve
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Belize City, Belize | Embark

Arrive in Belize City and transfer to the National Geographic Sea Lion. Settle into your cabin as we set sail on the Caribbean Sea.

Day 2: Belize Barrier Reef

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Awaken in the northern cayes of the Mesoamerican Reef, a barrier-reef system that stretches more than 600 miles and harbors incredible marine biodiversity. Edged with mangroves and scattered with idyllic tropical isles, these turquoise waters give us much to explore during our full day here. If weather and conditions permit, visit Half-Moon Caye to see its red-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebird colony. Later we’ll find a calm spot to paddle a kayak or standup paddleboard. Or don a mask and fins to snorkel among sea turtles, swirling schools of tropical fish, and harmless nurse sharks.

Day 3: Mayflower-Bocawina National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the morning discovering the lush rainforests and waterfalls of Mayflower Bocawina National Park. On a variety of hikes with our naturalists, photograph unusual tropical flowers, watch for colorful bird species, and identify the tracks of tapirs and jungle cats. A series of camera traps are set up throughout the park to capture images of the elusive jaguar, so revered in Maya culture. Meet local scientists and researchers to see some of this footage and learn about ongoing studies of jaguar behavior. Tonight an internationally acclaimed drumming group, the Garifuna Collective, joins us on board to perform their spirited music.

Day 4: Monkey River | Belize Barrier Reef

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Rise early to board Zodiacs at the mouth of Monkey River and cruise inland through the Belizean jungle in search of toucans, green iguanas, and myriad bird species. Few experiences rival hearing the first throaty roar of a mantled howler monkey echoing across the canopy. Explore the southern cayes of the Belize Barrier Reef this afternoon and enjoy more opportunities to kayak and stand-up paddleboard, or go snorkeling amid vibrant corals teeming with tropical fish. For scuba divers, incredible dive opportunities abound (at additional cost).

Day 5: Belize Barrier Reef

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Our second straight day on the reef brings us into the central cayes. Here, coral patches dot the shallow coastal lagoon, which harbors parrotfish, butterflyfish, octopuses, and countless other marine species. We’ll drop anchor nearby and spend the full day within the reef, discovering natural wonders both in the water and out

Day 6: Belize City | El Remate

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark in Belize City and drive to El Remate, Guatemala gateway to Tikal—one of the largest cities in the Classic Maya world. Enjoy lunch on the way before reaching the shores of picturesque Lake Petén Itzá and transferring to the Hotel Camino Real Tikal. Later, set out on an optional birding walk with our naturalists, or take a sunset boat cruise on the lake.

Day 7: Tikal, Guatemala

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend a full day exploring Tikal, where ancient pyramids tower more than 200 feet, and thousands of temples, shrines, and plazas are scattered beneath the rain forest canopy. Discover the site’s archaeological treasures, including the Temple of the Great Jaguar and the North and South Acropolis. Encounter ancient Maya art and hieroglyphs, and examine carved stone inscriptions that illuminate the history and spiritual significance of Tikal.

Day 8: Yaxha

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore Yaxhá, a former Maya ceremonial center situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxhá Lake. The world’s third largest known Maya site, Yaxhá spreads across nine plazas and contains multiple pyramids, ball courts, and stelae. Examine its features with your local guides and, if you wish, climb a temple for panoramic views. Later, enjoy lunch at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant, followed by an evening at leisure.

Day 9: El Remate | Belize City | Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Drive this morning from El Remate to Belize City to connect with flights home.

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Sea Lion

Dining Room

Camino Real Tikal

Camino Real Tikal
Camino Real Tikal
View from the patio - beautiful Lake Peten Itza

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 1 and Category 1 Single Cabin.
Select a Date
Cat 1
Main Deck Cabins #300-305. Conveniently positioned between the dining room and lounge, these cabins feature two lower single beds, a writing desk and a large window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 1 and Category 1 Single Cabin.
Select a Date
Cat 1 Single
Main Deck Cabins #300-305. Conveniently positioned between the dining room and lounge, these cabins feature two lower single beds, a writing desk and a large window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 2 and Category 2 Single Cabin.
Select a Date
Cat 2
Bridge Deck cabins #100-104 and Upper Deck cabins #200-212, 215. These well-located cabins include two lower single beds, outside access and a window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 2 and Category 2 Single Cabins.
Select a Date
Cat 2 Single
Bridge Deck cabins #100-104 and Upper Deck cabins #200-212, 215. These well-located cabins include two lower single beds, outside access and a window.
Sea Bird & Sea Lion's Category 3 Cabins.
Select a Date
Cat 3
Bridge Deck cabins #105, 106 and Upper Deck cabins #214, 216, 217, 219. These cabins feature a seating unit with table, outside access and two large windows. Upper Deck cabins include two lower single beds which can convert to a double bed and a pull-out

Notes

Rates Include:
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
  • 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand
  • Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
  • Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
  • The guidance and company of the expedition staff
  • The services of a physician on certain ships/destinations
Ashore
  • Hotels ashore as indicated in itinerary
  • Meals on land, as indicated in itinerary
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees
  • Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • The expertise of the expedition staff
Activities
  • All excursions
  • Zodiac & kayak explorations
  • Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
  • Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge
 
Rates Exclude:

Airfare
  • International and internal airfare
  • Charter flights from Flores to Guatemala City: $275 per person
Pre- and post-expedition
  • Additional hotel nights
  • Private transfers
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Passport, visa, and immigration fees
  • Expedition extensions
  • Gratuities
Aboard ship
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Spa treatments
  • Gratuities
  • Scuba diving
  • Laundry
  • Internet and phone
  • Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature

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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!
Meyer Smolen

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