Unforgettable Belize: Mayan Mountains And Caribbean Caye
Visit Mayan ruins swathed in jungle, go abseiling, river or cave tubing, hiking, horse riding or biking along woodland trails; or just relax in your jungle lodge watching birds and curious mammals.
Continue by light aircraft to Ambergris Caye, a stunning coral island of chalk white, palm-shaded sands in the Caribbean. Life here is totally laid back, but you can be as active as you like with fantastic snorkelling at the Blue Hole and other water-sports available from your beach-side resort.
Day 1 Arrive Belize City and transfer to San Ignacio
Arrive in Belize City, transfer to your forest lodge, Windy Hills 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.
Day 2 Day at leisure in the Cayo district
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Day 9 Fly back to Belize airport and connect with your international flight.