Butterflies, Beaches and Belize
Length: 7 days. Group educational tour to Belize for 12 or more students or adults. Self-designed custom tours typically led by teachers of high school juniors and seniors.
Highlights: New River Safari, Lamanai Mayan Ruins, Belize City Tour, Canopy Tour, Cave Tubing, Caracol Mayan Ruins, Hawkesworth Bridge and Market, Belize National Zoo, Barrel Boom, Old River Safari, Snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley
Itinerary: Belize City (3), Ignacio (2), Ambergris Caye (2)
Day 1 – Belize City
Board your jet to Belize City! Located on the East coast of Central America in the heart of the Caribbean, Belize offers its visitors the best of any vacation paradise. Nestled in between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize encompasses tropical rainforest rich with wildlife, majestic mountain ranges, Mayan temples, and unlimited water activities. Historical sites, ancient Maya cities, beautiful beaches, snorkeling, sunsets, and friendly locals, Belize has got it all! Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the hotel for check in. Unwind, unpack, and get settled in for a week in Belize you’ll never forget! Spanish churches, and a colonial sugar mill established in 1860. From exotic wildlife to ancient Mayan ruins deep in the jungle, you will feel like you’re in real Indiana Jones movie!
Day 2 – Belize City
After breakfast, transfer to Tower Hill to board your boat up the New River. While gliding through the numerous creeks and lagoons, be sure to keep an eye out for hawks, falcons, and even a monkey or two! As you enter the lagoon of the New River, the Ruins of Lamanai slowly rise into view. Lamanai houses one of Belize’s largest ceremonial centers and has been continuously occupied for over 3,000 years. See the masks of previous rulers and gods among the rainforest trees. Visit several Mayan temples, see remnants of two 16th century Spanish churches, and a colonial sugar mill established in 1860. From exotic wildlife to ancient Mayan ruins deep in the jungle, you will feel like you’re in real Indiana Jones movie!
Day 3 – Belize City
Begin the day with a half-day guided Belize City Tour. This old British colonial capital is the country’s only commercial and cultural center. See the ancient swing bridge over the Haulover Creek, still operated by manpower to this day. Also take a close look at the oldest Anglican Cathedral in Central America, St. John’s Cathedral. This afternoon is free for further exploration. Wander through the streets of town bargaining for souvenirs or find a sunny spot on the beach and take in the remarkable view.
Day 4 – Ignacio
On the way to Ignacio, begin your journey with a Canopy Tour. Swing from the trees of the rainforest and get an up-close view of its inhabitants. From howler monkeys to rare species of birds, your guide will help you uncover all the hidden creatures among the flora and fauna. This afternoon, experience tubing like you’ve never done before: Cave Tubing! Hike down a jungle trail to a tunnel entrance leading you to an underground cave system. With flashlights in hand, board your inner tube and sail along a winding path through ancient Maya mountains and caves. Once inhabited by Indians, these caves now put on an impressive display of illuminating formations, stalagmites and stalactites. Come prepared with swimsuits and a change of clothing for this water adventure of a lifetime!
Day 5 – Ignacio
Enjoy a full day tour to the Caracol Mayan Ruins. First discovered in 1938, it wasn’t until the late 1900’s when the importance of Caracol was really understood. When an alter stone was discovered describing the victory over the Tikal tribe, it was was clear that Caracol wa the supreme Maya City and not Tikal as originally thought. This new link changed Mayan history as we know it. See the largest pyramid known as “sky place” stand over 140 feet and is the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize. This afternoon, have some time to see the Hawkesworth Suspension Bridge and bargain for traditional Belizean treasures in the Market area before dinner.
Day 6 – Ambergris Caye
After breakfast, explore the Belize National Zoo home to over 100 species. All animals are native to Belize including the tapir, black howler monkey, scarlet macaw and jaguar. The Belize Zoo was originally created for animals that were injured and could not be returned to the wild. Today, the zoo is home to an impressive array of large wild cats, primates, reptiles and exotic birds. The zoo offers you the chance to view all of Belize’s indigenous wildlife from one central location. Later,stroll through the tiny village streets of Barrel Boom, a quaint settlement on the Old River bank. See traditional Belizean customs, culture, and a relaxed way of life in this sleepy little town. Board a safari boat this afternoon and cruise down the Old River keeping close watch for iguanas, crocodiles, and monkeys.
Day 7 – Ambergris Caye
A full day of snorkeling and adventure awaits you today. First stop, Hol Chan Marine Reserve. It is Belize ‘s first underwater park, a protected area since 1986. There is more marine life in this small isolated spot than anywhere in the whole country. Your second stop today is Shark Ray Alley. This unique site originated when fishermen docked inside the reef to clean their catch. Numerous sting rays and nurse sharks hang out here, waiting for the fresh “catch of the day” from fishing boats or to get their share of sardines from dive masters. Nowhere else in the world can you get this close to marine life. This is truly a snorkeling adventure you don’t want to miss!
Day 8 – Depart
Return home from the adventure of a lifetime with fantastic memories of Belize.