Pope&Sons | Worldwide Luxury Travel

A Jungle and Beach Holiday in Belize

Belize-Barrier-Reef-4

A Jungle and Beach Holiday in Belize

Day 1

Private Airport Transfer to Mountain Pine Forest Region
Overnight at Hidden Valley Inn – Estate Room

Mountain Pine Forest Region

Located in the western section of the country and bordering Guatemala’s department of El Petén, the Cayo District is a vast highland stretch of rainforests, ranches, and some of the country’s most remote and rugged terrain. It’s a region you head to not for the beach (there are none), but rather for Maya ruins, extensive cave systems, and the chance to explore the great outdoors on foot, by horse, or in a kayak, raft, or canoe. The country’s capital, Belmopan, is located here, but the real hub of the district is San Ignacio, a small town with colonial-era streets and a funky medley of restaurants and shops. Some of Cayo’s not-to-miss attractions include the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the Barton Creek cave, and the ancient Maya city of Caracol.

Hidden Valley Inn

Mountain Pine Region, Belize
Category – High

Hidden Valley Inn, a luxury hotel with only 12 cottages, is located on a 7200 acre private reserve in the Mountain Pine Ridge area of Belize. This intimate eco resort offers quality accommodation, fine food and attentive service in a natural environment unspoiled by man. The flora, wildlife and birding here are like no place on earth. Hidden Valley Inn is one of the most established and luxurious resorts in the Mountain Pine Ridge.

Guests staying at this small luxury hotel enjoy exclusive access to over 90 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as many secluded pools and waterfalls set in tropical rainforest. For those seeking romance, one of the waterfalls may be reserved exclusively for the day.

Day 2

American Breakfast at Hidden Valley Inn
Caracol & Rio Frio Cave & Pools (Private/FD/Minibus) OR Xunantunich & Botanical Gardens (Private/FD/Minibus)
Overnight at Hidden Valley Inn – Estate Room

Caracol & Rio Frio Cave & Pools (Private/FD/Minibus)

Guests are met at their hotel and transfer into an area sub-tropical rainforest to the Maya village of San Antonio. Here we have an opportunity to see the Mestizo culture which is the mix of Maya and Spanish people. San Antonio contains people from two tribes, the Mopan and Yucatec Maya and is a famous village because it was the home of Dr Elijio Panti, one of the last Shaman in Belize. From here we continue up to the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve which is a 106,000 acre, protected national park. In the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, many Belizeans were employed as timber cutters in this area and on our journey we will see testament to that history. Unfortunately this forest was affected by the Southern Pine Beatles in 1999 and so some areas are rather barren but it is interesting to see and learn about the reforestation programs taking place.

After the Mountain Pine Ridge we start to see that the mountain change from Pine Forest to Tropical Rainforest and we enter the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. About 1 hour drive from the Pine Ridge we arrive at the beautiful Maya site of Caracol (which means the Snail”), named by the archeologists because they found lather of the snails on site. The original name is Oxwitza’ which means the sky place. Caracol is the largest archeological site in Belize, covering 30 square miles of thick, high canopy jungle, and includes five plazas, an astronomic observatory and over 35,000 buildings that have been identified. The loftiest among them, a massive pyramid (Caana) capped by three temples and rises over 140 feet above the jungle floor. Guests enjoy a private guided tour of the site with entrances and picnic lunch included. We then return to the hotel and on the way back guests can choose to stop and explore the Rio-on Pools and Rio Frio Caves if they wish.

  • Activity Includes: Private transfers & guide, picnic lunch, admission fees
  • Not Included: Tips & gratuities

 


———- OR ———-

Xunantunich & Botanical Gardens (Private/Full Day/Minibus)

Guests transfer to the Mopan river where they transfer their vehicle onto a hand cranked ferry to take us across the river as there is no bridge! From here we drive a short distance to arrive at the entrance to Xunantunich Maya archaeology site. Guests will receive an informative guided tour of this small, picturesque & fascinating site and can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding rainforest scenery from atop the main temple. After a tour of the site guests will transfer into the rainforest to enjoy lunch at one of the beautiful lodges before beginning a guided exploration of the Belize Botanical Gardens. The Botanical Gardens is made up of 45 acres of native and exotic plants growing in the Cayo district of western Belize. The garden is in a valley on the banks of the Macal River, surrounded by the Maya Mountain foothills. The mission of Belize Botanic Garden is to protect the floral biodiversity of Belize by existing as an information resource for the community, government, industry and science and to be a place of beauty for all visitors to enjoy. They also aim to cultivate, promote, research and enable the research of tropical flora and its conservation with an emphasis on native species and their habitats. They aim to inspire the local community and visitors to protect our leafy friends and their habitats by learning more about the wonderful world of plants.

  • Activity Includes: Private guide, private transfers, lunch & admission fees
  • Not Included: Tips & gratuities

 

Day 3

American Breakfast at Hidden Valley Inn
Free day in Mountain Pine Forest Region
Overnight at Hidden Valley Inn – Estate Room

Day 4

American Breakfast at Hidden Valley Inn
Actun Tunichil Muknal (Collective/FD/Minibus) OR Barton Creek & Butterfly Farm (Private/Full Day/Minibus
Overnight at Hidden Valley Inn – Estate Room

Actun Tunichil Muknal (Collective/FD/Minibus)

Actun Tunichil Muknal “”Cave of the Stone Sepulcher”” 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 of Belize, who first began to use the entrance during the early classic period (300-600AD). The cave system consists of a series of chambers, ending in a 300 by 50 meter Cathedral where sacrificial ceremonies once took place. Visitors to this cave have the opportunity to travel into the Maya past and witness a living museum where the human sacrifices and artifacts can be viewed in their original context. On the tour guests will drive to the trailhead and trek for 45 minutes through dense Jungle in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, wading across three streams and learning about the plants and animals of the Jungle. At the entrance of the Cave guests are outfitted in the necessary equipment. Some swimming will be required and also climbing and caving activity. Guests will spend 3 hours in the cave after which they may also visit a nearby dry cave to see ancient incriptions and handprints of which the origins are unknown. This is a first class caving and archaeological experience.

