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Belize and Tikal Private Expedition
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9 days

from $5,855 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($3,995 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

trip_detail module icon Private Expedition

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Canoe past calcite crystal formations in the Barton Creek Cave, and learn how the ancient Maya used this underworld for ceremonial purposes.
  • Delve into Maya culture at Copal Tree Lodge—a National Geographic Unique Lodge nestled among the remote villages and coastal jungles of southern Belize.
  • Take a private tour of the ancient Maya ruins of Tikal, Guatemala, located in the heart of a jungle brimming with tropical birds and animals.
  • Swim and snorkel among sea turtles, sharks, sting rays, and colorful coral reefs at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley; and opt to scuba dive in the sapphire depths of the Great Blue Hole.
Itinerary

Just beyond the pristine beaches of the Belizean coast, lush jungles harbor fascinating wildlife, ancient ruins, and a mélange of Caribbean and Latin American cultures. Journey to the country’s remote southern reaches to discover coastal forests teeming with rare marine and birdlife, and sleepy villages where the culture of the modern-day Maya thrives. Cross the border into Guatemala, and wander the ancient passageways of Tikal’s temples; and descend into the Maya underworld on a caving excursion. Then set out from Ambergris Caye and dive into the magical undersea of the Belize barrier reef.

Day 1: Arrive Belize City/Punta Gorda, Belize

Arrive in Belize City, then fly to Punta Gorda. Transfer to Copal Tree Lodge—a National Geographic Unique Lodge nestled in the lush coastal jungles of southern Belize. National Geographic guests will receive an exclusive introduction to two local culinary staples: chocolate and coffee. In the lodge chocolate-making class, learn the process of transforming cacao into chocolate, and mold your own delicious bar. Then head to the coffee bar for an in-depth tasting, and create a flavor profile of the house brew with the help of Copal Tree's resident coffee expert.

Day 2: Punta Gorda

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Get your sea legs today: Visit the Rio Grande estuary, and then head to the Port Honduras Marine Reserve to watch for the endangered West Indian manatee at Frenchman Lagoon. Snorkel the Snake Cayes, teeming with a colorful array of fish and coral; and picnic along a white-sand beach on a tiny isle. Meet park rangers at Abalone Caye and learn about their efforts to stop poaching in this pristine marine sanctuary.

Day 3: Punta Gorda

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Travel to the Kek’chi Maya village and visit the home of a local family to learn about their culture. Roast and grind cacao beans for a Mayan-style cocoa drink, fry up tortillas, and sit down with your hosts to share a traditional Maya meal. Try your hand at weaving baskets and fabrics, and head outside for a guided walk to discover traditional uses of regional plants, herbs, and spices.

Day 4: Punta Gorda/Belize City/Cayo District

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Today, transfer to the Punta Gorda airport and fly to Belize City. Stop at the Belize Zoo, a rehabilitation sanctuary home to more than 170 animals native to the area. Learn about the animals and the different measures being taken to preserve their habitats before continuing to the Cayo District.

Day 5: Tikal, Guatemala

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Cross the border into Guatemala for a full-day visit to the famous Maya ruins at Tikal. Take a private tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site, including the Great Plaza and its iconic Temple of the Jaguar, the Temple of the Mask, and Acropolis. As you explore the ancient city, keep your eyes peeled for the tropical animals and birds that inhabit the surrounding jungle.

Day 6: Cayo District/Ambergris Caye

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This morning, visit Barton Creek Cave and learn about how the cave served as a gateway to the underworld for the ancient Maya, and paddle a canoe along its aqueous passageways, studded with sparkling calcite crystals. Then fly to Ambergris Caye, the country’s largest island, and transfer to your hotel overlooking the Belize barrier reef. Spend the rest of the day at leisure in this tropical paradise.

Day 7: Ambergris Caye

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Embark on a half-day private snorkeling adventure in the deep blue waters of Belize. Swim among sea turtles, sharks, sting rays, and coral reefs at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore on your own. Relax at your hotel’s private beach, or stroll the sandy streets of colorful San Pedro town.

Day 8: Ambergris Caye

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Explore the peninsula at your own pace today. Relax at the pool or retreat to the spa. Or opt to book your own excursion: Go scuba diving in Belize’s beguiling Great Blue Hole, get a bird’s eye view of the coast on a helicopter tour, head out on a guided boat tour in pursuit of indigenous birds, or charter a sunset cruise.

Day 9: Belize City/Depart

Transfer to San Pedro Airport and fly to Belize International Airport. Depart for your international flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light\/moderate and suits a range of interests and abilities. Travelers should be physically fit and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods and navigating uneven or slippery terrain. Excursions include walking tours in cities, wilderness areas, and archaeological sites, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling. While tourism is growing steadily, Belize's infrastructure is still developing. Road conditions can be rugged and dusty, and internal flight schedules can be unpredictable.

Accommodations
Throughout the expedition, you’ll stay in high-end accommodations selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character, including Copal Tree Lodge, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection.

Expedition Team
Top private guides will accompany you throughout the trip, and local experts will meet with you along the way as described in the itinerary.

ACCOMMODATIONS
1 /5

Copal Tree Lodge - Punta Gorda, Belize

Nestled in the lush hills of southern Belize’s rain forest not far from the Caribbean coast, Copal Tree Lodge—a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World—sets a gold standard for agritourism and provides unparalleled access to Mayan culture and world-class fishing and birding.

2 /5

Copal Tree Lodge - Punta Gorda, Belize

Nestled in the lush hills of southern Belize’s rain forest not far from the Caribbean coast, Copal Tree Lodge—a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World—sets a gold standard for agritourism and provides unparalleled access to Mayan culture and world-class fishing and birding.

3 /5

Copal Tree Lodge - Punta Gorda, Belize

Nestled in the lush hills of southern Belize’s rain forest not far from the Caribbean coast, Copal Tree Lodge—a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World—sets a gold standard for agritourism and provides unparalleled access to Mayan culture and world-class fishing and birding.

4 /5

Copal Tree Lodge - Punta Gorda, Belize

Nestled in the lush hills of southern Belize’s rain forest not far from the Caribbean coast, Copal Tree Lodge—a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World—sets a gold standard for agritourism and provides unparalleled access to Mayan culture and world-class fishing and birding.

5 /5

Copal Tree Lodge - Punta Gorda, Belize

Nestled in the lush hills of southern Belize’s rain forest not far from the Caribbean coast, Copal Tree Lodge—a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World—sets a gold standard for agritourism and provides unparalleled access to Mayan culture and world-class fishing and birding.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Nov 1-Dec 31, 2019
  • 2 People $7,028 AUD ($4,795 USD)
  • 4 People $6,295 AUD ($4,295 USD)
  • 6 People $5,855 AUD ($3,995 USD)

  • date Jan 1-Aug 31, 2020
  • 2 People $7,028 AUD ($4,795 USD)
  • 4 People $6,295 AUD ($4,295 USD)
  • 6 People $5,855 AUD ($3,995 USD)

  • date Nov 1-Dec 31, 2020
  • 2 People $7,028 AUD ($4,795 USD)
  • 4 People $6,295 AUD ($4,295 USD)
  • 6 People $5,855 AUD ($3,995 USD)

Prices are per person based on double occupancy and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Single traveler prices are available upon request. Internal flights are $830 per person. Surcharges may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

Please note: A US Department of State travel advisory for Guatemala is currently in effect (travel.state.gov). We expect to operate this trip as planned, but will continue to closely monitor events in the region and will alter the itinerary if necessary.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities