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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. A highlight is a visit the Mayan ruin of Lamanai. 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 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 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


  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.
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