Explore Belize

002506 - W17

Belize is a tiny Caribbean nation packed full of wonders, from the world’s oldest known Maya sites to the second largest reef system on the planet. Gain insight into the living traditions of this ancient civilization as you learn to make authentic tortillas alongside local women. Immerse yourself in the mysterious jungle ruins and visit a wildlife sanctuary where the local community is working to conserve wildlife. The grand finale is the idyllic island of Caye Caulker, perched on the pristine Belize Barrier Reef.

Not Included
Tour Notes
  • Explore the jungle-set Maya ruins of Lamanai
  • Enjoy a traditional Cayo lunch at a women's cooperative in San Antonio
  • Try your hand at making tortillas and some pottery
  • Ride a bike and help support local guides
  • Chill out and enjoy the tropical island vibe on Caye Caulker

Tour Code:
002506 - W17

Open All
Day 1: Belize City - Burrelll Boom

You are free to arrive at any time to the Belize City airport where you will be met and transferred to our hotel near Burrell Boom village, which is about 30 minutes from the airport. The balance of the day is free to rest and explore a bit on your own. Join your group this evening for a welcome meeting at the hotel, where you will meet your tour leader and other people in your group.

The heat and humidity of Belize may affect you upon arrival. You may have a general sense of lethargy and/or loss of appetite. This is no cause for alarm; it is simply your body’s reaction to the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water (cold bottled water is available everywhere) and do not attempt too much in any given day.

Hotels vary greatly throughout Central America and even within Belize depending on the location. We do our best to pick comfortable accommodations, but in remote places, options can be limited. It also is important to remember that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Belize (even in upgraded hotels). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control and are just part of the local experience!

This expedition tour is part of the Jane Goodall Collection, a selection of wildlife-focused tours endorsed by world renowned primatologist and ethologist, Dr. Jane Goodall. Your purchase of a Jane Goodall Collection tour helps to support the Jane Goodall Institute’s mission to protect wildlife and empower local communities. This collection upholds the Institute’s Animal Welfare Policy, meaning you get to step deeper into the animal kingdom while respecting all of its subjects.

Day 2: Burrell Boom

Enjoy a full day excursion to the Lamanai ruins, a renowned Mayan ceremonial site consisting of over 800 structures surrounded by lush jungle. Lamanai is located on the shore of the New River Lagoon and is one of the largest Mayan ceremonial site within the region. Lamanai translates as “submerged crocodile” in ancient Mayan, and the site was occupied as early as 1500 BC. The onsite museum has interesting artifacts on display. Return to our lodge to relax at the patio bar and pool, visit the spa, or walk the grounds to spot local wildlife. Meals: (B, L)

Day 3: Burrell Boom - San Ignacio

Visit the Community Baboon Sanctuary, co-founded by five-time National Geographic grantee Dr Robert Horwich. Learn about the black howler monkey before going on a rainforest walk to observe monkeys in the wild. After, visit a Cayo women’s cooperative to learn about the centuries-old tradition of throwing pots and tortilla making. Enjoy a local lunch before continuing on to San Ignacio.

The town of San Ignacio is situated on the banks of the Macal River. It is a perfect location to visit the surrounding countryside. All activities here are optional, so the choice is yours: explore the Mayan cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal, containing relics dating back 1400 years, visit the butterfly gardens, or go tubing or canoeing through the natural limestone caves of the region. Meals: (B, L)

Day 4: San Ignacio

Enjoy an excursion to explore the stunning Mayan ruins of Xunantunich. Hike to the top of this impressive 9th-century Maya centre, set high on a natural limestone ridge, and admire the view of the Mopan River, Cayo District and neighbouring Guatemalan countryside. The tallest temple, El Castillo, is partially excavated and explored and there’s a unique stucco frieze on the east side of the structure. Discover why Xunantunich is Belize’s most visited site with intricately carved stellae, 25 temples, and well-preserved palaces. Relax this afternoon or opt to visit the butterfly gardens, or go tubing or canoeing through the natural limestone caves of the region. Meals: (B)

Optional touring add-ons:
Tunichil Muknal Cave Visit (6-8 hours)
Butterfly Gardens
Cave Tubing (7-8 hrs)
Barton Creek Cave Canoeing (6-8 hours)

Day 5: San Ignacio

Enjoy a free day to visit the sites of the surrounding countryside. There’s plenty to see and do in San Ignacio. There are several activity options including an exploration of the Mayan cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal, visiting the butterfly gardens, and tubing or canoeing through the natural limestone caves of the region. See optional touring add-ons listed on Day 4. Meals: (B)

Day 6: San Ignacio - Caye Caulker

Today we’ll drive back to the coast and catch the ferry to Caye Caulker, a true tropical paradise.

