Header Graphic
Belize

BELIZE – Jungle, Mayan Temples, Caribbean Islands, Reefs, Caves and Culture 9-day Adventure

Sat. April 20th -  Sun. April 28th  2024. (9 days/8 nights) 

(You only need to take 5 vacation days if you work “regular” office hours)

 

Even if Belize is the 2nd most expensive country in all Central America, we have managed to organize this 9-day tour for an UnBelizeable low price, especially taking into consideration that we include flights, most of the sought after activities and some off-the-beaten-path activities as well.

$1,699 (Per person based on double occupancy)

$1,999 (Single room, must be 18 years old.)

Please let us know if you do not have a traveling partner and you want us to help you find another person of the same gender to share a room with to save $300. 

 

To reserve a seat for this tour, you must pay a $350 non-refundable deposit per person. Remaining balance is due latest March 12th, 2024. If the remaining balance is not received on that day, the reservation will be considered cancelled with loss of the deposit. Reservations for this tour made after March 12th, 2024 must be paid in full at time of reservation (if seats are still available). We will mail you our liability waiver about 4-5 weeks before the tour, which has to be mailed back in a provided stamped envelope latest 10 days before the tour.

 

The following is included in the price:

  • Airline tickets roundtrip from Newark Airport to Belize
  • Airline ticket taxes
  • Belize departure tax
  • Carry on luggage + personal item with the flight    
  • Friendly & professional tour coordinator traveling with you the whole tour from Newark Airport        
  • 8 Nights' accommodations at 2-3 Star comfortable hotels
  • 1 Breakfast at a hotel
  • 2 Lunches
  • 2 Dinners
  • All local transportation w. private van/taxi
  • Boat tickets to and from Caye Caulker
  • Cave tubing fee
  • Cave tubing equipment
  • Guanacaste National Park entrance fee
  • Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve entrance fee
  • Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve entrance fee
  • Green Iguana Conservation entrance fee
  • AJAW Chocolate entrance fee
  • Community Baboon Sanctuary entrance fee
  • Rio Frio Cave visit
  • Rio on Pools visit
  • Big Rock Falls visit
  • St. Herman’s Cave entrance fee
  • St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park entrance fee
  • Garifuna Experience entrance fee
  • Maya Experience entrance fee
  • Any taxes and fees not already mentioned

 

Not included in price:

  • Any meals and snacks not mentioned above ($200 - $300)
  • Any insurance
  • Any bags you have to check in with the airline ($35 each way)
  • Optional night hike ($10-20)  
  • Optional boat tours from Caye Caulker ($50-$110) 
  • Gratuities for your guides/driver (Tipping your tour guide is left to your discretion)

                              

 

For this tour we will fly out from Newark Airport with a direct flight to Belize, we will meet by the gate for our flight. We did try to find flights leaving from LGA or JFK airport, but they were either too expensive or had very long connecting flights.

You can take a NJ Transit train from NY Penn Station to Newark Airport Railroad Station, and then transfer to the Airtrain that will take you direct to the terminal. We can also, if agreed upon, share contact info between participants if anyone wants to share a taxi from NYC to Newark Airport.

This is our flight schedule with United Airlines:

Day

Date

Flight/

Class

Depart

Time

Arrive

Time

  Sat

 20 APR 2024

UA

542

L

      NEWARK LIBERTY, NJ

9:17AM

       BELIZE CITY, BELIZE

11:55AM

  Sun

 28 APR 2024

UA

1595

L

      BELIZE CITY, BELIZE

3:10PM

       NEWARK LIBERTY, NJ

9:42PM

 

 

Belize general info – small country, but packs a big punch.

 

Belize, formerly British Honduras, is a small Caribbean/Central American country. The country has a lot more in common with the Caribbean islands than its Central American neighbors. For the outdoor enthusiast, Belize presents unlimited opportunities. Over 60% of its land is still covered by tropical forests and throughout the country you will find archaeological and national parks, marine and nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. Mayan temples tower above rainforest canopies, while an incredible array of marine wildlife finds protection in Belize's barrier reef which is the longest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere and the second longest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. Belize also has the largest cave system in Central America.

With its various cultural, language and ethnic groups all living in racial harmony, religious tolerance, and a relatively non-violent political culture, all these different elements have blended successfully to give Belize a widespread reputation of being an exciting country to visit with very friendly people. The map to the right illustrates the different places in Belize that we will visit.

 

.

