Returning to the mainland, we prepare for the adventure ahead. Here the rain forest covers the land and the ancient traditions of the Maya are still strong. On our next series of adventures, we descend into Mayan ceremonial caves, and then we embark on a three day paddle trip into the rain forest canyons of Belize. Although no previous experience or special skills are needed to participate in the Ultimate Adventure, you should be in good enough physical condition to paddle up to 10 miles a day or hike with a light pack for three or four hours.
Day 1: Arrive at the Belize International Airport where you will be met by our representative and transferred to the Tropical Education Center, adjacent to the Belize Zoo. After checking into our accommodations we enjoy a welcome dinner and have a chance to meet our fellow travelers. We are able to experience the surrounding tropical pine savanna habitat through a network of trails and raised wildlife viewing platforms. We also have a unique and exclusive nocturnal tour of the Belize Zoo with one of the senior zookeepers, which helps us understand the diverse ecology of Belize, and is an ideal starting point for the adventure ahead. This day is your day to arrive before the trip starts, meet your fellow travelers and acclimatize to your new tropical environment. Transfers from the airport and lodging are included. Accommodation: (Lodge). Meals: Dinner
Day 2: We rise early to start todays extraordinary journey, which takes us deep into the Mayan underworld known as Xilbalba (shil-balba), a mythical realm inhabited by spirits and powerful gods, an underworld of untold fears and dreams where Mayan shaman, in supposition to the gods, ventured into darkness to conduct their secretive rituals. As we venture underground into the caves, we learn from our guides how the caves played an important role in the ancient Maya civilization and about ongoing archaeological research taking place underground in Belize. After our cave visit, we travel the Hummingbird Route to meet up with our motor charter, on the coast by the town of Dangriga. We head out to the southern Barrier Reef and arrive at our camp in time to settle in, have dinner and plan our next two days on the barrier reef. Accommodation: (Camping) Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: We rise early for a breakfast on the beach. We then focus on our introduction to sea kayaking and get comfortable with the gear. We start by teaching and reviewing the fundamentals of sea kayaking and introduce everyone to ocean touring techniques. We test our new found skills with a paddle out to the main reef to snorkel along the inner reef wall or patch reefs. Depending on sea conditions, a snorkel along the outside reef edge may be possible. Our paddle back to our camp takes us past mangrove ranges and protected lagoons. Out on the reef, our guides share their knowledge of Belize, the marine environments and local culture. Accommodation: (Camping) Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: After breakfast and a morning of paddling and snorkeling, our motor charter returns to take us 20 miles east of the main Barrier Reef to Glovers Reef Atoll, a National Marine Park and designated World Heritage site. We land at park headquarters on Middle Cay, with boats rigged and ready to sail. We sail our kayaks along the eastern reef wall to our base camp at Southwest Caye at the southern end of the atoll, surrounded by rich coral reefs and beautiful turquoise waters. Tonight, we enjoy an island feast of mixed grill of fresh seafood and vegetables topped with Belizean coconut baking and tropical fruits. Accommodation: (Base Camp). Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 5-6: Glover’s is one of only four atolls in the Caribbean Sea and is truly one of the most spectacular marine environments in Belize. Due to its isolation from the mainland the waters are exceptionally clear with an incredibly rich reef system that offers some of the best kayaking, snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean. Our days are flexible in order to respond to both group and individual desires and abilities. Activities include: sea kayaking, snorkeling the inner and outer walls of the reef, kayak sailing and windsurfing. For those who are certified divers, we can also arrange dives on the outer walls. If all this sounds a little busy, you always have the choice of just kicking back in a hammock and relaxing with a good book and a cold drink. On the afternoon of Day 5, we transfer back to the mainland and continue south to our jungle lodge in the Toledo district of Belize to begin the next leg of our journey. Accommodation: (Field Camp / The Lodge at Big Falls) Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 7-9: The Lodge at Big Falls is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande river in Belize's southern Toledo District, a region of isolated villages lying amongst an unspoiled tropical wilderness. Our location is superb. The lodge property is located on a meander of the river with almost a mile of river frontage. There are views towards the Maya Mountains to the north west while the south eastern bank faces the small village of Big Falls. In the afternoon, we drive further south from Big Falls to our put-in point on the Moho river, stopping for lunch along the way and visiting either the Mayan ruins of Lubaantun or the traditional Maya village of Santa Theresa. Once on the river, our guides provide a brief boat and river orientation and we take as much time as we need to learn and practice our new boat-handling skills, enabling us to safely navigate the rapids and pour-overs. We then begin our journey along one of Belize’s most beautiful rivers through some pristine rain forest to our first river camp.
For these next days we break contact completely with the outside world and become a part of the mist-shrouded rain forest as we follow the Moho River through canyons and lush rain forest. Each bend reveals the dynamic nature of the river-from calm, meandering water that reflects the intense green of the jungle to stretches of rapids, pour-overs and spectacular waterfalls as the river descends from the Maya Mountains to the sea. Depending on water levels, some days we may reach our bush-camp by mid-afternoon and switch to land-based activities.
Hiking through the forest, birding, plant and animal identification, and photography are some of the many activities we engage in. During the trip with our Mayan guides and North American leaders, we emphasize understanding the ecology of the rain forest, learning about the habits of the wildlife and gaining an appreciation for the rich Mayan folklore which adds so much to our experience in the jungle. Accommodation: (Camping) Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: We continue paddling downstream and arrive to the river pull out in the afternoon, where we are met by IEC staff ready to transport us back to Dangriga and onto a Maya Airways domestic flight to our hotel accommodation to enjoy a hot shower. Accommodations: (Biltmore Plaza Hotel) Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner is not Included in this night
Note: This is one of our most adventurous trips. It takes place in a remote wilderness region of Belize. Participants need to be in good physical condition and ready to handle the unexpected. Weather conditions can greatly affect water levels and hiking trails into the river and may increase the level of difficulty. We also believe that the remoteness and variability of conditions are what make this trip the best of its kind in Belize. Trip itineraries may vary significantly depending on water levels.
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Central America and Caribbean Belize Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting Rainforest
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