Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Join me for a preview of the first Road Scholar Belize/Guatemala Multisport program itinerary;


Visit amazing Mayan ruins, swim in a cave containing ancient artifacts, rapell into a 300 ft sinkhole and snorkel on the worlds second largest coral reef system, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System!

Charles Darwin described it as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842.


Belize / Guatemala Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Belize

When our group flight has arrived at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport we will be met by our Tour Leader and Belizean guide. We will be staying at the Radisson Fort George Hotel for the next two nights and, after checking in, we’ll have time to relax with a refreshing swim in the hotel’s pool before sitting down for our welcome dinner and presentation of our tour program. o/n Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City

Day 2 Belize City - Lamanai Maya Site

We will be spending the day at the Lamanai Mayan site, located northwest of Belize City on the New River Lagoon. Lamanai, meaning Submerged Crocodile, is located in the Orange Walk district on the New River Lagoon.

After breakfast we drive to New River where we will meet our boat to take us approximately 50 kilometers up the New River to the Mayan ruins. This leisurely boat ride will provide us with the opportunity to see many birds, such as black-collared hawk, northern jacana, mangrove swallow, olive-throated parakeet, American pygmy kingfisher, limpkin and purple gallinules, and the chance to catch a glimpse of the rare jabiru stork. We may also see orchids growing along the banks of the river, and other types of wildlife such as the endangered Morelete's crocodile and green iguana. 

After arriving at Lamanai, a site that was inhabited from 1500 BC until well after 1492 AD, we will have the chance to explore the more than 50 impressive structures spread over the Archaeological Reserve. The ruin of Lamanai is located deep in the rain forest and is connected with a good trail system. The forest provides excellent habitat for red-lored parrots, blue-crowned motmots, collared aracari, keel-billed toucans, lineated and pale-billed woodpeckers, and black-headed and violaceous trogons. In addition, Yucatan black howler monkeys are usually seen or heard here. Later in the afternoon, we will boat back to Orange Walk Town and return to the Radisson Fort George Hotel in time for dinner. o/n Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City

Day 3 Transfer to Flores, Guatemala

Right after breakfast; check out at the of the hotel. We now proceed en-route to the Western Border and on the way we will stop at the Belize Zoo, whereby we will have a chance to see some of Central American animals; Tapir and Jaguar just to mention a few. After the tour we will continue our way to Flores Peten, Guatemala. About 45 minutes to an hour we will make a stop at El Portal for lunch. We will continue after lunch and end up at Peten Explendido for the next two nights. You will now have the rest of the afternoon at Leisure to explore the town. Before dinner lecture on Tikal. o/n Peten Explendido

Day 4 Tikal day tour & Ixpanpajul Natural Park (hanging bridges)

We will spend the morning exploring the largest and most spectacular of all the Mayan Sites, Tikal. The eight massive pyramids of Tikal that tower above the vast rain forest are the most impressive collection of structures in the New World. Many can be climbed via stairs, and from high above the trees we will observe the rain forest and the surrounding pyramids.

During our day here, there will be ample time to study the ruins, pursue photography, and search out spectacular rain forest birds and mammals at Tikal National Park. Lunch at a local restaurant at Tikal area. After lunch drive 45 minutes out of the Park to Ixpanpajul Nature Park to enjoy the hanging bridges. The Ixpanpajul Natural Park covers an area of nine square kilometers or 450 hectares. It has over 200 hundred species of trees, over 150 species of birds and about 40 species of mammals. The Park features a waking trail with 6 hanging bridges that will allow you to observe the marvelous variety of local flora and fauna in a different way. During the walk you can learn about the different layers of tropical forest, crossing hanging bridges which in stages will bring you to the paths that finally reach the summit of Miramás, a hill from which you can contemplate the majesty of the jungle and the impressive beauty of Lake Petén Itzá. o/n Peten Esplendido

Day 5 Visit Yaxha Ruins / Return back to Belize/ Pook’s Hill Lodge

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and head out to Belize. On the way we will visit Yaxha National Park. Yaxhá, q’equchi’ for green water, is located in the department of Petén, 73 km from Flores. This Maya site, discovered in 1904 by architect Teobert Maler, is situated within the Maya Biosphere Reserve along with the sites of Nakum and El Naranjo.  It was occupied from Pericles's (800 bc) to post classic (1600 AD) times and covers 3 km2 with more than 500 buildings discovered, including the only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal.  It was allied to Tikal and an enemy of El Naranjo, from whom it suffered various defeats.  Nearby is Yaxhá lagoon, in the center of which was another Mayan site called Topoxté, where building continued after the classic collapse until 1450.  The lagoon is home to the Morletti specie of crocodile, endemic to Petén. Lunch will be at Yaxha and then we will continue to San Ignacio.
o/n Pook’s Hill Lodge

Day 6 Actun Tunichil Muknal Active Adventure Cave (ATM Cave)

On this morning prepare yourself with all the adrenalin you will need. Just after breakfast we will drive some 30 minutes from the lodge. This tour will start with a 45 minutes hike, crossing the Roaring River three times; water up to your knees. Once we arrive at the Cave you will swim the entrance to explore this cave for 3 ½ hours. ATM holds hundreds of ancient Maya artifacts that were used in various ceremonies, but it also contains burial chambers with calcified human remains.  This is a fascinating and rare opportunity to see another side of Mayan life and culture. Return back at Pook’s Hill Lodge. o/n Pook’s Hill Lodge

Day 7 Black Hole Drop Tour/Jaguar Reef Lodge at Hopkins

Leave Pook’s Hill Lodge at 7:30 AM and will then arrive at Cave Branch by 8:30 AM in time for directions and instructions of the day tour from your group leader. Drive 15 minutes to the base of the Camp site, then hike 1 ½ hours up the mountain. Arriving at the very top of the mountain around 11 AM, then start your repelling into the 300 ft sink hole. Arrive at the bottom of the sink hole around noon, have lunch and continue exploring meanwhile making your way back to the camp site; roughly 45 minutes hike. Return at Cave’s Branch lodge at 2:30 PM. We will give you some time to clean up and proceed to our final destination 1 1/3 hours drive. By 5PM you will be arriving at the beach. o/n Jaguar Reef Lodge

Day 8 &9 Staying at the beach – South Water Caye

We will be doing two ½ days snorkel trips at the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. On this trip we board a boat from Jaguar Reef Lodge and go 45 minutes boat ride were you will be snorkeling several Reef patches. Return at the hotel, have lunch and afternoon at leisure on both days.  While enjoying your leisure you can go out to explore Hopkins Village, meet with drummers, artisans, gift shops for souvenir etc. Please note you will be snorkeling different areas each day. On day 9 evening we will be having our farewell dinner at the beach.  o/n Jaguar Reef Lodge

Day 10 Departure Day

Early breakfast, check out of the lodge. We then drive 45 minutes to the airstrip in Dangriga, for your 30 minutes domestic flight to Belize International Airport, for your connecting flight back home.

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