Belize is a naturalists’s paradise

On our Belize Private Journey, set out for world-class snorkeling from a private island, savor the splendor of Tikal, and enjoy an optional extension for hikes and exploration in the Maya Mountains.

Photo by Middle Photo: Ethan Daniels

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Belize and Tikal Private Journey route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4095  
Length: 7 days
Arrive: Belize City, Belize
Depart: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Lodging: 4 nights at Turneffe Island Lodge, 2 nights at La Lancha Lodge
Meals: All meals except 1 lunch included
Activity: Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Walking, Archaeology
Trip Level: Swimming, snorkeling, easy rainforest walks
2

Highlights

  • Amazing snorkeling adventures at Turneffe, a delightful lodge on its own private atoll
  • Tikal, one of the greatest Mayan archaeological sites in the world, with overnights at La Lancha Lodge
  • Optional hiking and Mayan discoveries at Chaa Creek Lodge in the Maya Mountains


The kids had a wonderful experience, as did I. This trip fit my family very well!Mike G.—Bedford Corners, NY

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Snorkel in the clear waters of the largest Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere and discover the towering Mayan temples of fabled Tikal. Enjoy overnights at Turneffe Island Lodge, with 12 guest rooms and 8 cabanas ideally situated a few minutes from the best snorkeling in the Caribbean, and La Lancha, Francis Ford Coppola’s charming ecolodge on Lake Peten Itza near the Tikal ruins. Our optional mid-trip 2- to 3-night extension to the Maya Mountains features The Lodge at Chaa Creek, voted onto the World’s Best list by Travel & Leisure readers. An additional post-trip extension to Guatemala explores the lovely highland town of Antigua, whose colonial center is a World Heritage Site, and the Mayan market village of Chichicastenango, and stunning Lake Atitlán.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Belize’s Barrier Reef

The 200-mile-long Belize Barrier Reef, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the natural wonders of the planet, its warm waters (80 degrees) teeming with intriguing marine life, including fascinating coral formations and hundreds of species of exotic fish. Instead of staying on the coast (with long boat rides to snorkeling sites), we’ve chosen wonderful accommodations at Turneffe Island Lodge, set on an idyllic private coral atoll right on the reef, where unbelievably rich snorkeling is just a 10-minute boat ride from the white-sand beaches. In these sheltered waters, many sites are perfect for novice and experienced snorkelers alike.

Days 2-4
Barrier Reef Snorkeling

From Turneffe Island Lodge—the sole accommodation on the entire island—you’ll venture out to snorkel among eagle rays, rainbow-hued parrotfish, black-and-yellow striped angelfish, sergeant majors, and a host of other jewel-bright fish. There’s also a chance of seeing hawksbill, loggerhead, or green sea turtles, playful dolphins, and flying fish. The waters are so extraordinarily clear that a look through your mask reveals a kaleidoscopic world of flamboyant corals in shades from deep purple to brilliant red. A stay at Turneffe also offers the opportunity to visit the legendary Blue Hole, a dive site discovered by Jacques Cousteau and an amazing marvel of nature, with its incredible walls and drop-offs. Additional activities include sea kayaking, a wonderful way to explore the shallow turquoise waters (no previous experience required), bone fishing, or beachcombing along the pristine beaches. At night you’ll dine with other guests on local Caribbean culinary delights like conch, fresh fish, and tropical fruits, then kick back to gaze at the brilliant star-filled sky and the moonlight reflecting on these magical waters.

Days 5-6
Tikal

Fly to Guatemala for a guided exploration of unforgettable Tikal, one of Central America’s most magnificent archaeological sites. Overnights are at Francis Ford Coppola's charming La Lancha Lodge. In the classic Maya city of Tikal, probably settled around 700 BC and mysteriously abandoned in 705 AD, ancient temple pyramids soar out of the lush rainforest canopy of an immense jungle reserve. You’ll feast your eyes on towering steep-sided limestone structures including the famous 144-foot-tall Temple of the Giant Jaguar, with its nine stories representing the nine layers of the Maya underworld, walk the steep central stairways of the pyramids, explore the ball courts and great plazas, listen to the howler monkeys and calls of birds (there are some 400 resident bird species in unbridled abundance), and marvel at the sheer scale of the setting. Today this site is protected within Parque Nacional Tikal, set on the edge of the huge Maya Biosphere Reserve, the largest tropical reserve in Central America. (Our optional mid-trip 2- or 3-night extension to Chaa Creek Lodge in Belize’s Maya Mountains begins on Day 5 and is followed by the excursion to Tikal.)

Day 7
Depart

Transfer to Flores then fly to Guatemala City and depart.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 2, Easy to Moderate, according to our trip rating system. Although the overall pace of this trip is relaxed and you are free to choose the activities you like, this is an active vacation. The shape you’re in is an important factor in your enjoyment of various activities.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

When to go

November to August

For our Private Journey trips, you choose your own group and your preferred dates—there are no set departure dates. Private Journeys are available to groups as few as two people or as large as you like. Contact us for availability, questions, or to book your adventure!

Trip Cost

Prices valid through October 31, 2014
$4095 per person, double occupancy
Single supplement: $950
Internal airfare: $160 (subject to change) (including Maya Mountains extension)*
Internal airfare: $360 (subject to change)
Dive upgrade at Turneffe: $450
Beach villa upgrade at Turneffe: $1125

Note: During the December holiday season, additional charges may apply. Please call for details.

*Due to travel logistics, the internal airfare is less expensive if you are taking the Maya Mountains Extension since you drive from Chaa Creek Lodge to La Lancha Lodge.

Prices are not guaranteed until services are confirmed.
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals except 1 lunch included
  • Airport transfers and transportation between lodges
  • Guided snorkeling outings at Turneffe
  • Guided snorkeling excursion to The Blue Hole from Turneffe, weather permitting
  • Guiding and entrance fees
  • Activities at all properties as described in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, scuba diving, rental of dive or snorkeling gear, massage and/or spa services, activities not described in this itinerary, any activities described as optional, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to guides and staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

More than 90 days prior to departure: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Turneffe Island Resort

Turneffe Island Resort

Days 1 to 4 (4 nights), Barrier Reef, Belize

Turneffe Island Resort's original lodge, built by Mennonite craftsmen in the 1960s, was recently remodeled to enhance the original “old ...
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La Lancha

La Lancha

Days 5 to 6 (2 nights), Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala

Developed by the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, La Lancha is a romantic hideaway perched on a hill under a canopy of trees overlooking Lake Peten ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Belize

Maya Mountains Mid-Trip Extension

Outdoor Adventuring at Chaa Creek

Archaeology, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Guatemala

Guatemala Highlands Extension

Antigua, Chichicastenango, and Lake Atitlan

Cultural Adventures
5 days  -  Level 1

Client Comments

The kids had a wonderful experience, as did I. This trip fit my family very well! Mike G., Bedford Corners, NY The trip was beyond wonderful. All 18 of us (all family) were happy and had a fabulous time. Muriel H., Louisville, KY
This was our second trip with Wilderness Travel’s Private Journeys and we really loved them both. Sharon M., Portland, OR