Private Journeys

Value Belize: Mayan mountains and Caribbean caye

9 days from £1,490pp

Belize

Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive Belize City and transfer to San Ignacio

Arrive in Belize City, transfer to your forest lodge, Cassia Hill Resort, at San Ignacio, a journey of about 2.5hrs. The property is nestled in a low lying area close to the Mayan mountains of the Cayo District, a region of profuse biodiversity with a multitude of birds, mammals and species of tropical trees, shrubs and flowers.

The Mayan peoples have had a presence in Mexico and Central America since well before the birth of Christ. Their civilisation, which was at its height in the 1st-9th centuries AD  has left a legacy of remarkable buildings, sculptures and artefacts featuring their hieroglyphics and reflecting their artistic creativity and knowledge of astronomy and mathematics.

Belize Tourist Board ©

Day 2

Day at leisure in the Cayo district: outdoor activities and ruins

You are free to plan your day according to your interests and enthusiasms. There are plenty of outdoor activities available for you to book at the resort, including horse-riding, caving, tubing or canoeing down the nearby river.

If you prefer you can relax and observe the prolific birdlife in the luxuriant grounds.

We recommend a visit to the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves (often referred to as ATM caves though you can’t withdraw any cash there!).  There you hike into the caves, cross over underground rivers and enter a giant chamber which was long ago the setting for Mayan religious ceremonies and is stuffed with relics including ceramics and, rather gruesomely, skeletons. 

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Day 3

Day at leisure to visit ruins or active adventures

You wake up to another day at leisure. If you are happy to explore further afield it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to visit Tikal in neighbouring Guatemala, probably the Mayans most impressive and complex site, its pyramids and temples shrouded by monkey-filled jungle.

Closer to the lodge are the less visited Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, a slightly less ambitious option but rewarding nonetheless.

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Day 4

Visit the Mayan ruins at Caracol

Deep within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, 2hrs' drive from San Ignacio, Caracol is the largest Mayan site in Belize. It was an urban centre which, at the height of its prosperity, had a population of around 180,000.

The temple rises 42m above plaza level and is the largest man-made structure in Belize. Over 70 tombs have been excavated and many hieroglyphic texts have been found on altars and wall façades. Many wildlife species can be encountered in this area which is also known as an excellent place to observe birds.

Having visited Caracol continue to Gaia Riverlodge in hilly Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, which protects the natural pine forests, which blanket an area of granite and limestone cut through by waterfalls and peppered with sinkholes. 

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Day 5

Outdoor adventures in Mountain Pine Ridge

You have another choice of optional (book locally) outdoor activities at your lodge, which sits in the Reserve surrounded by luxuriant vegetation. A lovely waterfall is in the landscaped grounds. Explore the trails by mountain bike or on horse-back, or just stroll along them at your own pace. 

Not enough excitement? Try zip-lining, rapelling, or canoeing down the Macal river.

 At the falls there is a display of over 450 species of orchids and bromeliads, visited by clouds of butterflies.

Belize Tourist Board ©

Day 6

Fly to Caribbean island Ambergris Caye.

Drive to Belize City and fly to Ambergris Caye, a large coral island where twisted mangroves are framed by pure, chalk-white sandy beaches. The Caribbean waters there are as turquoise as the gemstone and mirror-clear. 

There’s only one, laidback town on the island, San Pedro, and it is there that you will find your hotel SunBreeze Suites.  

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Day 7

At leisure on the beach, optional watersports

It’s great just to kick back by the pool and enjoy the sea views, but you may be tempted again by a menu of activities. Among these are snorkelling, diving and fishing excursions.

The undersea life here is a kaleidoscope of colour, with thousands of exotic, tropical fish and other marine creatures on display.  You can visit Blue Hole, a premier snorkelling and dive site. Resort dive classes are available from the resort.  

Belize Tourist Board ©

Day 8

Explore Ambergris Caye.

The island is not big enough to warrant much vehicular transport so the main way of getting around this lovely, lazy place is by golf cart.  If you like, hire one to explore the town, visit the museum and discover the new 16km north road.

 

Belize Tourist Board ©

Day 9

Fly back to Belize airport and connect with your international flight. UK clients arrive home the following day.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

Meet the team