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BELIZE

Exploring Belize: Life in the Rainforest

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Belize

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Natural History

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Road Scholar
Program #16572RJ
8 Days | 7 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Jan 19 — Jan 26, 2013

Expand all
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Toledo District Belize
phone: +501-670-0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

Facility amenities: Wireles internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River, horseback riding, and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $150USD
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Saturday, January 19 - Arrival and Orientation
Afternoon: Arrive Belize International Airport (BZE) by 4:00PM. Check in at Tropic Air counter by 4:30PM for flight to Punta Gorda (PND) at 5:00PM. You will be met by your Group Leader in Punta Gorda for the final leg of the journey to Cotton Tree Lodge. Group orientation at Cotton Tree Lodge.

Dinner: Appetizers in the Main Lodge followed by a four-course dinner.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Toledo District Belize
phone: +501-670-0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

Facility amenities: Wireles internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River, horseback riding, and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $150USD
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Sunday, January 20 - Tumul K'in Center of Learning and Blue Creek Cave
Breakfast: Hot buffet in the Main Lodge

Morning: Visit Tumul K'in Center of learning, a unique vocational high school which emphasizes traditional Maya culture and values, while preparing its students for success in a modern world. On Sundays the students participate in cultural classes and activities. Meet students and teachers, and observe lessons in marimba, cuxtal weaving, and dance.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch along side Blue Creek.

Afternoon: Hike into the jungle, don your headlamp and your life jacket, and step into the river that flows out of Hokeb Ha Cave. This cave's name means "where the water enters the earth" and you will actually swim right into this magical cave to the source of Blue Creek (also the source of the Moho River). Spend up to an hour in the cave, depending on your swimming level, and then enjoy a dip in the crystal clear pools and waterfalls just outside.

Dinner: Appetizers in the Main Lodge followed by a four-course dinner.

Evening: After dinner gather for an presentation and discussion on the politics, demography, and economy of Belize. Learn about the diverse groups that have occupied this land in ancient and modern times, and the economic influences that have shaped it--from the Maya, to logging, to agriculture, to tourism, and now oil.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Toledo District Belize
phone: +501-670-0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

Facility amenities: Wireles internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River, horseback riding, and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $150USD
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Monday, January 21 - Lubaantun Mayan Ruins, Traditional Maya Harpmaker...
Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast in the Main Lodge

Morning: Lubaantun is the largest Maya site of southern Belize, composed of eleven large structures, five main plazas, and three ball courts. As you explore the grounds, learn about the rites and traditions of the ancient Maya. Also learn about the controversial story of the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull, which was allegedly found at this site in the 1920s, and is said to have supernatural powers.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at Lubaantun

Afternoon: Visit a traditional Maya harpmaker in the village of San Pedro Columbia, not far from Lubaantun ruins. On this tour you will visit his home and workshop, learn how these instruments are crafted, and hear the harpist play a few pieces. Traditional Mayan music is usually played at village ceremonies and festivals. Most villagers believe that these songs were composed by the Mayan gods long ago.

Dinner: Appetizers in the Main Lodge followed by a four-course dinner.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Toledo District Belize
phone: +501-670-0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

Facility amenities: Wireles internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River, horseback riding, and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $150USD
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Four: Tuesday, January 22 - Tortilla Making and the Modern Maya
Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast in the Main Lodge

Morning: Corn, or maize, has always been an important crop to the Mayan people. The ancient Maya believed it was a gift from the gods and growing it was a sacred duty. In ancient times corn was prepared in many different ways, including warm drinks, sourdough breads, mixed into stews, steamed as tamales, etc. Corn continues to be a major part of the Mayan diet in southern Belize. In this workshop you will learn how to prepare corn tortillas, a staple food in many Mayan homes. Mrs. Bo will host you at her home in Santa Anna village, two miles from Cotton Tree Lodge. She will show you how harvested corn is separated from the cob, soaked in lime, and ground to make delicious hot tortillas. Try your hand at preparing your own, and end your workshop with a delicious snack of tortillas, eggs, and tomatoes.

Lunch: Return to Cotton Tree for a plated lunch in the Main Lodge

Afternoon: This afternoon meet with a leader from the Toledo Maya community. Learn how the Maya are working together to retain their traditions and culture in modern Belize, protect indigenous land rights, and incorporate Maya history into school curriculum.

Dinner: Appetizers in the Main Lodge followed by a four course dinner.