 

 

Community Baboon Sanctuary

We will visit this community sanctuary, which was created to protect the Black Howler Monkeys, called "baboons" locally. Howler Monkeys are the loudest land mammals in the world. Their 'howl' can be heard miles away. We will together with a guide take a gentle walk through the forest exploring the fauna and wildlife. Howler Monkeys are seen, or definitely heard on almost all the tours. The guide will also point out and share his knowledge about any other wildlife and medicinal plants that you will surely come across while walking through the forest.

 

 

Cave Tubing

A visit to Belize is not complete without indulging yourself in the country’s most famous outdoor adventure, cave tubing. Begin with a 20 minute nature hike through the rainforest and a couple of dry caves before reaching the first cave, where the underground river flows. In addition to the tube, you will also be given a life vest and a headlamp. You will then experience an amazing journey of about 1.5 hours floating leisurely, through the caves. This is an experience you can only have very few places in the world.

 

Xunantunich

Visit the Mayan site Xunantunich, aka "Stone Maiden," set on a leveled hilltop near the Mopan River, close to Guatemala. it is one of the biggest archaeological prides in Belize. The site once flourished as a ceremonial center and is thought to have been abandoned after an earthquake around 900 AD. Xunantunich has 6 plazas and 32 structures. It was large enough to house an estimated 20,000 people in its prime.

 

The site’s tallest building, the pyramid El Castillo, is the second largest building in all of Belize. It rises an impressive 131 ft above the jungle. (In reference, the more famous El Castillo of Chichen Itza, Mexico is “only” 78 ft tall). You can climb to the top (you can't do either at the one in Mexico) and it probably offers the greatest view from any of the Mayan structures in Belize. You will receive a guided tour of this marvelous site.

 

Garifuna Cultural Experience - Drum, Dance & Dine Experience

The Garifuna are descendants of a shipwrecked slave ship, who intermarried with the Arawak Indians of the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. Escaping persecution, they fled to the island of Roatan, and then to the rest of Central America. Today, the Garifuna people live mainly in small towns on the Caribbean coasts from Belize to Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In Belize most of the Garifuna people live on Belize’s southern coastline. Music and dance are a very important parts of Garifuna culture. The unique Garifuna cultural heritage is preserved and passed on through music, dance, storytelling, language, traditional foods, clothing, art and handicrafts.

We will visit a local Garifuna drum school, where you will get a short history of the Garifuna history and culture. You will also enjoy a performance showcasing Garifuna culture, and you will even get a chance to learn some Garifuna dance moves. We will end our visit with a traditional Garifuna meal of “Hudut” – fresh fish fillet sauteed in coconut milk with mild spices and served with mashed plantain.

 

 

St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park

This park covers over 500 acres of rich tropical rainforest. The park is home to over 200 bird species and a variety of wildlife, including howler monkeys, which can be heard regularly throughout the forest. We will visit two of the main attractions in this park, the St. Herman’s Cave and the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a sapphire-colored sinkhole pool formed by the collapse of an underground limestone cave. The sinkhole is surrounded by jungle vegetation and limestone rock walls, forming an attractive 25-foot deep swimming hole. The swimming hole is a 5-minute walk through the jungle down a series of concrete steps. This inland "Blue Hole" is not to be confused with the offshore Great Blue Hole, also in Belize. 

 

St. Herman's Cave

We will explore part of this cave, which has a great archaeological interest. It was used by the Maya during the Classic Period. Potteries, spears and torches has been found in the cave. The cave has beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, and other limestone formations. To reach the cave, we will hike 0.8 miles with about 220 ft elevation.

 

.

Living Maya Experience - Cultural and Heritage Tourism

We will give you a chance to experience and take you back to how the Mayan people lived before the modern world. You will be invited to a Mayan home where you can familiarize yourself with Mayan costumes, tradition, language music and history. Take part in daily activities and enjoy a delicious Mayan meal. Many people travel to the amazing Mayan temples, and get a historical background, but don’t actually interact with the Mayas, by joining our tour you will actually get a chance to do that and to get a deeper authentic experience into the Mayan peoples’ way of life.

 

 

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

This nature reserve was established in 1944 to protect and manage the native pine forest. It is estimated to cover an area of 106,352.5 acres. This reserve is full of natural wonders; we will visit three of the major ones in one day.

 

 

Rio Frio Cave

We will experience the spectacular Rio Frio Cave, its 65-foot arched entryway is the largest of any cave in Belize; it will leave you in awe. Huge stalactites hang from the massive cathedral-like vault, which is part of a cave system the Maya used to bury their dead. Large boulders, a beach area and a stream forming pools with cascading falls are all to be found in this cave.

