20813
Belize/Guatemala
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, learning about Mayan culture, pre-Columbian artifacts local wildlife and Caye Marine Reserve.
Program No. 20813RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,999
Special Offer
Flights start at
595
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10 days
9 nights
26 meals
9 B 8 L 9 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Arrive Belize City, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Belize City
D
Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy a plated welcome dinner with fish, pork, or chicken options, with rice, salad, and vegetable sides. Coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Transfers to and from program activities will be by motorcoach, unless specified otherwise. Meals on our program feature local cuisine. In many cases, they will be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Boat Ride on the New River, Exploring the Lamanai Ruins
Belize City
B,L,D
Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina

Activity note: Driving total around 2 miles. Boat ride total approximately 2 hours. Walking around 1 km loop. Terrain is mostly flat. Optional hike to a small hill where you can enjoy a great view.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy a breakfast buffet with fruits, cereal, different type of eggs, and local food plus coffee, tea, water, juice.

Morning: We will transfer to the New River dock and embark on a scenic boat ride of about 31 miles upstream to the Mayan ruins at Lamanai. While navigating the calm waters of the New River, we’ll try to find and identify some of the many bird species found in the area, including black-collared hawks, mangrove swallows, olive-throated parakeets, and American pygmy kingfishers, to name a few. If lucky, we may even catch a glimpse of the rarely seen Jabiru Stork! As we get close-up views of mangroves and virgin forests flanking the narrow waterway, let’s try to spot the colorful orchids that grow along the river banks. We’ll disembark at Lamanai for a walking exploration of the more than 50 impressive structures found at the archaeological reserve. This large Mayan ceremonial center is set in a tropical forest on the banks of the New River Lagoon in the north central region of Belize. Some of the site's highlights include the Jaguar Temple, the High Temple, and the Mask Temple. A beautiful panoramic view of the lagoon and surrounding jungle can be seen from the top of the High Temple. It is believed that the ancient center was occupied during more than 3,200 years, and as recently as in the 18th century.

Lunch: At the ruins, we will enjoy a lunch of local creole food like Belizean chicken, rice and salad.

Afternoon: We’ll continue exploring the archaeological complex. In addition to protecting many fascinating Maya buildings, the reserve at Lamanai provides shelter to a large number of animals. Visitors are sometimes caught off-guard as the rainforest comes alive with the loud, guttural calls of howler monkeys perched high in the forest. Other animals occasionally spotted at the site include agoutis, jaguarundis, woodpeckers, toucans, aracari, trogons, and armadillos. We’ll transfer back to Belize City by boat and bus to return to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Belize Zoo, Transfer to Guatemala, Ixpanpajul Nature Park
Tikal/Peten Region
B,L,D
Hotel Villa Maya

Activity note: Total driving today approximately 4 hours. Flat terrain in Ixpanpajul but hanging bridges are demanding.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet.

Morning: We will experience the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, founded in 1983 as a safe haven for more than 125 animals native to Belize, encompassing 29 acres of tropical savanna and house. Afterwards, we’ll begin our transfer to the Peten region in Guatemala, with a brief stop at the Belize/Guatemala border for an examination of group documentation.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in San Ignacio, we’ll enjoy a plated meal based on beef or chicken with rice and vegetables, with vegetarian options available; coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our transfer to Flores, in the Peten region of Guatemala. En route, we’ll stop at Ixpanpajul Nature Park for an expert-led forest walk on trails and hanging bridges. The Ixpanpajul Natural Park covers an area of 9 square kilometers and has more than 200 species of trees, 150 plus species of birds and about 40 species of mammals. A walking trail with six hanging bridges provides multiple angles from which to observe and admire the park's abundant flora and fauna. We’ll learn about the layers of a tropical forest while walking on trails and hanging bridges that eventually lead to the summit of Miramás Hill and its rewarding views of Lake Peten Itza. We’ll then transfer to the hotel for check-in.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy a meal, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Tikal Ruins, Views of Lake Peten Itza
Tikal/Peten Region
B,L,D
Hotel Villa Maya

Activity note: Tikal activities include climbing steep stone and wooden staircases, and walking on irregular forest trails. Participants should wear sturdy walking shoes with good rubber tread, lightweight pants and t-shirt that are comfortable and allow freedom of movement. Also bring insect repellent/sunscreen. See packing list for more handy items.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant, we will enjoy a meal with coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the ruins at Tikal with our Group Leader and local expert. This site, with its massive temples rising above the rainforest canopy, conjures images of an Indiana Jones adventure. Once swallowed by the rainforest, Tikal is one of the largest excavated Mayan sites, with more than 4,000 structures. It also features some of the tallest temples in the Mayan world. An impressive network of causeways, aqueducts and canals, which not only served as an irrigation system but also provided drinking water for the city, are displays of some masterful engineering. Underground tunnels and new structures are still being discovered and excavated.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated barbecue meal with rice, vegetables, and fruits, plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: We’ll learn more about Tikal and its mysteries as we continue our visit after lunch. Afterwards, we’ll transfer back for a late afternoon arrival to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Yaxha National Park & Ruins
Cayo District/Pook's Hill Reserve
B,L,D
Pook's Hill Lodge

Activity note: The drive to Yaxha is about 1 hour, to Belize about 2 hours. The terrain is flat, paths of dirt and grass. No handrails to climb temples. 2 hour loop walk at Yaxha.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant.

Morning: Today we’ll enjoy a field trip to Yaxha National Park, located approximately 45 miles from Flores. The Yaxha ruins are part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve along with the sites of Nakum and El Naranjo. Findings indicate that the city was occupied throughout the pre-classic and post-classic periods and that it was allied to Tikal. Yaxha has more than 500 buildings, including a twin pyramid complex not seen anywhere else save in Tikal.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll begin our transfer to the Cayo District in Belize with a stop at the Guatemala/Belize border for inspection of travel documentation. Late-afternoon arrival at the lodge. Check into rooms and freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At the lodge restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal with coffee, tea, water, local juice included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy the open-air lounge and observe the night-feeding fruit bats at the hummingbird feeders.

DAY
6
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Adventure, Free Time
Cayo District/Pook's Hill Reserve
B,L,D
Pook's Hill Lodge

Activity note: 45 minute drive to cave. Walk/hike about 45 minutes to river. Wear a bathing suit under comfortable, older clothing, closed-toe shoes, and old socks that can get wet and dirty. Arrive at cave entrance after 45-minute jungle hike, swim a short distance through the mouth of the cave to enter site. Cave floor is mostly wet and rocky. Some wading in ankle-to-shoulder-deep water required. In fragile sections, participants will need to remove shoes so as not to damage the cave floor and/or artifacts.

Breakfast: At the lodge restaurant, we will enjoy a meal with eggs, toast, ham or bacon, and fruits, plus coffee, tea, water, juice included.

Morning: After breakfast, we’ll drive to the starting point for our exploration of Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. This arduous, rewarding activity will begin with 45 minutes of hiking that includes river crossings and wading in knee-high water. Once at the cave entrance, we will swim through the opening and start a 3.5-hour journey in the cave. The “ATM Cave,” Actun Tunichil Muknal, is an important archaeological wonder of the Mayan world. This living museum full of important artifacts is a fragile system which requires strict instruction for the preservation of this site and for the safety of all participants.

Lunch: On site, we will enjoy a meal of self-prepared burritos with many options for ingredients.

Afternoon: We will return to the lodge. Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: Lodge restaurant plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Black Hole Hiking & Rappelling Adventure
False Sittee Point
B,L,D
Jaguar Reef Lodge

Activity note: Driving total approximately 3 hours. Black Hole activities require a high level of physical fitness. 2 hour uphill hikes on dirt trails, repelling 300 feet into a sink hole, rock climbing and ladder climbing. Weather is usually hot, sunny and humid and trails can become muddy when there is rain. Participants should wear sturdy walking shoes with rubber tread, lightweight pants, t-shirt that allows freedom of movement. Also bring insect repellent/sunscreen. See packing list for more handy items.

Breakfast: Lodge restaurant meal.

Morning: After checkout, we will start the day with a transfer to Cave Branch for a full day of hiking and rappelling activities at Black Hole. Upon arrival at Cave Branch, we’ll take part in an instructional session before driving to the base camp and starting our 1.5-hour hike. The hike comes to an end at the hilltop at the edge of an enormous sink hole. After donning harnesses and receiving the necessary instructions, we’ll rappel into the 300-foot sink hole. Once at the forested bottom, we can reward our efforts with a well-deserved break for lunch. Those who do not wish to take part in the Black Hole hike/rappelling will have the option to participate in a moderately strenuous river cave expedition. The cave activity begins with a 15 minute drive to a drop off point at the river's edge. Sit in a rubber inner tube and float through the entrance to the cave. Continue floating through the dark chambers, enjoying views of the sparkling mineral formations overhead with the aid of headlamps. Once the water becomes too shallow, put aside the inner tubes and set off on foot. The cave floor is rocky and wet and at times it will be necessary to climb over rocky formations.

Lunch: On site, we will enjoy a meal of self-prepared burritos with many options for ingredients.

Afternoon: We’ll continue to explore the sink-hole floor as we make our way back to the camp site. The hike takes approximately 45 minutes. Once at the camp site, we will have the opportunity to clean up before we begin our transfer drive to the Caribbean coast. We will arrive at the lodge by late afternoon for check-in.

Dinner: At the lodge restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal with coffee, tea, water, local juice included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Free Time
False Sittee Point
B,L,D
Jaguar Reef Lodge

Activity note: Boat ride is approximately 45 minutes to the snorkeling site. Snorkeling equipment will be provided on-site.

Breakfast: At the lodge, we will enjoy a meal with coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We’ll board a boat from the lodge's docks and enjoy a 45-minute ride out to South Water Caye Marine Reserve. The morning will be spent snorkeling around reef patches. We’ll then return to the lodge.

Lunch: At the lodge, we will enjoy a meal with coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to enjoy the lodge's facilities or explore local sites. The coastal fishing village of Hopkins is located about one mile from the lodge. It is mostly populated by Garifunas and has a few interesting shops and restaurants where one can experience the local culture.

Dinner: At the lodge, we will enjoy a meal with coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Return to South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Free Time
False Sittee Point
B,L,D
Jaguar Reef Lodge

Activity note: Boat ride is approximately 45 minutes to the snorkeling site. Snorkeling equipment will be provided on-site.

Breakfast: Lodge restaurant.

Morning: We’ll board a boat from the lodge's docks and enjoy a 45-minute ride out to South Water Caye Marine Reserve. The morning will be spent snorkeling around reef patches we didn’t explore the day before. We’ll take a boat ride back to the lodge for lunch.

Lunch: Lodge restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: At the lodge, we’ll talk about our week with new friends during a farewell dinner of off-menu options or buffet selections including fish, beet, chicken and vegetarian dishes. Coffee, tea, water and one glass of wine included.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Transfer to Belize City, Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 7:50 a.m. 30 minute flight to Belize for connecting flights. The proposed internal flight arrives to the international airport at approximately 10:30 a.m. and is included in the program cost. Participants making their own flight arrangements should book flights departing after 1:00 p.m. to ensure good connection times.

Breakfast: Lodge restaurant.

Morning: After an early breakfast, we’ll drive 45 minutes to the Dangriga airstrip and catch a 30-minute flight to Belize City's Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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