Belize: Reefs, Ruins, and Rainforests

World-Class Snorkeling and Mayan Temples

Belize: Reefs, Ruins, and Rainforests route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4795  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Belize City
Depart: Belize City
Lodging: 8 nights in hotels and lodges
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Snorkeling, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level: Rainforest hikes, nature walks, river swims, snorkeling


  • Discover the mysterious stone temples of Lamanai
  • Snorkel from Turneffe Island Resort on Belize’s Barrier Reef including the Blue Hole
  • Cave hiking, swimming, river floats, nature hikes in the Maya Mountains
  • Extend your journey to magnificent Tikal

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.


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.

How can one tiny country have such an amazing diversity of environments? We’ve created an adventure that explores them all, from the dazzling waters of the Barrier Reef to jungle-draped Mayan ruins. Boating out to Turneffe Atoll gives us phenomenal snorkeling and overnights at the only resort on an enchanting island encircled by white-sand beaches. We then glide down a jungle-lined river to Lamanai, where 10-story-high Mayan temples rise out of the tropical forest, and amid the nature reserves of the Maya Mountains, we explore a hidden Mayan ceremonial cave, ride a zip line, and float on a tropical river. At journey’s end, we can extend our adventure to experience mystical Tikal and its towering stone pyramids.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Turneffe Island Resort / Belize Barrier Reef

Feel a world apart on Turneffe Island, set in the heart of the Barrier Reef. Being out here on the reef makes all the difference, with quick access to world-class snorkeling over exquisite coral gardens including the amazing Blue Hole, discovered by Jacques Cousteau. Our resort, the only one on the island, has breezy Caribbean style and wonderful fresh cuisine.

Day 5-6
Lamanai Archaeological Reserve

We glide up the New River for a total change of environment, watching for birdlife, including flashy kingfishers, along the lush banks. At a bend in the river, the ruins of Lamanai rise straight out of the rainforest, and just beside it is our welcoming lodge, with howler monkeys scampering overhead. We explore the fascinating Lamanai ruins and enjoy discovering the wetlands by airboat, looking for birds, including huge jabiru storks, and the option of an evening excursion with researchers to tag crocodiles.

Day 7-9
Maya Mountains

Aerial views are fantastic on our private flight from Lamanai to the Maya Mountains. From Pook’s Hill Lodge, we swim and hike our way through Actun Tunichil Muknal, a unique riverside cavern system, with Mayan artifacts among the stalagmites and stalactites. Nature hikes, a zip line through the treetops, and a chance to float on the turquoise Caves Branch River fill out our adventurous days. Depart on Day 9 or join our extensions to Tikal or the Guatemala Highlands.

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

The trip is Level 2+, easy to moderate, according to our trip grading system, but for your own enjoyment of the trip, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition. We enjoy moderate nature hikes of two to three hours on several days (the exploration of Actun Tunichil Muknal is more challenging—an easier option will be offered), and there can be extended walking at the ruin sites, often involving steep stairs and rough, uneven surfaces. The zip line excursion is optional. On the Barrier Reef portion, both novice and experienced snorkelers will enjoy the snorkeling excursions.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Jan 3-11, 2015  Philip Burns
Feb 21-Mar 1, 2015
Nov 7-15, 2015

Trip Cost

Prices are for January 2015*
$4795 (9-12 members)
$4995 (5-8 members)
Single supplement: $1130
Internal airfare: $195 (subject to change)
*Please call for February and December 2015 pricing more on pricing

Extension Costs
Tikal Extension
   from: $795

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations as noted
  • All meals included
  • Sightseeing, tours, and airport transfers as indicated in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal flights, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, 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%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Minimum fee: None per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

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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Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Days 5 to 6 (2 nights), Belize

Set on the banks of a huge spring-fed lagoon, Lamanai Outpost Lodge enjoys an exclusive location right near the ruins of this ancient Maya city (a ...
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Pook’s Hill Lodge

Pook’s Hill Lodge

Days 7 to 8 (2 nights), Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, Belize

Pook’s Hill Lodge, set on the edge of a 9th century Maya complex, is located within a private 300-acre reserve of primary rainforest bordering ...
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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.

Philip Burns

Philip Burns graduated from college in his native Belize then decided that Trip Leading was the life for him in the beautiful country that he calls "a jewel." He entered Belize's official guide school, studying a variety of subjects from the ancient Maya to tropical ecosystems, with a special focus on ornithology and archaeology. He loves being "an ambassador" for the rich cultural and natural heritage of Belize. In the last five years, Philip has been featured in several travel shows on Belize and in 2006 he was named Guide of the Year by the Belize Tourism Board. The father of three boys, he enjoys bicycling in his free time.

Upcoming Trips:

Belize: Reefs, Ruins, and Rainforests, January 3-11, 2015

Client Testimonials:

Philip is very knowledgeable, loves his country and what he does—a true professional. Cecilia C., New York, NY
Belize and Tikal

Optional Extensions

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


Tikal Extension

Mystical Mayan Temples

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


Guatemala Highlands Extension

Antigua, Chichicastenango, and Lake Atitlan

Cultural Adventures
5 days  -  Level 1

Tikal Extension

Mystical Mayan Temples

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