Belize and Tikal
Experience Jungles, Beaches, and Mayan Ruins
The Caribbean’s best-kept secret, Belize has it all—sun drenched beaches, caves, jungles, mountains, Mayan ruins, and really friendly people. Snorkel in crystal clear waters, enjoy unique Garifuna culture, visit modern-day Mayan villages, and discover some of the most incredible ecosystems remaining in the Americas, including a jaguar preserve and a wild scarlet macaw sanctuary. Travel to Guatemala and experience Tikal. Akin to being their New York City, this was the cultural epicenter of the once-mighty Mayan Empire. Nothing quite compares to a background chorus of howler monkeys while enjoying the view from Temple IV! While in Tikal, you will learn about the Maya from renowned scholar Francisco Florian, our dear friend and local expert. Stay in beautiful lodges and guest houses and enjoy the flavorful local cuisine.
DAY 1: Arrive at the Belize International Airport to meet your trip mates, and ride to San Ignacio where you'll stay overnight at a traditional Belizean jungle lodge. San Ignacio is a beautiful town with great shopping and friendly people. Relax in the evening with a banquet near the river.
DAY 2: Wake up to the sound of tropical birds and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and great coffee. Ride to the Chiquibul cave system where you will canoe into the Mayan underworld known as Xibalba. This very large cave contains sacrificial remains, as well as spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. You will see the footholds carved by the Mayans over 1,500 years ago. Enjoy lunch, then drive across the border into Guatemala and experience an immediate change in culture from English-speaking Belize to Spanish-speaking Guatemala. Stay at a beautiful lodge near Lake Itza in the town of El Remate. Enjoy dinner at this fabulous eco-lodge.
DAY 3: Rise early and make the dawn trek to Tikal. The scope and scale of Tikal is impressive. It has over 17,000 stone buildings, most of them unexcavated. Our guide has a wealth of knowledge about Tikal and the Mayans—he literally helps you hear the roar of the crowd as if a Mayan king were making his entrance at that moment. From the famous scene of Temple V in “Star Wars” to the growl of the Howler Monkeys, Tikal offers an experience like no other. In the evening, we'll enjoy dinner on the shore of Lake Itza.
DAY 4: Leave Guatemala and drive to the lovely village of Hopkins, Belize. On the way we will stop for a picnic and a hike around Guanacaste National Park. If it's hot, we'll take a swim in the Roaring Creek waterfalls before we proceed down the beautiful Hummingbird Highway and through the Mayan Mountains on our way to Hopkins. Settle in at beach accommodations on the shore of the Caribbean and prepare for the next few days of Garifuna culture—drumming, great seafood, and very friendly people.
DAY 5: Rise early and go to the Mayan village of Red Bank to see Scarlet macaws. This is one of the last places these majestic parrots live in the wild. The adventuresome can hike up into the mountains to take in the scenic village of Red Bank, a friendly place where modern day Maya live. Enjoy lunch by the river before heading back to relax on the beach in Hopkins. Travel to Red Bank is subject to road conditions.
DAY 6: Enjoy a morning visit to the famed Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve for a guided tour of the jungle. Run by the Belize Audubon Society, the Cockscomb Basin is one of the last refuges for the Jaguar, as well as many other species of birds and animals. After a jungle hike, enjoy a swim in a crystal clear pool at the base of a waterfall or a float down the jungle river in an inner tube. Enjoy great shopping at a Mayan crafts center and bird watching in the afternoon.
DAY 7: Experience some of the finest snorkeling on the planet in South Water Caye Marine Reserve. The barrier reef of Belize is pristine and huge. Explore the fascinating and colorful world of this reef. Enjoy lunch on a small mangrove island, and more snorkeling in the afternoon. In the evening, we will enjoy our farewell banquet. You will be amazed at how fast a week can go by and how many wonderful memories you will have.
DAY 8: Enjoy one last tropical breakfast and then drive to Belize City for your flight home. Say good-bye to the wonderful country of Belize!
What To Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE: Enjoy exploring the jungles of Belize and the temples in Tikal. We will hike a few miles of uneven trail with elevation change each day. While trails are accessible, it is important to bring sturdy hiking footwear.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: You will travel by foot as you explore the wonders of Belize and the Tikal culture. Transportation to and from accommodations will be provided by van.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: No previous experience is necessary to complete this trip. Enjoy an active adventure as you experience the jungles and temples of Belize first hand. Casual swimming for snorkeling and beach time will also take place.
WEATHER: Temperatures between January and March can range from 60 F at night to 95 F during the day at the coast and from 50 F at night to 85 F during the day in the mountains. Rainfall varies, you should expect some rain throughout your trip.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 8 to 12 participants, 1-2 Wilderness Inquiry staff, and a local guide while in Guatemala. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities, including people with disabilities.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Throughout the trip we will be staying in local hotels, B&Bs, and a guesthouse. The accommodations are simple yet comfortable. Typically there are 2-4 people per room, matched by gender or requests to room together. In most rooms, solo travelers have single beds and couples share beds. We make every effort to ensure privacy and cleanliness.
SINGLE TRAVELERS: If you are traveling alone you will feel at home with a welcoming group. If you would like to have your own room throughout the trip you may purchase a single supplement for an additional fee.
MEALS: All meals are made for you. Enjoy typical Belize fare, including fresh fish, chicken, and lots of fruit. The water in Belize is safe to drink from the tap and bottled water is readily available. On our trip, the only place we recommend bottled water is in Guatemala. We'll enjoy happy hours, but the purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: You will need to provide your personal gear which is outlined in the packing list.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Your 10% deposit is non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!
Can I pay more to have my own room on a lodge-based trip?
Yes, most times a single supplement is available on a lodge-based trip. Exact cost and availability depends on the trip.
Which immunizations do you recommend when traveling to an international destination?
Prior to departure, we recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor is in the best position to recommend specific vaccinations to specific destinations.
Single Room Supplement
You can elect to guarantee a single room for the duration of the trip for $350 during the registration process.
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport at 2:30 PM (local time)
End: Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport at 9:30 AM (local time)
This trip begins at Philip S.W.Goldson International Airport in Belize City (BZE) at 2:30 PM. This trip ends at Philip S.W.Goldson International Airport in Belize City (BZE) at 9:30 AM. Please book flights accordingly to match this schedule. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.