This Ancient Mayans & Barrier Reef holiday combines two true wonders of Latin America, if not the world! Head into the pristine jungle as you are taken back in time to the ancient Mayans. Surrounded by forests filled with wildlife, you'll find historic caves and soaring temples waiting to tell you stories of the ancestors that lived here when the Mayan Kingdom was the centre of civilization. Then come back to the present day as you explore the world's second largest barrier reef in Belize. This is a place where an underwater world full of colourful coral, friendly sharks and inquisitive turtles meets white sandy beaches and the ridiculously laidback Kriol culture.
Day 1: Welcome to Belize and there is no hanging about as you head straight into the rainforest for your first night.
Day 2: Actun Tunichil Muknal, The 'Cave of the Stone Sepulchre' is one of the most impressive caves in the Maya Lowland. Located in the heart of the Belizean rainforest, this cave was a sacred place to the prehistoric Maya. You will explore the cave system by way of a series of chambers, ending in a 300 by 50 metre cathedral where sacrificial ceremonies once took place. Here you will be able to travel into the Mayan past and witness a living museum where the human sacrifices and artifacts can be viewed in their original context. (B/L)
Day 3: Head to Hanna Stables, a family-owned horseback riding establishment where you you choose your horse and ride to the Xunantunich Mayan site. Cross crystal-clear rivers and ride along hidden forest trails until you reach Xunantunich, where you have the chance to explore to your heart's content. (B/L)
Day 4: Today is your introduction to the amazing ancient Mayan sites that cover this area. Head off to Yaxha National Park, where you will walk along ancient Maya causeways (Sac be, in Maya Language) under a dense rainforest canopy that is home to fantastic flora and fauna including lots of monkeys. You will have the chance to climb temples that offer wonderful views of the surrounding jungle, ending the day at the top of temple 216, the highest structure in Yaxha, where you will enjoy a truly unforgettable sunset. (B)
Day 5: Experience the wonders of Tikal, a magical archaeological site inside the Mayan biosphere which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Destination in 1979. Here you will find a place where nature and archaeology live side by side, with abundant wildlife and forest surrounding every corner of Tikal and its temples, silent witnesses of the birth, splendor and collapse of one of the most important civilisations on the planet. (B)
Day 6: From the dense green jungle to the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. It is time to head out of the Ancient Mayan world and on to a new adventure as you cross Belize by land and then over the blue water to the laid-back, tiny island of Caye Caulker. (B)
Days 7-9: These days are free for you to relax and enjoy this slice of paradise, where the only problem you are going to face is the decision what to do! Choose to simply relax, head off for more snorkeling and diving or visit nearby islands to get a better feel of life on the barrier reef. (B)
Day 10: An unforgetable underwater day awaits as you visit 2 great snorkelling sites: Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Mayan for 'little channel', is a stunning groove through the beautiful coral reef. It is protected as a marine sanctuary and plays host to a dazzling array of tropical fish. Shark Ray Alley is an area where fishermen used to empty their nets into the sea, attracting large families of nurse sharks. Once fishing stopped in the area, tourism came to the rescue and now you can swim up close and personal with friendly nurse sharks and stingrays. (B/L)
Day 11: It's time to say goodbye to paradise as you make your way back to Belize City in time for your return flight home. (B)
Prices from: £1200 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses.
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!