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Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins
Picture of Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins

Destination: Belize

On this trip we start with an exploration of Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in inland Belize, learning about the natural history as we take a boat tour through the Crooked Tree Lagoons and the human history as we become immersed in current and past civilizations. Visiting the Mayan ruin of Lamanai is a definite highlight! We then move to our private island basecamp on Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a remote tropical marine park 55 miles offshore from the mainland that is managed by the Belize Audubon Society. We sleep in comfortable safari-style tent cabanas located right on the beach and enjoy fresh food, tropical fruit, and local dishes. A flexible daily schedule offers opportunities to snorkel, kayak, swim, and try stand up paddleboarding (SUP). We also have the options of birding, beachcombing, and lazing in hammocks. Activities are geared to people of all interest and ability levels so you can choose the vacation you want. The guides will make sure you learn what you need to know to stay safe and have fun. Maximum group size: 22

Highlights

  • Snorkeling among coral reefs in one of the richest marine environments in the entire Caribbean
  • Sea kayaking in clear water in a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Exploring inland Belize including world class birding, lagoons, waterways, and a Mayan ruin
  • Becoming steeped in Belizean culture, current and past
  • Feasting on fresh food, tropical fruit, and local cuisine
  • Experiencing all the benefits of camping without any of the challenges

Departures and Prices

March 01 to March 09, 2020
$2895.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • An AGC guide and 2-6 Belizean guides (mostly male) and staff depending on group size
  • Eight nights lodging as described, and meals from dinner on Sunday through dinner the following Sunday
  • All snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding and equipment
  • Transportation within Belize, including an airport pickup if you arrive on the trip start date. Airport transportation is not included at the end of the trip, or if you arrive prior to the first day

What's not included: Travel to and from Belize, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, travel insurance (see notes on travel insurance below), and transport from our hotel to BZE at the end of the trip.

Details

This trip is designed for women of all interest and ability levels who want an active vacation in a warm winter environment. With different options for activities each day, you can decide just how active you want to be. To be sure you can fully enjoy the level 3 activities, participants should be engaging in aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. Rating: [1] [2] [3] 4 5.

This is a multisport trip: we snorkel, kayak, swim, enjoy birdwatching, explore Mayan ruins, and try stand up paddleboarding (SUP). It doesn't matter whether you're brand new to these sports or already experienced, the guides will make sure you learn what you need to know to stay safe and have fun.

We'll spend three nights at Bird's Eye View Lodge, four nights at the private Half Moon Caye basecamp in our ocean-view tent cabanas, and one night at a Belize City hotel. The rooms at the lodge all have two beds with ensuite bathrooms and plenty of hot water. The basecamp is "glamping" at it's finest. The cabanas are tents, with wooden floors, pitched directly on the beach. They are 8' by 12', and 6' high where the roof meets the walls. Each tent has 2 single beds or one double bed with a 6 inch firm foam mattress on a cot. Additionally, inside each tent there is a night stand, oil lamp, a place for your bags and some hanging shelves for your clothes. Outside there is a small deck with 2 chairs and hammocks beckon from nearby trees. Compost toilets and cool water showers are 30 to 60 yards away. Is this "camping"? Not like you've ever tried it before. When we reach Belize City at the end of the trip, we'll be ready for hot showers and a bit of luxury. These rooms have queen beds and ensuite bathrooms.

