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, 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.
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Begin your Belizean adventure in beautiful San Ignacio.
Arrive at the Belize International Airport to meet your trip mates. Ride to San Ignacio where you'll stay overnight at a traditional Belizean jungle lodge. San Ignacio is a beautiful town with shopping and friendly people. Relax in the evening with a meal at the jungle lodge near the river--complete with an "honor bar."
Day 2: Enjoy spectacular birding in the morning, paddle through ancient limestone caves in the afternoon.
Wake up early to the sights and sounds of tropical birds with the Tut family. The Tut's are renowned birders and they love to share their knowledge. 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. Return to a great dinner near the river, and enjoy the "honor bar."
Day 3: Travel to Guatemala, settle into a lakeside lodge, and enjoy dinner in the island village of Flores.
Enjoy breakfast, 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 in Flores, a beautiful Guatemalan town located on an island on Lake Peten Itza. Be sure to try a Pupusas!
Day 4: Experience one of the wonders of the world--historic Tikal National Park.
Rise early and make the dawn trek to Tikal--you will be amazed at the pristine jungle along the way. The scope and scale of Tikal is impressive. It has over 17,000 stone buildings, most of them un-excavated. Our guide Francisco 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 5: Head back to Belize and the beaches of Hopkins, settle into your accommodations.
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 into accomodations near the Caribbean shoreline and prepare for the next few days of Garifuna culture—drumming, beaches, great seafood, and very friendly people.
Day 6: Enjoy a jungle hike at the famed Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve.
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: Snorkel and swim in turquoise waters brimming with schools of colorful fish.
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: Transfer to Belize City and say farewell to your trip mates.
Enjoy one last tropical breakfast and then drive to Belize City for your flight home. Say good-bye to the friendly and beautiful country of Belize!
Dates & Fees
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.
COVID POLICY: We continue to monitor and update our COVID-19 policies. Wilderness Inquiry strongly encourages everyone to be fully up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination and take other necessary steps for the health and wellness of all. We ask you to self-screen for any signs of illness prior to your trip’s departure. Please contact Wilderness Inquiry if you are exhibiting signs of illness. We will also continue to follow all guidance and requirements of locations that we travel, keeping in mind some international destinations do require vaccinations and/or negative covid tests. We will update this policy as new information and guidance becomes available.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: Though not required, some individuals may choose to wear a mask, and we expect all participants to respect this choice. Please ensure proper hygiene including, but not limited to, hand-washing and/or sanitizing before eating and after using the restroom. Individuals who become ill or test positive for COVID-19 during a Wilderness Inquiry experience will be isolated to the best of the group’s ability and are responsible for their own transportation and expenses to depart the trip.Read more »
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do we meet?
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.
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.
Is Belize and Tikal accessible for people who use wheelchairs?
Yes, depending on what wheelchair you use. People who use manual chairs have successfully participated, but this trip is not appropriate for people who use power chairs. The accommodations vary in level of accessibility, and there are steps and other bumps along the way. We will typically have you bring a "Trip Assistant" to assist where needed, and we also have certain devices, like our Rick-Shaw, that really help make jungle trails accessible. There also may be times when you might not be able to participate in a specific activity, such as a steep jungle hike.
Do you have a single supplement for Belize and Tikal?
You can elect to guarantee a single room for the duration of the trip for $350 during the registration process.
About the AreaVisitors to the Central American nation of Belize will encounter a beautiful paradise of lush tropical rainforests, an incredible variety of wildlife, wonderful beaches, and ancient Mayan ruins.
The landscape encompasses coastal mangrove forests, lush tropical rainforests, offshore “cayes” (pronounced “keys,” meaning islets and islands), and the MesoAmerican Reef—the second largest coral reef system in the world. The unspoiled rainforests and savannas of Belize are well-known homes to jaguars and other large cats, spider and howler monkeys, tapirs, peccaries and nearly 350 species of birds, many of which migrate between Belize and the United States. To complement the botanically rich world of these rainforests, Belize’s bountiful coastal waters stretch along the coast for over 240 miles, harboring manatee, dolphin, whale sharks, hawksbill turtles, crocodiles, iguanas, shorebirds, and diverse fish populations.
Belize’s tropical rainforest covers about two-thirds of the country and provides home to more than 4,000 species of native flowering plants, including 250 species of orchids and 700 trees. Some parts of this subtropical climate receive over 190 inches of rainfall per year to sustain its intense levels of biodiversity. Recent studies have shown that Belize’s protected areas have been extremely effective in protecting the country’s forests.
The marine areas offer breeding grounds for declining commercially important fish species, including grouper and snapper, conch and lobster, and sport fish species including permit, bonefish, and tarpon. Commercial and subsistence fisheries and marine ecotourism depend on these waters, and the region remains critical to maintaining the marine productivity of southern Belize and neighboring countries to the north and south.
Formerly called British Honduras, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. It became an independent nation in 1981. Located on the Caribbean side of Central America, Belize adjoins both Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Belize is a fairly small nation, a little smaller than the size of the U.S. state of New Hampshire.
A combination of natural factors—climate, the Belize Barrier Reef, over 1,000 offshore cayes, excellent fishing, safe waters for boating, scuba diving, and snorkeling, numerous rivers for rafting and kayaking, various jungle and wildlife reserves of fauna and flora for hiking, bird watching, and helicopter touring, as well as many Maya ruins—support the thriving tourism and ecotourism industry. Belize also has the largest cave system in Central America. Development costs are high, but the Government of Belize has designated tourism as its second development priority after agriculture.
Belize contains an interesting mix of cultures, predominantly Mayan and Garifuna, but remains the least densely populated nation in Central America. In the 1700s and 1800s, ships carrying slaves from Africa wrecked on the reefs off Belize. The survivors came to shore and met the Carib Indians, and formed what we now call Garifuna culture.Read more »