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Private Journeys

Active Belize: Jungle and reef adventure

11 days from £3,000pp

Belize

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Belize City, transfer to your lodge in the interior.

he scenic drive to the lodge Pook’s Hill, set at the foot of the Mayan mountains in Cayo District, takes about two hours. This is a tightly forested region of profuse biodiversity populated by a multitude of bird, mammal and foliage species and sheltering the vestiges of Mayan temples. The misty mornings and ancient trees strangled by vines create a magical atmosphere enhanced by secret caves and shimmering streams.

Violaceous Trogon

Day 2

Visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves.

Prepare for a real Indiana Jones adventure on this excursion into an extraordinary Mayan ceremonial cave, the 5km long Actun Tunichil Muknal. It’s more than evocative of the bloodletting traditions of the Mayans: you’ll actually come across gruesome skeletal remains. You’ll see where the Mayans have manipulated cave formations to create the faces of men and animals, project shadows or serve as makeshift altars.

It’s not all history and death though: bats flit around and tropical fish inhabit the waters. It is quite a challenging exploit: you have to swim under the arch of the cave’s sweltering roof, climb over slippery rocks and spend hours in the dark. But it is a truly unique experience which you are unlikely to forget in a hurry.

Actun Tunichil Muknal – Cayo

Day 3

Travel to Bocawina Rainforest Lodge.

Mayflower Bocawina National Park, in the southern district of Stann Creek, hosts a carpet of lush jungle, waterfalls cascading over foliage-fringed rocky cliffs and the remains of settlements of the Mayan empire: temples, ceremonial sites and residences. Set in a natural bowl fringed by the Mayan mountains it feels remote, but is in fact only an hour or so’s drive from some of the county’s major towns. Living and thriving in the rainforest are an estimated 238 species of birds; troops of black howler monkeys lurk in the canopy while beneath there are walking trails to explore.

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Days 4-5

Activities at the lodge.

During your stay at the lodge you can take part in any of a wide variety of activities and excursions. Choose from the guided Bocawina Rainforest trail hike, or, if you are up for thrills, ride the longest rainforest canopy zipline in Central America, with a birds’ eye view over the forest. It takes up to two hours to complete the zip which is four km long, has 14 platforms and nine different runs. Not only is it long, offering you the opportunity thoroughly to get absorbed in the experience and spot birds and mammals high up in the branches, but you can also opt to ride the line at night…with a head torch. This is a rare chance to experience the canopy under the cover of darkness, which has a completely different feel to the daytime adventure:  you may spot owls, howler monkeys and bats.

You could also choose to take a two hour walk through humid jungley vegetation to Antelope Falls. It’s a bit hilly, but satisfying for that. Upon arrival you will enjoy views over the rainforest to the Caribbean Sea beyond. Slowly rappel a staggering 75m down the rock-face of the waterfall to a pool of cool clear water at the bottom – a dip here will be most welcome.

Other options include a visit to the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve to explore the trails which call at spectacular waterfalls with mountain views, and have great bird-spotting opportunities. Budding historians will be attracted by the chance to visit Mayan archaeological ruins while those of you more interested in contemporary indigenous culture may visit a spice farm and see how local communities source the resources of the jungle in their daily lives for medicine, furniture and jewellery making.

Some of these options have an extra charge, paid locally.

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Day 6

By road to the coast, glamping on a coral atoll.

It’s a drive of only about 30 minutes from the mountain fringe down to the Garifuna village of Dangriga on the Caribbean coast.  From there you’ll embark on a one and a half hour’ boat ride to Glover’s Reef Atoll, a protected marine park. It consists of an elliptically shaped reef measuring 32 by 11km, situated around 64km offshore. You’ll be staying at a unique safari-style camp there, right on the water’s edge, stepping out of your furnished tent onto pearl-white sands – magical. 

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Days 7-8

Water-based activities from the camp.

The camp is perfect for active families and couples of mixed abilities, offering flexibility and choices in daily guided activities, so that you and your travelling companions can do things together or separately. You can choose between kayaking in the mangroves, stand-up paddling on the surface of super-calm waters (or choppier seas depending on the weather), or snorkelling in the warm, glass-clear lagoon – in places it is less than a couple of metres deep, making the abundant marine life really accessible: view a plethora of dazzling tropical fish, eels and turtles, all thriving among the live coral.

It’s a very relaxed place: the activities offered on any day will depend on the weather and guests’ interests. There’s so much to do (though not all activities are always available, check with us): sunrise yoga, fishing and kayak sailing. You’ll have professional briefings and training on the activities: all of which are guided by skilled specialists in their field: among them are naturalists, fishermen, marine biologists and experienced kayakers.

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Day 9

Return to Dangriga and onwards to Parrot Cove.

Upon arrival by boat back at Dangriga you will proceed to Hopkins, a sunny low-rise village sprawling along the Caribbean coast with flour-white, palm-flecked beaches stroked by turquoise seas. It’s regarded by many as the capital of the country’s Afro-Caribbean Garifuna culture, and is as laid-back and informal as you might expect. It is a good spot to view manatees near the mouth of the river or in the sea early in the early morning.

Your accommodation, Parrot Cove Lodge, is located at the southern end of the village, an easy stroll, taxi-ride or complimentary-bike ride from the town’s bars, restaurants  and the marina, around 1.5km away.

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Day 10

At leisure at the resort

It’s your last day: situated right on the sands, Parrot Cove is a truly low-key beach resort: kayaks and paddle boards are available as well as bikes and there is a long list of activities and excursions to choose from, but you may be tempted just to swing to and fro in a hammock or laze around the intimate outdoor swimming pool.

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Day 11

Hop by air from Dangriga airstrip to connect with international flight.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Expert

    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

Meet the team