 

 

Rio on Pools

As the name suggests, numerous small waterfalls cascade into connecting pools which the river has grinded away from large granite boulders. This is a natural swimming pool wonderland and it will surely provide you with a relaxing and enjoyable experience. The pools are all different sizes, so you can pick which one is your perfect match.

 

This photo is taken from a panoramic viewing area which also have restrooms and changing rooms.

 

Big Rock Falls

To visit this waterfall, we will walk down several wooden stairways plunging into the forest. We will arrive at the bottom to see the 150-foot beautiful Big Rock Falls. The fall has a small pool at the bottom of it, flowing into a bigger cenote that rushes over large rocks (hence, the name). This is a perfect spot for swimming, but if you do not want to swim, it is very nice and beautiful to walk on the boulders by the river.

 

Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve

This is oldest-known Mayan Archaeological site in the Belize River Valley, with a long settlement history beginning in the Early Pre-Classic period (1300-1000 B.C.). It has 8 interconnected plazas containing pyramids, temples, stelae, ballcourts, and elite residences, counting 34 structures so far detected. The site and surrounding area reached a peak population of 10-15,000 inhabitants during the Late Classic period (600-900 A.D.). The site was abandoned in the 9th century for unknown reasons. Cahal Pech is the perfect choice for us to get off the beaten path and have a more independent archeological experience. From the hilltop location, we will also enjoy panoramic vistas of San Ignacio and the Belize River Valley.

 

AJAW Chocolate & Crafts

At this place you will have a fun and educational experience. You will learn about the history of chocolate in the Mayan culture, how it’s grown and how to make Mayan chocolate using a traditional Mayan Stone to grind organic Cacao Bean into a Paste. We then mix the paste into a chocolate drink and add spices just like the ancient Mayans consume. You can also buy some of their chocolate products.

 

 

Green Iguana Conservation Project

Since 1996, a group of environmentalists have been at the forefront of conservation efforts for the threatened Green Iguana. An informational and educational exhibit has been designed to give visitors a closer look at this amazing reptile and learn how vital they are to the ecological balance of the river habitat. Here, visitors are given the opportunity to learn about the incubation, hatching, rearing, and releasing process of this species. The Green Iguana Conservation Project offers the Adopt an Iguana Program, which aims to raise funds for the Project and provide scholarships for local children. 

 

 

Guanacaste National Park

This is a relatively small National Park located in the center of Belize. The park’s relatively small size allows us to come face-to-face with the varied wildlife and lush vegetations at an amazingly short distance from the entrance gates. To enhance your enjoyment, the park boasts an education center with a gift shop, a beautifully, wooden observation deck overlooking the river, a refreshing swimming spot for any age and swimming experience.

 

 

 

Caye Caulker

We will take a boat to Caye Caulker from Belize City. After approx. 45 min on the water, we will arrive at this small limestone coral island in the Caribbean Sea, which is a part of a chain of islands forming the second largest reef in the world. We have specifically chosen this island for its laid-back atmosphere and avoiding the commercialism of other destinations such as the bigger island of Ambergris Caye. The main mode of transport is simply walking. Bicycles and golf carts are also common and can be rented. Caye Caulker measures about 5 miles by less than 1 mile. The town on the island is known by the name Caye Caulker Village with a population of 1,300 people, mostly Mestizo, Garifuna and Creole.

 

 

.

Caye Caulker Optional Activities (Not included in tour price)

In Caye Caulker you will have two days to do your own activities. We will help you find activities that suit your needs if you like, or you can also do nothing but relax and enjoy the island atmosphere. The number one activity, and what most people come to the Belizean islands for, is to explore the second largest barrier reef in world. This is best explored by a day long snorkeling boat tour. Your guide will try reserve a day tour with the only catamaran snorkeling boat. A $100 fee (2023 rate) includes all snorkeling equipment, drinking water, marine park entrance fees, lunch, fruits, sodas and rum punch. The boat goes to Hol Chan, Shark Alley and Coral Gardens. This boat is big enough so you can choose between being outside in the sun, or inside in the shade, and even if you don’t want to jump in the water, you can still have a nice day on the boat and see sharks, stingrays and other fish from the boat.

 

The Split

After Hurricane Hattie in 1961 struck Belize, the fishermen's hand-dug channel was widened which made it appear like the island was split in two which is now called North and South Caye Caulker. The locals eventually found the newly widened channel to be the perfect place to go for a swim and soon the area was being referred to as The Split.

 

The Split is now the heart of the island and with amazing music, drinks, and food from the restaurant at The Lazy Lizard Bar & Grill. This is a great place to spend the day, or a few hours. The Lazy Lizard that has excellent food and cold drinks. It is also a great place to snorkel for free. There is a dock for sunbathing and easy access to the water. There is also a fishing area for those that want to try their luck. Kayaks and paddle boards are available for rent. Our hotel will be approximately 10 minutes' walk from the Split.