Our trip cost is based on double occupancy. We will pair you with another traveler unless you request a specific roommate. There are also 2 single supplements available for an extra cost. Availability of each type of room will be clearly noted on the registration form. Be sure to note your choice.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Arrive at the Belize International Airport no later than 3:00pm, where an AGC representative will meet you and take you to Bird's Eye View Lodge, our lodging for the next three nights. Located in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, the Bird's Eye View Lodge sits along the banks of the Crooked Tree Lagoon and couldn't be more aptly named - this is a birders' paradise and if you've never been a birder, this may convert you. The protected area was created in 1984 primarily to preserve resident and migratory birds, and consists of a network of inland lagoons, swamps, and waterways. There are literally hundreds of species within the sanctuary, including, snail kites, tiger herons, snowy egrets, ospreys, black collared hawks, and the reserve's most famous resident, the massive jabiru stork. We'll gather as a group for welcome and introductions, and enjoy our first dinner together.
DAY 2
Today we have a full day of exploration as we travel overland and by river to some Mayan ruins. During our exploration of the New River en route, we'll learn the history of this ancient mahogany trading route. In addition to the large variety of bird species (including parrots and toucans), monkeys, crocodiles and other animals may also be seen. What a way to arrive at Lamanai, the site was one of the longest continuously occupied Mayan cities, from about 500 BC to 1675 AD. During our guided tour we'll thoroughly explore the many temples, plazas, palaces, and museums within the park boundaries. Perhaps we'll meet one of the four troops of howler monkeys that make their home here. About 3.0 miles of walking, with frequent stops to listen and explore these historic ruins. We'll welcome the return to our lodge along the banks of the Crooked Tree Lagoons for another delicious dinner.
DAY 3
We'll get an early start as we enjoy the sights and sounds of the awakening wilderness on an early morning lagoon boat tour. Surrounded by hundreds of birds, this is birding as you've never experienced it before. Taking time for a hearty breakfast, we'll then immerse ourselves in more current Belizean history as we explore Crooked Tree Village, one of Belize's oldest Creole Settlements. This will be an active exploration as we canoe, walk, and experience hands on demonstrations of what has sustained the economy of this village over hundreds of years. We'll enjoy our final stay at the Lodge tonight, with sadness about leaving and anticipation for the next leg of our adventure.
DAY 4
This morning we return to Belize City where we board a chartered water taxi to Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Our route first takes us along numerous white sand, partially submerged, mangrove cayes until we cross Belize's Barrier Reef. From here, we enter the narrow passages within the Turneffe Islands before crossing the blue waters towards Lighthouse Atoll. Upon reaching our Half Moon Caye basecamp, we receive an orientation to our new island paradise. Have you ever wanted your own private Caribbean Island? Yup, no one else here but Audubon headquarters. Safari-style tents with beds on cots, in a row along a beautiful beach looking out to the ocean are our new accommodations. This afternoon we receive thorough instruction on the fundamentals of water safety on the Caribbean Sea. Weather permitting, we'll have an opportunity to sea kayak and/or snorkel within this marine reserve.
DAY 5

Days 5 - 7. It would be misleading to spell out a daily itinerary because there is so much flexibility and so many options that you could have a very different trip from the person you're sharing a tent with. If you're an early riser, you might choose to start the day with sunrise yoga, a walk along the beach, or a cup of coffee as you watch the sunrise. After a healthy and hearty Belizean breakfast, we'll gather to plan the day’s activities. The waters of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are exceptionally clear with a fabulously rich reef system, which offers some of the best kayaking, snorkeling, and diving in the Caribbean. You can paddle, snorkel, learn how to SUP (stand up paddleboard), and perhaps try your hand at fishing (they prefer to call it "catching" as the fishing is uncertain).

Snorkeling in areas containing a profusion of tropical fish and towering coral formations, is always a highlight. Depending on weather we may also be taken on a snorkeling excursion to the renowned Blue Hole, a site made famous by the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau. The Blue Hole is an underwater cave and sinkhole in the middle of the Lighthouse lagoon. Kayaking options are suitable for both novice and experienced kayakers. And always, when you're tired of doing, you can kick back in a hammock and enjoy a good book, or walk to the red-footed booby colony to watch nesting boobies come in from the sea to tend their nests and feed their chicks. After all, this is vacation and not boot camp! The local guides are a wealth of information and they love to share their vast knowledge of Belize, its unique marine environments and local culture.

On Day 7 we'll enjoy a farewell dinner on our island paradise.


DAY 6

DAY 7

DAY 8
This is the kind of place that is so hard to tear yourself away from! Today like every other day, you can choose from a variety of activities. Don a mask, snorkel, and fins for a final swim to a favorite patch reef. Circumnavigate Half Moon Caye by kayak or explore by Stand Up Paddleboard. Walk the trails, or beachcomb along the island beaches. Our water taxi typically arrives later in the afternoon to take us back to the mainland. We'll spend our last night at the Belize Biltmore Hotel, a comfortable hotel located on the outskirts of Belize City. We'll share a final dinner in town, toasting each other and our magical time in Belize.
DAY 9
You can leave anytime this morning or enjoy the day at your leisure before you fly home or continue on your travels. Relax by the pool or investigate the optional tours offered by the hotel activity desk.

