Spend nine days exploring some of the best of Belize. Upon arrival, head to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary to do some birding and view the native wildlife, along with exploring two, different Mayan ruins. Next, take a water taxi to the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, and spend the next few days snorkeling, paddling, and relaxing beachside. Then, enjoy a final night on the town in Belize City.

Highlights

  • Discover the wildlife and native birds of Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Lamanai and Altun Ha
  • Paddle your way through the Lighthouse Reef Atoll
  • Go snorkeling in The Aquarium and the legendary Blue Hole

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Belize Crooked Tree Village
Day 2 Lamanai Mayan Ruins & New River Nature Tour Crooked Tree Village
Day 3 Crooked Tree Lagoons Tour & Altun Ha Mayan Ruins Visit Crooked Tree Village
Day 4 Water Taxi to Lighthouse Reef Atoll Half Moon Caye
Days 5-7 Explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll Half Moon Caye
Day 8 Morning in Lighthouse Reef & Water Taxi Back to Belize City Belize City
Day 9 Departure From Belize  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Belize

A view of the lodge in Crooked Tree
A view of the lodge in Crooked Tree

Welcome to Belize! When you touch down at Belize International Airport, a travel representative will meet you and welcome you to the country. A driver will transport you to your lodge located within the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

After checking into your accommodations, meet your fellow travelers, enjoy a hearty welcome dinner, and if time permits, explore Crooked Tree Village, one of Belize’s oldest Creole settlements.

Day 2: Lamanai Mayan ruins and New River nature tour

Discover native wildlife on a boat along New River
Discover native wildlife on a boat along New River

After breakfast, head out on a full day of exploration, as you travel by land and sea to the Mayan ruins of Lamanai. With the very best guides by your side, explore the many temples, plazas, palaces, and museums within the park’s boundaries.

In the afternoon, have lunch and depart Lamanai by riverboat and your guides will lead you on a birding and wildlife tour along New River. Iguanas, parrots, toucans, aracari, and Morelet’s crocodiles are frequently seen while traveling down New River.

After the active day, return to your lodge along the banks of the Crooked Tree Lagoons, and enjoy dinner onsite.

Day 3: Crooked Tree Lagoons tour and Altun Ha Mayan ruins visit

Tour the Altun Ha Mayan ruins
Tour the Altun Ha Mayan ruins

Coffee is served at sunrise. With your binoculars in-hand, enjoy the sounds and sights of the awakening wilderness. View hundreds of birds feeding along the shores of the Crooked Tree Lagoons. This protected area was created in 1984 primarily to preserve resident and migratory birds. It consists of a network of inland lagoons, wetlands, and waterways, which shelter one of the world's largest flying birds, the Jabiru stork. Tour the protected lagoons by boat during the first part of the day. 

Have lunch, and then head out to tour the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. Considered one of the major Mayan ceremonial centers of Belize, Altun Ha functioned as an important trading center between the people of the interior and the coast during the Classic Period (250-900 CE). Within the site, there are more than 275 structures and 250-300 unexcavated mounds.

Following the day's events, return to the lodge for dinner.

Day 4: Water taxi to Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Half Moon Caye
Half Moon Caye

Following breakfast, travel to Belize City, and board a chartered water taxi to Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Your route takes you along numerous white-sand—partially submerged—mangrove cayes, until you cross the Belize Barrier Reef. From there, enter the narrow passages within the Turneffe Islands before crossing the blue waters toward Lighthouse Reef Atoll.

Upon reaching your Half Moon Caye basecamp, your guide team will get you acquainted with your new setting and accommodations. Learn about the fundamentals of sea kayaking, snorkeling, and safety on the Caribbean Sea. In the afternoon, weather permitting, you can sea kayak and snorkel within the marine reserve, followed by dinner at your accommodations.

Days 5-7: Explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll over the next three days
Explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll over the next three days

Over the next three days, explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll as you wish. If you are an early riser, go for a morning swim, do some yoga, or simply grab a cup of coffee and watch the tropical sunrise.

After a healthy Belizean breakfast each day, take some time to plan your activities. The waters of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are exceptionally clear with a fabulously rich reef system, which offers some of the best kayaking, paddling, snorkeling, and diving in the Caribbean. Throughout your stay, try a variety of activities, as you explore this remote and magical part of Belize.

Snorkeling at The Aquarium is a favorite guest activity. The Aquarium has an abundance of tropical fish and towering coral formations and is an unforgettable underwater experience. You can also take advantage of 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.

Lunch is included each day, so make sure to take a midday break to fuel back up. 

Additionally, in both the mornings and evenings, a favorite guest activity is to walk to the red-footed booby colony to watch the boobies come in from the sea to tend to their nests and feed their chicks. 

After the active days, return to Half Moon Caye for dinner, and enjoy the rest of the evenings on your own.

Day 8: Morning in Lighthouse Reef and water taxi back to Belize City

Tour more of the beaches and head back to Belize City
Tour more of the beaches and head back to Belize City

Relish your final hours on Lighthouse Reef after breakfast. Head out to do some more snorkeling or paddling around the caye and walk the trails or the island beaches, followed by a hearty lunch. 

Your water taxi will take you back to the mainland in the later afternoon. Upon arrival in Belize City, check into your hotel. Spend some time enjoying the town, and have a nice farewell dinner on your own.

Day 9: Departure from Belize

Relax by the pool on your final day
Relax by the pool on your final day

This last day is yours to enjoy at your leisure before you fly home or continue on your travels. Relax by the pool or take advantage of the optional tours offered at your hotel. 

Map

Map of Belize Wildlife, Mayan Ruins, & Reef Tour - 9 Days
Map of Belize Wildlife, Mayan Ruins, & Reef Tour - 9 Days