 

 

Caye Caulker optional activities by price (2023 prices)

Swim by the Split or other places: Free

Sunset at the Split: Free or what you buy to eat or drink

Nature Trail, including world’s largest conch wall: Free

Stingray feeding by the Iguana Reef Inn: Free

Seahorse Reserve by the Iguana Reef Inn: Free

Caye Caulker Animal Shelter: Donations

Feed Tarpons: $2.50

Rent a bike: $2-8

Iguana Reef Inn Beach, use beach chairs. Cost: Buy a drink

Yoga: $10

Rent a kayak: $10-70

Sunset Sailing Tour: $45

Half day snorkeling tour: $45-50

Full day snorkeling tour: $100-110

Full day manatee snorkeling tour $110-120

The Blue Hole scenic flight: $225-500

 

PRACTICAL INFO

 

Belize

Size

8,867 sq. mi.

Population

400,031 (2021 est.)

Capital

Belmopan 2008 est. pop. 18,100

Country Phone Code

501

Electricity

110V, 60Hz US-type plugs

Currency

Fixed rate of Belize $2=US $1.

Government

Parliamentary democracy

Independence

September 21, 1981

Major Ethnic groups

Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo and Mayan

Religion

Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Mennonite, other Protestant, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist.

Languages

English (official), Creole, Spanish, Garifuna and Mayan

 

 

Accommodation

We will stay in 4 different comfortable 2-3-star hotels during the whole trip, your room will always have AC, a private bathroom and all places will have free Wifi.

 

Guides

You will have one English speaking tour coordinator joining you from Newark Airport and in Belize most of the places that we will visit you will have local Belizean guides.   

 

Food and Water 

Eating local is a big part of traveling and provides an important insight into local ways of life. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom you eat, we have chosen not to include most meals. This will also give you more budgeting flexibility. Belizean food is delicious, nutritious and varied and most places there usually are quite a few options of restaurants to choose from, but sometimes we will be in more rural areas where options will be more limited. A typical Belizean meal consists of rice, beans and some sort of meat. To avoid anyone getting sick from eating food, it is advised that you only eat cooked food.  

Fruits and vegetables are safe to eat in Belize, but it’s important to remember that water isn’t always safe to drink, and fruits and vegetables can make you sick if they were washed with contaminated water. If you buy fruit, wash it yourself with purified water, and make sure to carefully peel the skin. The same goes for vegetables. Do not eat salad from a restaurant, unless the restaurant explicitly states that they wash their raw vegetables in decontaminated water. It is always a good idea to bring an antacid (like Tums) with you. 

We don’t recommend drinking the tap water anywhere in Belize, even if some people say that it is safe to drink in Belize City and in San Ignacio. Only drink bottled, boiled water or soft drinks.

 

Be careful of fruit juices – they are often diluted with water. They can also be mixed with milk, which may be un-pasteurized. Ice cubes are typically made from tap water, so make sure to ask for your drink without ice.

 

Food included in the tour price

 

Day 1: Dinner

Day 2: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 3: None

Day 4: None

Day 5: Dinner

Day 6: Lunch

Day 7: None

Day 8: None

Day 9: None

 

Belize is generally less expensive than the US when it comes to buying food. You should estimate an additional $200 - $300 for meals that are not included in the tour price. Dependent on your eating habits, could be a bit less or a bit more.

 

Climate

Belize has a subtropical climate with a brisk prevailing wind from the Caribbean Sea. In April the average temperature is between 76 and 85 degrees. April is part of the dry season and on average gets the least amount of rain with approximately 1 inch.

 

Spending Money

You need to bring enough money to cover meals not included in the price ($200 - $300), drinks, tips, incidentals, and souvenirs. Be sure to bring cash, as many small local businesses don't accept credit cards.

The official currency of Belize is the Belize Dollar (BZD; symbol BZ$). The exchange rate is locked to the US dollar at a fixed rate of BZ $2 to US $1. You do not need to worry about changing your US dollars into local BZ dollars, US dollars are practically accepted everywhere. It is always advisable to bring a lot of small bills, and please make sure that they are not written on, torn, or ripped. 

 

Visa

If you are a US citizen, you will not be required to apply for and acquire a visa beforehand. Once you enter the country, you will be granted a free 30-day tourist visa. Your passport should be valid for up to six months from the date that you are flying back home again. This is very important; otherwise, you will not be allowed to enter the country.  We recommend that you also bring copies of all your important documents, and maybe even email them to yourself.  