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

2 highlights: (1) snorkeling on half-moon caye; (2) birding in Crooked Tree.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


all the opportunities for snorkeling

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


SO many highlights. I think the overall highlight was getting to see Belize from a non-tourist, real, back to nature, perspective. The people -- at the Lodge and certainly from Island Expeditions -- made sure we were immersed in everything wonderful about the country.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


All the planning, attention to detail, and making sure everyone/anyone's concerns would be addressed. I really liked talking to the other women and hearing their life experiences. It was nice that not many people knew each other and therefore seemed more likely to connect with everyone else. Loved the positive vibe and the concern for the local people/environment.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Loved the day of local culture at Birds Eye Lodge!

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Loved the snorkeling and all the wildlife/nature

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Everything, the guide was wonderful, the trip perfect. I think everyone on the trip had a great time.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


I really enjoyed each day's activities but I especially appreciated all of the opportunities for cultural experiences and education at Bird's Eye Lodge and on the island. The cashew and rice demonstrations were superb as were the various talks at night on the island by Israel and the other guides.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


birding, healing and regaining my confidence

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Snorkeling around the island. The staff at the island were incredibly knowledgable and just fantastic as was the staff at Crooked Tree.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Snorkeling, and I even began to look for birds!

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Island Expeditions staff, flexible activity choices

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


The trip was excellent. Highlight was probably the snorkeling activity. But what I have already expressed to my friends is how wonderful all the women were on the trip. Extraordinary! Very special group who seemed to “bond” easily.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


The trip greatly Exceeded my expectations

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Negative: very limited kayaking opportunities on Half Moon Caye and there was no kayak sailing offered. Partially this was due to lack of interest by others and fairly high winds, and I mistakenly expected there would be some destination kayaking possibilities, which there were not. Positive: had guided birding on the Half Moon Caye and Long Caye, that was not expected, and made up for lack of kayaking activities. Suggestion: It would be great if an excursion to the Belize Zoo could be on the itinerary before leaving Belize City.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Interactions with guides was very pleasant and knowledgeable, I learned so much.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/24/2019-3/4/2019


Amazing experience from start to finish...the guides and drivers took such good care of us, "Roughing it" on Half Moon Caye was awesome.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Loved the fact that we had so many options on the island. Everything turned out to be a "highlight", including the trip guide, Lisa.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Snorkeling, snorkeling, snorkeling! So beautiful at Half Moon Caye. Night snorkeling was a surprising bonus.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Enjoyed t he beautiful beaches; the history and Maya cultural information; the locals all; the bountiful birding and wildlife. I found the trip size, at 20 was a challenge for me.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


I particularly enjoyed the snorkeling and fishing.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Staying on Half Moon Cay with the variety of activities and isolation from the rest of the world.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


I had opportunity to enjoy and be close to nature . The birds. lagoons, rivers, baboons, of Crooked Tree Village. Also, I enjoyed to learn the history of the people of Belize and Myan ruins at Lamanai. The second half at the base camp on the caye, I enjoyed sleeping in the cabana so close to the Caribbean with the breeze of the wind, sounds of the water. The full moon rising and the moon light was amazing. . Also, I eventually did enjoy the snorkeling and seeing the under sea world of the corals and fish. I liked waking up with the day light, enjoying good coffee, then YOGA to begin the day.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


People traveling together didn’t always intermingle with those of us who were single. I sometimes felt like I was the odd man out.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


I enjoyed the snorkeling and the trip to the mayan ruins especially. There was an awful lot of instructions for water activities. Maybe two groups, one for beginners and one for intermediate or something like that.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Snorkeling was the highlight. If I do it again I don’t want to go to the baboon sanctuary again.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Overall I felt that for me 22 people was just too much. I was expecting to go over safety tips and a little instruction and then I was hoping to have a lot more freedom. I live near the gulf and I can go anywhere and rent a kayak or paddle board and throw it on the roof of my car and do what I like. I understand the need for safety and liability but I was really frustrated not to have any time to do water sports at my own pace. I would have loved to be able to smell the roses and not have so much instruction.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


