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Private Journeys

Luxury Belize: Nature, wildlife and Caribbean cayes

11 days from £3,540pp

Belize

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Belize City. Transfer to the Lodge at Chaa Creek in Cayo District.

It’s a three hour drive to the Lodge at Chaa Cheek, a delightful retreat  set within a large private area of lush lowland rainforest at San Ignacio, close to the picturesque Macal river and just outside Mountain Pine Ridge Forest reserve. The ambiance is extremely peaceful and  relaxing,  

 

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Day 2

At leisure.

Day at leisure. Excursions available include horse riding and mountain biking through the pine forest. You can rent a canoe for a paddle or go tubing on the serene Macal river – a terrific experience and a good opportunity to spot wildlife. Another adventurous activity would be to ride a canopy zipline to get an exhilarating tree-top view of the forest and its inhabitants – birds and butterflies are particularly abundant. You might elect to take a jeep safari through the rainforest, or visit one of many cave systems in the vicinity. The local market at San Ignacio, bulging with fruit and vegetables, is well worth a visit too if you are there on the right day.

Simon Chubb ©

Day 3

Excursion to Caracol

Guided excursion to Caracol, Rio Frio and Rio On.  Situated high on the Vaca Plateau, in the heart of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Caracol is the most extensive Mayan site in Belize and was only discovered in the modern age in 1936. The site is peppered with 30,000 structures: in its ascendancy the city supported a population of over 150,000. Squatting at an altitude of over 500m above sea level with no natural water body close by it remains a mystery how and why such a huge population centre like Caracol survived and evolved.

However, the close proximity to both extremely hard stone and copal, two commodities highly prized by the Maya, may help explain this enigma. At the heart of the site lies the massive pyramid of Caana (Sky Palace) which is now almost fully restored and reaches a height of over 35m. From the top you can enjoy panoramic views over the mountains. The drive to the site in the early morning occasionally allows you to glimpse tapir, jaguar or ocelot as they break their forest cover to cross the road.

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Day 4

Light aircraft flight to Gallon Jug, continue by road to Chan Chich.

A real adventure today: you embark a 3-seater light aircraft for the short flight from the airstrip at Mountain Pine Ridge to the evocatively named Gallon Jug. From there, you catch your breath and continue by road to Chan Chich Lodge in the Orange Walk District, which has thrived on the plantation cultivation of citrus fruit, and sugar.

Chan Chich is not just a top-of-the-range lodge, it’s a holiday experience in itself. It’s remarkably comfortable, with great facilities including a fully screened pool and a Jacuzzi. Luxurious cabins occupy the lower plaza of a 1,200 year-old Mayan temple. The surrounding rainforest, part of a large private reserve in one of the most remote corners of Belize, has long been spared the destructive impact of hunters and loggers.

A rich diversity of flora and fauna, including howler and spider monkeys, jaguars, ocelots and a myriad of bird species is found here. Whether or not you are fortunate to catch a glimpse of a wild cat during your visit, it is unlikely you’ll leave Chan Chich without feeling humbled by the overwhelming supremacy and beauty of nature.

 

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Day 5

At leisure at Chan Chich,

The lodge is built within the lower plaza of one of many unexcavated Mayan ruins scattered throughout the area, and offers a genuine escape into nature, with little compromise on comfort. The area is rich in flora and fauna, including howler and spider monkey, ocelot, and an abundance of birdlife (birding check lists are available). Sightings of the elusive jaguar are also frequent.

Complimentary services include a choice of two daytime guided walks: the menu includes bird watching, a walk introducing you to the medicinal use of certain indigenous plants and an archaeologically-focussed trek. Also included is one vehicle tour to one of Laguna Seca, Laguna Verde, Gallon Jug Farm and coffee finca or Sylvester village. Activities not included (arranged locally at extra cost): night time activities; La Milpa and Lamanai ruins day-trips; horse riding and canoeing.

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Day 6

At leisure.

At leisure. Activities not included at Chan Chich (arranged locally at extra cost): night time activities; La Milpa and Lamanai ruins day-trips; horse riding and canoeing.

Belize Tourist Board ©

Day 7

Light aircraft flight from Gallon Jug to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Transfer to Victoria House.

It’s another light aircraft flight from Gallon Jug to Ambergris Caye, the most northerly and largest island in Belize, 46km long. The island offers a splendid vantage point from which to enjoy the Belize Barrier Reef less than a kilometre from the shore. The relaxed main town San Pedro has a wide choice of restaurants and bars. The island’s main attractions are sea-orientated: first class diving, snorkelling and fishing.

You’ll be staying at Victoria House, overlooking the Caribbean. This family-friendly, white plantation-style property harks back with nostalgia to British colonial times, but without the formality. A romantic, barefoot resort with a generous infinity pool, it offers both relaxation in the shade of a swaying palm as well as loads of activities into which to channel your energy.

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Days 8-10

At leisure on Ambergris Caye.

At leisure on Ambergris Caye. Snorkelling and diving in the nearby Hol Chan Marine Reserve is outstanding – a typical excursion lasts around 2.5hrs with 60mins in the water- and there is a dive shop on the premises’ private pier. The hotel also offers flat, reef and deep-sea fishing trips. If you have your driving licence, buggies can be hired.

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Day 11

Transfer to airport

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