Hike and Snorkel to Find the Mystery of the Maya in Guatemala and Belize

Experience the diverse wonders of Central America as you hike and snorkel with experts, learn about ancient Mayan culture and discover local wildlife at the Caye Marine Reserve.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20813RJ
10 days
Starts at
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at

At a Glance

For outdoor enthusiasts and pre-Columbian history buffs the Central American neighbors of Belize and Guatemala offer the best of both worlds. Swim to a jungle cave to find Mayan ceremonial artifacts. Discover the jewel of Mayan civilization at Tikal. Rappel down a 300-foot sink hole and snorkel in Belize’s South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Virgin rain forests with orchids, howler monkeys and toucans and hundreds of species of exotic birds make getting to these magical and mysterious Mayan sites half the fun.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Very active program, includes walking on forest trails and suspension bridges, rappelling into a large sinkhole, snorkeling and swimming. Less strenuous activities are available on most challenging days.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Swim, hike and climb your way to Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave to view the ceremonial pottery, burial chambers and petrified remains of ancient Maya.
  • Discover the beautiful underwater world of Belize's barrier reef while snorkeling in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve.
  • Hike to the edge of the Black Hole, a large sinkhole used for Maya religious ceremonies, and rappel into its 300-foot crater.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life
by Paul Humann
Humann's compact guide illustrates Caribbean fishes, corals, invertebrates and plants commonly encountered in shallower water.
Guatemalan Journey
by Stephen Connely Benz
Opening with a long chapter on life in Guatemala City, Benz’s memoir moves on to the remote highlands and other little-visited regions. An excellent account of Guatemala’s political history, traditions, and indigenous cultures.
Tropical Nature
by Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.
Belize, Travellers' Wildlife Guides
by Les Beletsky
An all-around field guide featuring color illustrations of 200 birds, 50 mammals, 150 coral reef creatures and 80 reptiles and amphibians.
Popol Vuh, The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
by Dennis Tedlock (Editor)
The definitive, unabridged collection of creation myths and stories of the Quiche people, fundamental to understanding the worldview of the highland Maya.
How to Cook a Tapir
by Joan Fry
The coming-of-age memoir by Joan Fry, a young newlywed, who moves with her anthropologist husband to the jungles of Belize. Her introspective account is interwoven with stories, portraits of locals and traditional recipes.
Maya Art and Architecture
by Mary Ellen Miller
An illustrated overview of the art and architecture of the Maya, making use of the latest discoveries at Tikal, Copan and Palenque to demonstrate the range of Mayan artistic influence. Revised and updated, this new edition includes color illustrations throughout.
Time Among the Maya, Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico
by Ronald Wright
Wright combines journalism, archaeology and an ear for dialogue in this engaging account of travels among the contemporary Maya.
Belize in Focus, A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture
by Ian Peedle
A brief, authoritative guide to the history, cultural heritage, politics and economy of Belize. With maps, photographs and some travel information, it's an excellent synopsis from an unabashedly left-leaning perspective, strong on facts.
Insight Guide Guatemala, Belize & the Yucatan
by Insight Guides
This handsome guide gives a profusely illustrated overview of Guatemala, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula, featuring concise essays by well regarded authors on natural history, politics and culture.
A Natural History of Belize
by Samuel Bridgewater
Presenting the habitats, biodiversity, and ecology of both the tropical Chiquibul Forest (also known as the Maya Forest) and Belize in its entirety.
The History of Central America
by Thomas L. Pearcy
A brief history, beginning with the ancient Maya and moving through European contact and conquest, independence movements, finishing in the 20th century.
The Code of Kings, The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs
by Linda Schele, Peter Mathews
A vivid guided tour of seven Maya sites, including Palenque, Tikal and Chichen Itza. This outstanding book features photos and line drawings throughout, and introductory chapters with a succinct introduction to Maya history and culture.
Ghost Lights
by Lydia Millet
In Millet's anticipated follow-up to How the Dead Dream, a mild-mannered IRS bureaucrat follows a runaway millionaire into the surreal tropical jungle. The prose has a lovely stillness and has been hailed as a haunting, mesmerizing novel of ideas.
Belize Field Guide
by Rainforest Publications (Illustrator)
Mammals, amphibians, and reptiles are all included in this 14-panel, fold-up pocket field guide
The Maya Tropical Forest: Peoples, Parks and Ancient Cities
by James D. Nations
Jim Nations draws on field work in the region over the last 25 years in this personable, detailed overview of the people, history and wildlife of the lowland tropical forest of southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird
by Bruce Barcott
The gripping tale of Sharon Matola's six-year campaign to stop a dam that would flood the forest home of Belize's last scarlet macaws.
Belize Marine Life
by Rainforest Publications
This handy guide to the ocean life around Belize is a 14-panel, full-color reference. Includes illustrations for reef fish, marine mammals, sport fish, and sea turtles.
Central America Map
A detailed map of the Central American isthmus at a scale of 1:1,100,000.
A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America & Southeast Mexico
by Fiona Reid
This second edition of Fiona Reid's wonderfully detailed and comprehensive field guide to the mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico features 59 vivid full-color illustrations. Reid painted most of the creatures in the field, a formidable challenge and -- given the quality of the results -- well worth her while. With parks, and protected areas, habitats, range maps, tracks and natural history.

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