I was actually very disheartened by the trip to the Baboon Sanctuary. It is a very positive thing that the women are working so hard to keep it going. What I didn't like is the fact that they paraded a large group of people out into the monkey's natural habitat in the middle of the day, told us about the monkey's natural habits (which is normally in the early morning or late at night) and then proceeded to engage the monkeys, goad them into howling and causing them to move from their resting place, all for our entertainment. I felt kind of guilty for being there.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Loved everything bat lighthouse cat.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


The wonderful guides who taught me how to snorkel. The staff was so friendly and the food outstanding.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


The places we stayed were fantastic. It is very hard to find a place like Half Moon Caye ... so well organized and inviting. The daily adventures were also a highlight. These are set up so people at every level can participate and enjoy

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


It was great seeing the wildlife and to snorkel and the island in particular was beautiful. The trip felt too structured with not enough exercise. It would have been really nice to be able to snorkel or kayak without having a big group. On the island I often felt rushed with the activities as well as lunch. It would have been nice to be able to take the paddle boards out/other water activities and take my time and not feel like I had to keep up with the group. They whisked away the food before you could even really sit down to eat. I thought the time at the birds eye lodge was too long, there wasn't much to do out there.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


The time on the island was wonderful- all of it

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/25/2018-3/5/2018


Staying on the Caye and snorkeling. Also meeting all the wonderful women! I also enjoyed the bird watching which was a completely new experience for me.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


All highlights!

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


Sail Kayaking!

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


The location, the group, the activities!!! AGC continues to exceed my vacation expectations!

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


It is hard to choose one. I enjoyed each adventure.Birds Eye Lodge was a great place to start - Verna, Leonard and Kim made me feel welcome and were so incredibly friendly. Our guides throughout the whole trip were exceptional - all so proud of their heritage and willing to share. Our guide Ann Marie at Alton Ha was delightful - she was so knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. Lamina i (sp) was awesome with the howler monkeys.Half Moon Caye was beyond expectations and the guides there were so good. Always around to help if we needed it. Having a biologist on the island was great. We were able to ask questions and get answers... I love that.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


The excellent guides that provided answers to every question and lots of assistance so that I could concentrate on the experience.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


Variety of activities, Expertise of Belize guides, mini lectures and pot unifies to learn, quality of accomodations.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


Half Moon Caye -- absolutely breathtaking views while living on the beach!

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


The fantastic birding at Crooked Tree. The beauty of Half Moon Caye. Morning yoga. The wonderful snorkeling, variety of fish, coral and sponges. The total relaxation that I had while snorkeling.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


Everything about this trip exceeded my expectations! Mayan ruins, exotic birds, the Caribbean Sea, the snorkeling and the deep blue sea. I also enjoyed being with other women who enjoyed doing activities. As I told my relatives and friends, it was spectacular.

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


Loved bird sanctuary and Leonard The snorkeling was awesome

Belize: Beaches, Jungles, and Ruins 2/22/2017-3/2/2017


  1. Where do we eat?

    Your meals will be at the Bird's Eye Lodge at the beginning of the trip and prepared by camp staff on Half Moon Caye.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. Are we camping on Half Moon Caye?

    We consider this "glamping" at its finest. The cabanas are tents with wooden floors, pitched directly on the beach. They are 8' by 12', and 6' high where the roof meets the walls. Each tent has 2 single beds or one double bed with a 6 inch firm foam mattress on a cot. Additionally, inside each tent there is a night stand, oil lamp, a place for your bags and some hanging shelves for your clothes. Outside there is a small deck with 2 chairs and hammocks beckon from nearby trees. Compost toilets and cool water showers are 30 to 60 yards away. Is this "camping"? Not like you've ever tried it before.
  4. I have never kayaked before is this the right trip for me?

    This is the perfect trip for new and more experienced kayakers. The first day there will be instruction on safety and basic kayaking strokes. The guides are experienced kayak instructors and will teach you everything you need to know.
  5. Can I swim right off the beach?

    Yes! There are a couple of places with good access so if you want to start your day with a swim, or take a midday dip, you can.
  6. Are there bothersome insects?

    Some women have noticed sand flies in the evening at dinnertime, especially when the typical breeze isn't blowing, but they haven't been at a level that impacts anyone's trip.
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