Belize: Jungles, Mayans & Manatees
Snorkel with wild manatees, explore the gateway to the Mayan underworld & enjoy a rum-fuelled beach barbecue in pristine Caye Caulker
Belize: Jungles, Mayans & Manatees
About your trip
Where Central American jungle meets turquoise Caribbean seas; this seven-day adventure across Belize is one for the beach-loving culture-seekers.
So what to expect from your time in paradise? You’ll be hiking through rainforest to reach the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, otherwise known as the gateway to the Mayan underworld. You’ll snorkel in preserves so vibrant they rival that of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and swim with wild manatees, learning how to protect their precious mangrove habitat with local legend ‘Mangrove Mama’.
There’ll be plenty of time to enjoy local rum and you’ll have the chance to perfect the art of local cooking (get ready to fall in love with Fry Jacks). A horseback ride to ancient Mayan ruins, tackling a crank-ferry river crossing en-route, will have you feeling like a true local, while your final beach barbecue with new friends will cement your love for rich a destination that really does seem to tick all the tropical boxes.
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- Arrival transfer included
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 Touch down in paradise
Welcome to Belize. Bags collected, you’ll be hopping straight in a car to San Ignacio, a two-hour drive away. You’ll be greeted at your boutique hotel with a refreshing rum cocktail (Belize is known for its punch), the perfect drink to toast to your upcoming adventure. Introductions to your new travel friends made, your driver will transport you into town for a colourful dinner of Belizean street food. As eclectic as the local culture, you’ll be tucking into plates including garnaches (tortillas topped with refried beans, shredded cabbage and cheese), panades (breaded meatballs) and salbutes (tortilla with avocado, pulled chicken, tomato and pickled red onion).
Day 02 Fry Jacks & Horse Rides
You’ll be getting stuck in from the off today, learning how to make “fry jacks” – Belize’s favourite breakfast food. Next up, it’s a short transfer to the stables, where you’ll be given a safety briefing before heading out on a 1.5-hour horseback ride to the Xunantunich ruins. Getting there requires crossing a river on an old hand-crank ferry, a truly Central American experience. You’ll tour the Maya ruins on foot before heading to a local restaurant for lunch. Appetites satiated, we’re off to visit a traditional Mennonite community in Barton Creek, where you’ll meet a local family, sample their organic cheeses and learn about their unique way of life.
Day 03 Ruins & Waterfalls
Following a hearty breakfast, it’s a two-hour drive to the Caracol ruins. Tucked deep in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve at the base of the verdant Maya Mountains, Caracol is the largest excavated Maya city in Belize and was one of the most important settlements of its time. Excavations here have uncovered prehistoric pyramids, royal tombs, dwellings, monuments and temples which we’ll explore with our guide – cameras at the ready for the jaw-dropping panoramas of the dense jungle surrounding it. After an alfresco picnic lunch of local goodies, we’ll head back towards Mountain Pine Ridge, stopping off for a refreshing dip at Big Rock Falls, a 150-foot waterfall on the Privassion River.
Day 04 Gateway to the underworld
Today you’ll be visiting the jewel in Belize’s crown – the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave, seen as the gateway to the underworld in Maya culture, where the gods were believed to reside deep below the earth’s surface. It’s a 45-minute drive to the trailhead from San Ignacio, from where we’ll hike another 45 minutes along winding jungle paths, wading across gushing streams and ducking under branches until we reach the cave entrance. Then, you’ll navigate through intricate chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites towards the inner sanctum, where ancient Mayan artefacts and skeletal remains are preserved. Following this, it’s a car journey back to Belize City, from where you’ll board a water taxi to Caye Caulker, a gorgeous Caribbean island where you’ll spend the night.
Day 05 Freedom in Caye Caulker
Everyone loves a beach, and Caye Caulker’s shores hide some of the world’s most exceptional snorkelling opportunities. We suggest spending a barefoot day basking in the sunshine, diving beneath duck-egg-blue waters, getting your adrenaline fix with some kite-surfing and exploring by bike (this limestone coral islet is only five miles long and less than a mile wide), fuelled by plenty of rum punch. The island embodies chilled-out Caribbean living and it’s hard not to be enchanted by the hip, lesser-visited sibling of nearby Ambergris Caye. Don’t miss “The Split”, a hangout for locals and in-the-know travellers, with shallow waters perfect to cool off in and a thatched-roof beach bar serving ice-cold drinks and more-ish bar food.
Day 06 Mangroves & Manatees
It’s back on a water taxi into town where we’ll meet local legend and mangrove preservationist Allie Johnstone, known as the “Mangrove Mama” of Caye Caulker. Allie will give us her “Mangrove 101” talk, educating us about the importance of protecting the mangroves in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem on the islands. The hope is to plant mangroves with Allie, but this is generally only possible during the rainy season. We’ll then depart by motor boat on a manatee and snorkelling adventure towards the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. If spotted, you’ll get the chance to swim with these majestic sea creatures, as well as snorkelling at two exceptional reef locations. The day will be rounded off with a farewell beach barbecue – a proper, island-style send-off from our Belizean adventure.
Day 07 Adios Belize
This morning, you’ll be catching a water taxi back to the mainland, where an airport transfer will pick you up from the Water Express Marine. The first water taxi leaves Caye Caulker at 6.00AM, and you’ll need to be at the airport at least three hours before your flight. Fallen in love with this part of the world? Have a browse of our suite of Americas adventures and find your next escape.
Our Favourite Hotels
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
Cassia Hill Resort, San Ignacio
Made up of individual cabanas dotted across peaceful grounds, this hotel is all fluttering linen, mammoth beds and doors opening out onto terraces strung with hammocks. Spend days flitting between pool, room and restaurant, while you’ll also find a gym, gift shop and equestrian centre.
Blu Zen, Caye Caulker
This beachfront resort boasts postcard-perfect views of the Caribbean Sea as it meets vast, electric-blue skies. Bag a sun lounger on the sand or by the pool, where an alfresco restaurant serves snacks and cocktails. The focus here is on seafood, and there’s a Thai-inspired restaurant inside if you’re looking to mix things up.
- Which airport should I fly into and out of? Plus airport code.
Fly into and out of Belize International Airport (BZE). Please book your flight home after 10am at the earliest (this is due to the time the water taxi leaves Caye Caulker).
- Do I need a visa?
You do not need a visa if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada for up to 90 days. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires you to have a visa.
We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport with blank pages available for stamps.
- What time should my flight arrive to be in time for the welcome meeting?
Please try to ensure your flight arrives by 3pm on the first day.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
There are no activities planned for the last day, so leave any time you wish.
- Are airport transfers included?
Yes. If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.
Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.
In terms of departure from Caye Caulker, you will receive a ferry ticket that includes a public shuttle back to Belize airport.
- If arriving earlier, where should I stay?
We highly recommend not staying in Belize City. Unfortunately it’s not very safe or walkable, so you’ll be better heading directly to San Ignacio.
- Will my itinerary change?
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
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