Ambergris Caye, Belize - Colorful chairs and sun shades on the beach of a tropical island.

Destination: Belize

Summer 2021

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A private tour designed by Dr. Michael Scharff, in conjunction with EF Customized Tours.
Departure date (tentative):  Friday, August 6, 2021

Tour Highlights and Details

Overnight stays:        

  • Belize City Region (2)
  • Punta Gorda (1)
  • Placencia (1)
  • Cayo Region (3)
  • Ambergris Caye (3)

Sightseeing tours led by an expert, licensed local guide of the following:

  • Tikal Archeological site
  • Jungle hike

Entrances included to the following sites:

  • Lamanai Ruins
  • Old Sugar Mill
  • Ziplining Nohucheen
  • Cave Tubing
  • The Mayan site of Nim Li Punit
  • Introduction to the Reef Eco System
  • Snorkeling in the Cayes
  • Maya Center
  • From Beans to Bars 
  • St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park
  • Tikal
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
  • Maya Cooking and Pottery Experience 
  • Belize Zoo
  • Snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve
  • Snorkeling in the coral gardens

Your Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Belize

Meet your group and board your flight to Belize City.

Arrive in Belize City: Welcome to Belize. In Belize’s largest city, you’ll find an interesting mix of Caribbean charm and eclectic culture. Belize achieved independence from Britain in 1981 and attracts visitors to its famous Barrier Reef, rainforests, and Mayan ruins.

Day 2: Belize City

Guided visit to the Lamanai Ruins

“Lamanai” means “submerged crocodile” in the Mayan language, a fact you won’t forget as you discover crocodile carvings and artwork all over these ruins-some dating back as far as 1500 B.C. View three large pyramids, residential areas, some open plazas, and a ball court. Make sure to check out the views from both the spectacular High Temple and the Mask Temple, where tall stone faces are carved into the sides of the structure. Later, return to Belize City for the night.

Visit the Old Sugar Mill

During your journey through the jungle, you’ll come across the brick and wooden remains of a sugar mill that was imported from New Orleans. Now home to only the surrounding wildlife, the old mill has become almost entirely intertwined with the jungle.

Day 3: Belize City | Punta Gorda

Guided jungle hike

Depart Belize City for Peccary Hills National Park and its 10,000 acres of preserved rainforest. Explore rainforests crisscrossed with streams and caves once inhabited by the Maya as you trek through this tropical paradise with a guide. Look for tropical birds fluttering in the canopy, reptiles soaking in the sun and perhaps an old turtle making its way through a cool stream-it’s all part of an average day in Peccary Hills.

Zip-line tour

After your hike up to the jungle canopy, the zip-line platforms await. You’ll learn how to properly navigate a zip-line before being safely secured and traveling through the air. The view of the worlds below is truly breathtaking.

Cave tubing

Enjoy cave tubing and enjoy the cool waters within one of Belize’s many astounding cave systems.

Travel to Punta Gorda

This morning you’ll travel to the southeast shores of Punta Gorda in search of the beautiful Cotton Tree Lodge: an eco-cabana on the banks of the Moho River, and your new headquarters for sustainable adventure.

Day 4: Punta Gorda | Placencia

Visit the Mayan Site of Nim Li Punit

Located in the Toledo District, this Mayan site is often called “Big Hat” by the indigenous locals because of the enormous headdress found on the stone stela sculpture overlooking it. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the three main plazas here.

Travel to the Placencia Peninsula

Travel to the white beaches and mangrove fields of Placencia, a peninsula in the Stann Creek District.

Snorkeling in the Cayes

Take to the waters and swim with over 500 species of fish and hundreds of invertebrates and coral. Strap on a snorkel and discover colors you didn’t even know existed in the warm waters of the “little channel” before returning to Placencia for the evening.

Day 5: Placencia | San Ignacio

Mayan chocolate making process with farm visit 

Visit a Maya village and meet members of its community, where you’ll learn about authentic Maya culture from indigenous experts, try dance moves that are as old as their civilization, and taste coffee that has been harvested and ground right in front of you. Understand the Maya chocolate-making process with a visit to a chocolate bean farm that uses age-old techniques, and be sure to either take a bar for the road or some powder to cook with at home.

Blue Hole National Park

At this stunning national park, you’ll go exploring in a nearby cave, where time stands still, and countless tracks and preserved artifacts are waiting to be discovered. Afterwards, you’ll return back into the daylight for a hike through the lush jungles outside of the cave. After your adventures around the park, take a well-deserved dip in the azure watering hole for which it’s named.

Arrive in San Ignacio

Make your way to the small town of San Ignacio to relax after a busy day.

Day 6: San Ignacio

Guided visit to Tikal

Cross into Guatemala and visit the ancient Maya site of Tikal. With an expert local guide, tour one of the largest Maya UNESCO World Heritage archaeological sites, noteworthy in its evidence of the decline of the Maya state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7: San Ignacio

Visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves

Enjoy this full-day excursion to the river caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal. The caves hold a variety of Mayan artifacts including skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware dating over 1,000 years old. With a guide, learn about the history of this archeological site. (Please note this activity does require a certain level of physical stamina.)

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave and Mayan Ruins

Day 7: San Ignacio | Ambergris Caye

Maya cooking and pottery experience 

Enjoy a Maya cooking and pottery experience. Help make corn tortillas alongside local women and try your hand at crafting traditional Maya pottery.

Visit the Belize Zoo 

Your visit to the Belize Zoo, opened in 1983 by U.S. naturalist Sharon Matola, may prove to be unlike any zoo experience you’ve ever had. The zoo has no moats, cages, or concrete platforms; all the animals live side-by-side in fenced-in areas of bush, forest, and riversides, allowing visitors to see them in their natural habitats. The Belize Zoo is home to 36 of the 100 species native to Belize.

Visit Burrell Boom 

Head to Burrell Boom, a small town on the banks of the Olde Belize River. The name “Boom” comes from the iron chains used for logging during the 1700s-chains that remain in the river today.

Travel to Ambergris Caye 

Return to Belize City, where you’ll hop aboard a ferry headed to idyllic Ambergris Caye, located just off the tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

Day 9: Ambergris Caye

Snorkeling at Hol Chan

The Ambergris Caye coastline is protected by the Belize Barrier Reef, a diverse ecosystem with over 500 species of fish, hundreds of invertebrates and over 90 varieties of coral identified. At Central America’s first marine reserve you’ll have the chance to discover it all for yourself.

Day 10: Ambergris Caye

Time to explore or enjoy the beach.

Enjoy time to make your own explorations of Ambergris Caye.

Snorkel in Coral Gardens.

See one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems up close when you explore parts of the Belize Barrier Reef with an expert local guide. Board a boat bound for Caye Caulker and snorkel through the stunning Coral Gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 11: Depart for home

Meet your group and board your flight.

Depart for home: Transfer to the Belize City airport for your return flight.
Your Tour Director assists with your transfer to the airport, where you’ll check-in for your return flight home
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