  • Activity Includes: Private transfers, private adventure guide, admission fees, flashlights & hard hats, picnic lunch
  • Not Included: Tips & gratuities

 


———- OR ———-

Barton Creek & Butterfly Farm (Private/Full Day/Minibus)

Guests are picked up from their hotel and transferred through the Cayo region to the Butterfly farm and Green Hills. Here we enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful butterfly sanctuary and learn about butterflies of this area. When we are ready we continue on through the Mennonite Community of Upper Barton Creek to the river at Barton Creek. The Barton Creek Cave Tour is a low intensity adventure trip which is great for couples and families offering something for everyone. Equipped with Canoes and high powered lights guests gently paddle along the river into the cave system known as Xibalba (she-bal-ba), Maya for underworld. Stalactites and Stalagmites hang high overhead as you float past impressive calcite crystal formations. Knowledgeable guides discuss the relevance of the cave to the ancient Mayan people and the archaeological significance of this 7.5km limestone Cave system which was used for ceremonial purposes and as a burial site by the ancient Maya people.

  • Activity Includes: Private guide, private transfers, admission fees, equipment & canoes, lunch
  • Not Included: Tips & gratuities

 

Day 5

American Breakfast at Hidden Valley Inn
Visit the Belize Zoo on transfer to Belize Municipal Airport (Private/Half Day/Minibus)
Scheduled Domestic Flight to San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Service(s) from Victoria House: Transfer from San Pedro Airstrip to hotel – may not be private
Overnight at Victoria House – Plantation Room

Visit the Belize Zoo on transfer to Belize Municipal Airport (Private/Half Day/Minibus)

On a transfer to or even from the Belize airport why not stop to visit the famous Belize Zoo which was started in 1983, as a last ditch effort to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films Detailed Itinerary from Viaventure about tropical forests. Today, The Belize Zoo is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 125 animals all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which were either orphaned, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as gifts from other zoological institutions. A visit to the zoo is the best way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize, and to understand why it is important to protect the habitats that sustain them.

  • Activity Includes: Private Transfer & guide, admission fees, lunch
  • Not Included: Tips & gratuities

Note: if you’re looking for something more active, why not swap the visit to the zoo for a cave tubing adventure instead?!

San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)

The largest of Belize’s islands, Ambergris Caye runs parallel to the magnificent Belize Barrier Reef. Once home to the ancient Maya (they created the island by digging a channel between it and Mexico), Ambergris is located 56 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Belize City and is accessible by boat or plane. It’s a popular destination for diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, kayaking, and windsurfing; trips to nearby Caye Caulker and the mainland are easy to plan, too. Formerly a fishing village, San Pedro is the island’s only town; its sandy streets are lined with waterfront restaurants, hotels, tiki bars, and dive shops. Visitors to Ambergris should note that in order to protect the caye’s natural environment, Belizean law prohibits the removal of coastal sea grass. Properties do their best to clean up grass that washes up on shore, but it’s not uncommon to find a bit of sea green next to your cold bottle of Belikin.

Victoria House

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye
Category – High / Deluxe

Victoria House is one of the best beach hotels in Belize and offers guests a variety of room types and villas to choose from. Guests can enjoy the extensive gardens, large beachfront, excellent restaurant, spa and bar. The hotel can also book top quality tours for guests and offers a really top class service in all aspects. The location is just south of San Pedro town so offers guests a more relaxed and scenic setting but still with easy access by road into town.

Facilities: Pool, Restaurant, Bar, Spa, Tour booking service
Location: More relaxed location on the south end of the Beach. 15mins drive into town

Day 6

American Breakfast at Victoria House
Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour (Collective/Half Day/Boat)
Free afternoon in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Overnight at Victoria House – Plantation Room

Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour (Collective/HD/Boat)

Hol Chan means Little Channel in Mayan and is a natural break on the barrier reef where ocean depth ranges from 3 to 30 feet. Here guests will enjoy seeing the breath taking myriad of marine life and huge coral garden, among which are flourishing stag horn corals and sea fans. Shark Ray Alley is a shallow water snorkel where guests will enjoy swimming with the harmless nurse sharks and southern stingrays – this trip is a famous snorkel trip and a “must do” for Belize.

  • Activity Includes: guide, boat transfers & snorkel equipment
  • Not Included: lunch, tips, gratuities, US $10.00 per person entrance fees which must be paid locally, in cash

 

Day 7

American Breakfast at Victoria House
Free day in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Overnight at Victoria House – Plantation Room

Day 8

American Breakfast at Victoria House
Service(s) from Victoria House: Transfer from hotel to San Pedro Airstrip – may not be private
Scheduled Domestic Flight to Belize International Airport
Trip Ends

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For book your place on the jungle and beach holiday in Belize please call us on 01926 658797 or complete the enquiry form below and we will be in touch.

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