 

Electricity/Plugs

Belize uses the same electricity 110 volts, 60 cycles AC as in the US, and plugs/outlets are also the same.

 

Vaccines

Belize does at this moment (June 2023) not require any vaccinations for entering the country, but the CDC does recommend some. CDC strongly recommends that you are up to date with your Covid-19 vaccine. Please consult with your doctor before leaving and please take your time and read more about the CDC’s recommendations here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/belize

 

 

Travel Health Insurance

We do require that you have a travel health insurance for this tour, to cover for medical emergencies. Cancellation/interruption insurance is optional. Check if your regular health insurance covers out of country, if so then you don’t need to purchase a separate insurance unless you want cancellation or interruptions to be covered as well. We can recommend www.insuremytrip.com or www.squaremouth.com (Hines Tours is not affiliated with this site in any form). Here you should be able to find a travel international medical health insurance for 9 days in Belize for about $25-35.

 

 

Security and Safety

While Belize is a relatively safe country, it never hurts to keep a careful eye on your belongings. Like many countries, pickpocketing and other petty crimes can be a problem, particularly in some areas of Belize City. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet worn close to your body or a money belt while traveling, for the safekeeping of your passport, credit cards, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home. Wearing jewelry and expensive watches will only attract attention. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. DO NOT leave any valuables in ANY hotel room, if available use safety boxes. You are solely responsible for your own valuables. We also recommend that you keep your cash in several different places on yourself. A lot of pickpocketing happens on public transportation, one good thing is that we will only be traveling in a private vehicle during the whole trip (with the exception of boat rides). But extra caution is advised when visiting markets etc.

The U.S. government does warn against visiting the southern part of Belize City, we will NOT be visiting this region.

 

 

Belize Suggested Packing List

BAGS: We recommend that you only bring a carry-on bag and a personal item. We will fly with United Airlines, you are allowed a carry-on bag of 9” x 14” x 22” and one personal item which must fit underneath the seat in front of you and be maximum 9” x 10” x 17”. Since we have limited space in our transportation vehicle, we suggest that you don’t bring more than that, especially since you only need to bring summer clothes. If you feel the need to bring a bigger bag to check in (up to 50 pounds) you will have to pay $35 extra each way. For your carry-on bag, please make sure that any liquids containers are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 ml). Furthermore, in Caye Caulker there are no paved roads, so you will have to carry all your luggage for about 5 minutes from the boat dock to our hotel.

 

DOCUMENTS

□  A valid passport, must be valid for 6 months after the return date

□  Health Insurance papers/card (your regular plan and/or supplemental travel health insurance plan)

□  Copies of any prescriptions (Make sure prescriptions include generic names. Bring prescriptions for medicines, eyeglasses/contacts, and other medical supplies)

 

CLOTHES

Comfortable loose summer active wear, we will probably experience temperatures from 76 to 85 degrees. 

□   Underclothes and socks

□   T-shirts

□   One sweater

□   Hiking pants

□   Shorts

□   2 Swimsuits

□   Hiking shoes/sneakers with good traction

□   Flip-flops

□   Water shoes or old sneakers for cave tubing

□   Rain gear

□   Sun hat

 

ELECTRONICS

□   Phone and charger

□   Camera, charger and maybe extra memory & battery

□   Flashlight

 

MEDICATION

□   Allergy medicine if needed

□   Pain relievers

□   Motion sickness medicine if needed

□   Anti diarrhea medicine

□   Mild laxative

□   Any prescribed medication

□   Small first aid kit, could include: hydrocortisone cream, antifungal and antibacterial ointments, antiseptic wound cleanser, aloe gel for sunburns, anti-itch gel for insect bites, band-aids/Bandages, disposable gloves, scissors and safety pins, cotton swabs, tweezers and eye drops

 

TOILETRIES

□   Toothbrush and toothpaste

□   Travel-sized lotion, shampoo, and body wash

□   Contact lens case and solution

□   Hand sanitizer

 

MISCELLANEOUS

□   Insect repellant (liquids in carry-on luggage are limited to 3.4 ounces, so maybe bring wipes)

□   Sunglasses and sunscreen

□   Earplugs

□   Towel

□   Small collapsible cooler bag

□   Cash and credit card

    

 

MULTI-DAY FLYING TOURS Cancellation Fees (Per Person)

30 days or more before departure - Loss of deposit

15 - 29 days before departure - 50% of tour price

14 days or less before departure - No refund or tour credit.

   

Hines Tours Privacy Policy       Call us at 646-403-5653

Copyright © 2005-2024 Hines Tours LLC. All rights Reserved