Evening: Follow the sounds of the howler monkeys and head deep into the jungle. With a little luck, you may see tapir or other nocturnal creatures in the old growth rainforest surrounding the lodge.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Toledo District Belize
phone: +501-670-0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

Facility amenities: Wireles internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River, horseback riding, and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $150USD
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Five: Wednesday, January 23 - Rio Blanco National Park and Waterfall
Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast in the Main Lodge

Morning: A tiny reserve which received just under 100 official visitors in 2008, Rio Blanco National Park is as remote as it is beautiful.The Rio Blanco River is a tributary of the Moho River that flows by Cotton Tree Lodge, and the park surrounds a spectacular waterfall.The nearby villages of Santa Elena and Santa Cruz organized the Rio Blanco Mayan Association in 1994 to protect this waterfall and 104 adjacent acres of sub-tropical forest.Jaguar, ocelot, margay, river otter, and many species of birds and fish live in the park.The RBMA hopes this area can become a viable ecotourism destination generating income for both villages. Thrill seekers may jump off the 20 foot cliffs by the falls or cross the suspended cable bridge. Others may wish to explore the trail system with the rangers, identifying the flora and fauna.

Lunch: Picnic lunch by the waterfall.

Afternoon: Free afternoon to relax or explore the grounds of Cotton Tree Lodge. Available activities include kayaking, hiking, and swimming or napping in a hammock.

Dinner: Appetizers in the Main Lodge followed by a four-course dinner.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Toledo District Belize
phone: +501-670-0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

Facility amenities: Wireles internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River, horseback riding, and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $150USD
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Six: Thursday, January 24 - Belize Birding, Medicinal Plants, and Marine and ...
Belize Birding, Medicinal Plants, and Marine and Rainforest Preservation

Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast in the Main Lodge.

Morning: Rise early (before breakfast) and join an expert bird guide for a walk around the Cotton Tree Lodge grounds, and a look at some of the nearly 250 species of birds that have been identified in southern Belize. Countrywide, Belize enjoys an incredibly rich variety of bird life, with over 600 species in a country the size of Massachusetts. After breakfast, travel to nearby Santa Anna village and meet with a Maya healer. Traditional medicine and natural healing was once widely practiced throughout the Mayan communities of Belize. Using a combination of medicinal plants and prayer, shamans and healers treated both the physical and spiritual ailments of their communities. Today this knowledge is nearly lost, but your guide will show you some of the best known plants and remedies still used by the modern Maya.

Lunch: Return to Cotton Tree for a plated lunch in the Main Lodge

Afternoon: This afternoon, hear from a community leader about the various successes and failures of marine and rainforest preservation in Belize. Belize has designated nearly half of its land as protected areas, hoping to preserve unique and rare tropical creatures that live here. In addition to animals, Belize is home to over 4,000 species of plants, including over 250 types of orchids. Discuss how competing interests, such as oil discovery and tourism development, are being reconciled with environmental concerns.

Dinner: Appetizers in the Main Lodge followed by a four course dinner.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Lodging in private cabanas situated along the banks of the Moho River featuring private bath with hot and cold running water, completely screened in. Howler monkeys, iguanas and incredible bird life are seen daily.

Contact info:
Moho River
San Felipe, Toledo District Belize
phone: +501-670-0557
web: www.cottontreelodge.com

Room amenities: Approximately 300 square feet with private bath, ceiling fan, and screened louvered shutters decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

Facility amenities: Wireles internet, bar, gift shop, kayaking and swimming in the Moho River, horseback riding, and 100 acres of trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $150USD
Price based on double occupancy and includes accommodations, all meals, daily guided tours, transfers to and from Punta Gorda, and all taxes. $50USD surcharge for single occupancy.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Seven: Friday, January 25 - Chocolate Farm and Farewell Party with Garifuna D...
Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast in the Main Lodge

Morning: Excursion to an organic cacao farm in the village of San Pedro Columbia. Cacao, the fruit that produces cocoa beans, is becoming an important cash crash for small farmers in southern Belize. Hike the jungle trails along with a Mayan farmer and learn how his productive farm coexists with the surrounding ecosystems of the rainforest. See how cacao is grown, harvested, fermented, dried, and prepared for market. Taste fresh cacao, along with other exotic edible plants, while observing incredible wildlife and vistas.

Lunch: Return to the farmer's home in the village and share a traditional Belizean lunch with his family.

Afternoon: After the meal, join his wife and daughters and learn how to roast and grind cacao into delicious hot chocolate drink enjoyed by both ancient and modern Maya

Dinner: Appetizers in the Main Lodge followed by a four-course dinner.

Evening: Cultural presentation and drumming performance by traditional Garifuna musicians in the Main Lodge. The Garifuna people are descendents of shipwrecked African slaves who escaped to St. Vincent island in 1635 and the Carib Indians who already lived there. After the British displaced them from St. Vincent in 1773, Garinagu communities spread to Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. Traditional Garifuna music draws on African influences, utilizing drums and strong rhythms. If you like, learn some traditional dances like the 'punta' or the 'huga huga'.

Lodging: Cotton Tree Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eight: Saturday, January 26 - Transfer to Punta Gorda and Departures
Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast in the Main Lodge

Morning: Early morning departure to Punta Gorda with time available in town to explore the farmers market. Fly from Punta Gorda to Belize International Airport in Belize City.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
7 nights of accommodations
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
7 Field trips
2 Hands-on experiences
2 Performances
2 Flights during the program

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