Caye Caulker is a long thin limestone caye off the coast of Belize. Fewer than 2,000 people live here full-time – an eclectic mix of Mestizo, Maya, Garifuna, Creole, and Mennonites, along with a few hippies and retirees. The main street is a sandy pathway and people get around on foot, by bike or golf cart. Apart from eating some sensational seafood (lobster is a local specialty), the main activity is snorkelling and boating along the nearby Belize Barrier Reef. Meals: (B)

Caye Caulker is very small and has a limited number of accommodations available. For this reason, we often use different hotels, depending on the departure and time of year. Accommodations are a bit rustic, and rooms will have ensuite, electricity and hot water, but due to the remote location, there may be occasional interruptions to these services. The stunning location and natural beauty of this off-the-beaten-track island more than make up for a few minor inconveniences.

Day 7: Caye Caulker

Explore the Island with a local on a leisurely bike tour with a guide from the for Good-supported Bike with Purpose project. See the island through the eyes of a local on this two-hour tour, and live the island’s motto of ‘Go Slow’. Feel the island breeze in you hair while knowing you’re supporting a program that helps youth from Caye Caulker build skills for tourism jobs upon graduation from high school. This afternoon, opt to snorkel, go sea kayaking, sailing or just indulge in some serious R&R. Meals: (B)

The barrier reef off Caye Caulker is a true wonder of nature. Optional snorkel trips get you up close and personal with nurse sharks and rays, to name a few of the wondrous resident creatures.

Optional touring add-ons:
Hol Chan Snorkel Tour (5-6 hours)
Sunset Sailing Tour

Day 8: Caye Caulker

Enjoy the day and opt to join a full-day sailing and snorkelling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Belize Barrier Reef, or just kick back and relax by the water. In the evening, take part in a fun farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant. Meals: (B, D)

The barrier reef off Caye Caulker is a true wonder of nature. Optional snorkel trips get you up close and personal with nurse sharks and rays, to name a few of the wondrous resident creatures.

Optional touring add-ons:
Hol Chan Snorkel Tour (5-6 hours)
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Visit (6-6 1/2 hours)

Day 9: Caye Caulker

This trip finishes after breakfast today on Caye Caulker, which is located one hour by water taxi from Belize City (an additional 30 minutes by taxi to the airport). There are frequent ferry departures between 7:30am and 5:00pm. You can purchase your return ferry ticket easily once you get to Caye Caulker. We would recommend you not book a departing flight any earlier than 11:30am-noon. Should you wish to have additional nights in Caye Caulker or Belize City, please ask us to quote you on an extension. Meals: (B)

  • Airport transfer day of arrival to Belize City
  • Transportation by private vehicle, water taxi and walking
  • 8 nights of moderate accommodation
  • Meals: 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner (farewell dinner at a local Caye Caulker restaurant)
  • Tour escort throughout program and local guides
  • Lamanai ruins guided tour
  • Xunantunich ruins
  • Baboon/howler monkey experience
  • Tortilla-making class and local lunch
  • Pottery class
  • Belize Bike with Purpose Tour, Caye Caulker
  • 100% of the local expenses on this tour stay in the communities you visit and support local employment
Not Included
  • International flights to/from Belize
  • Meals not indicated (allow approx. US$285-370)
  • Gratuities to local guides, at your discretion
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve snorkelling trip, from US$119
  • Optional tours added on
  • Airport transfers on day of departure
  • Single supplement for single-use accommodation
  • Visa and passport fees, vaccinations as required
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
Tour Notes

This program is part of the Jane Goodall Collection and is a designated National Geographic Journey.

  • The Jane Goodall Collection is a selection of wildlife-focused tours endorsed by the world renowned primatologist, Dr. Jane Goodall,. Your participation on this tour will help to support the Jane Goodall Institute’s mission to protect wildlife and empower local communities.
  • National Geographic Journeys are geared towards greater exploration, insider access, along with the freedom to roam – all without sacrificing comfort.

Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.