Unknown to most people visiting Belize's crystal waters and barrier reef, is that this tiny country has probably the most concentrated mix of cultures of any country in the Americas. Kriols (Belize Creoles), Mayan, Indian and Garifuna are just a few of these rich cultures that live right alongside each other. All strongly individual, all proudly Belizean. They have remained very distinct and proud of their traditions giving you the chance to experience them all in one short trip. We should warn you that Belize's people express their identity through their food, so you may need to bring a looser fitting pair of trousers!
Day 1: A short visit means getting stuck in to the Belizean experience right away, as you are met at the airport and whisked off to the sleepy, Caribbean coastal town of Hopkins. We recommend siting down with a rum in your hand and taking a long deep breath before the adventure really gets going! (B)
Day 2: After the morning by the pool or on the beach you will take a short drive to the local Garifuna community at Palmento Cove where you will be immersed in all aspects of the Garifuna culture. Climb and pick your own coconuts to husk by hand, then grate and cook them whilst you prepare your delicious traditional fish dinner of Hudut... After you have filled your belly with the tastiest of food and listened to stories explaining the history of the Garifuna it will be time to finish off with an epic drumming session. Taught by a local musician of over 30 years, you will learn three Garifuna rhythms. After all of this, head back to the hotel for a well deserved sleep. (B/D)
Day 3: Heading further south, you will enter the peace and tranquillity of The Lodge at Big Falls. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing in the pool and staring up at the giant iguanas sunbathing on the branches above, explore the forest trails surrounding the lodge or jump in a tube and float down the incredibly beautiful river on the property. (B)
Day 4: Birding! Spend a day with the local birding expert Steven Choco, a vastly experienced, knowledgeable and skilled birding guide. There are varied habitats to explore from high forest and swamp lands to savannah grasslands and coastal forest and mangroves.
Day 5: Welcome to Ixcacao, home to the best slogan on earth 'chocolate will save the rainforest'! Here you will learn all about the Maya chocolate-making process at Juan and Abelina's beautiful cacao farm and chocolate factory. Juan will walk you through the traditional process – from harvest and fermentation to drying and roasting, deshelling and grinding and of course tasting as you go. This is all before you sit down for one of the most delicious meals you'll have in Belize as Abelina cooks you a mouth watering 3 course meal, with chocolate running through every course. We highly recommend the chocolate chicken! (B/L/D)
The Living Maya Experience is an interactive cultural home visit that offers a fascinating glimpse into a fast disappearing world, in which the local Kek’chi Maya depended upon the forest to satisfy their needs from food to furniture to medicine. The Cal family showcase a Mayan home as it would have been fifty years ago and guests help prepare some vegetarian snacks with the family. (B/L/D)
Day 9: Explore the underwater world of the Belize Barrier Reef on this 6-hour boat tour to the turquoise waters of the tiny islands of the Silk Cayes. Snorkel among the fish, harmless rays and nurse sharks before enjoying a traditional Belizean lunch on the beach. Then head to Turtle Alley, a popular gathering place for sea turtles where you can watch rays and nurse sharks feeding on scraps left by fisherman cleaning their daily catch. (B/L)
Day 10: Sadly today it's time to say goodbye to Belize as you take an internal flight to Belize City to catch 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!