Belize for Nature Lovers - 5 Days
- Explore caves and waterfalls in nature reserves
- Float down river caves in an inner tube
- Fly over the Blue Hole and dine on Ambergris Caye
|Day 1||Arrive in Belize City||Belize City|
|Day 2||Transfer to Cayo District & Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve||Cayo District|
|Day 3||Tubing on Caves Branch River||San Ignacio|
|Day 4||Return to Belize City, Fly Over the Blue Hole, Lunch on Ambergris Caye||Belize City|
|Day 5||Depart Belize City|
Day 1: Arrive in Belize City
Welcome to Belize! This tiny nation is home to around 400,000 people, many of whom are Garifuna—descendants of free Afro-Indigenous peoples who arrived in the 18th century. Unlike other countries in Central America, Belize's official language here isn't Spanish but rather an English-based dialect called Belizean Creole. Besides the rich culture, Belize abounds with history and natural beauty. Nestled in the inland jungles, you'll find national parks and nature reserves, while right off the coast lies the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-largest reef system in the world).
Upon arrival at the airport in Belize City, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel. You'll then have the rest of the day to head out and explore on your own or join an optional guided excursion to the Maya ruins of Altun-Ha Maya or a nearby butterfly farm. When you're feeling hungry, visit one of the city's fine waterfront restaurants to sample traditional Belizean dishes like stewed chicken with rice and beans. At many of these eateries, you'll be treated to live music as well.
Day 2: Transfer to Cayo District & Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve
Meet your driver in the morning for the two-hour drive inland to the rainforests and jungles of western Belize. Your destination is the Cayo District, once the hub of the ancient Maya Kingdom in this country. There are many pre-Columbian archaeological sites here, as well as national parks and ecological reserves. Today, you'll take a guided tour of Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
The reserve covers 500 square miles (1,295 sq km) of protected Belizean pine forests, tumbling streams, fertile river valleys, and romantic waterfalls—and you'll get to explore its highlights. During the tour, you'll visit the park's most impressive waterfall, Hidden Valley Falls, which plunges 1,500 feet (457 m) over mountain cliffs into a lagoon. You can also explore Rio Frio Cave. With its 65-foot (20 m) opening, this is the largest cavern in Belize. Follow this with a dip in the Rio On Pools, where mini waterfalls cascade over granite boulders. At the end of the day, you'll transfer to a hotel in the Cayo District.
Day 3: Tubing on Caves Branch River
After breakfast, you'll hop in the car for the drive on a dirt road to the Caves Branch River site. After a 45-minute hike through the jungle, you'll arrive at the namesake river and the surrounding caverns that were inhabited during Maya times. Here, your group will assemble and embark on a 25-minute hike down a jungle trail. Along the way, your guide will point out various roots and herbs that were used for health and medicinal purposes by the ancient Maya.
Eventually, you'll arrive at the entrance to a river cave. Following a safety briefing, you'll gear up, hop in your inner tube, and let the current carry you into the first of two cave passages. As you float downstream through the caverns, you'll see hanging stalactites, towering stalagmites, and even some ancient Maya artifacts like pottery. During the ride, there will be opportunities to stop for snacks and swim in natural swimming holes. Afterward, you can take an optional zipline ride over the jungle canopy.
Day 4: Return to Belize City, Fly Over the Blue Hole, Lunch on Ambergris Caye
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Belize has one of the most impressive Caribbean coastlines in Central America, and you'll witness it in all its glory on a scenic flight. In the morning, you'll return to Belize City and board a chartered three-seater plane for a flight over the stunning Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. You'll travel to Lighthouse Reef and Belize's most iconic marine landmark: the Great Blue Hole. This world-famous sinkhole is known for its almost perfectly circular shape, as it's a whopping 1,043 feet (318 m) across and 406 feet (124 m) deep. Not surprisingly, this is one of the most famous dive sites in the world.
During the tour, you'll fly over other stunning areas of the reef and its coral islands (called "cayes" in Belize). Highlights include St. George's Caye, Turneffe Atoll, Glover's Reef, and Half Moon Caye. Keep your camera handy, as you'll also pass over bird sanctuaries and shipwrecks. After the flight, you'll sit down for a traditional Afro-Caribbean lunch at a restaurant on Ambergris Caye, one of the most beautiful of Belize's developed islands. Enjoy your meal with the accompaniment of local Garifuna singers, dancers, and musicians. At the end of the day, return to your hotel in Belize City.