Summary : Embark on a unique land-and-sea expedition to explore some of the 65 species of stony coral and 500 species of fish on the Belize Barrier Reef. Snorkel, kayak, and stand up paddleboard over colorful reefs through turquoise lagoons. Then, venture to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal. See temples overgrown with tropical rain forest and explore the stories and archaeological sites of these stone ruins swathed in rainforest and teeming with wildlife. This unique land-and-sea expedition will enable you to venture into the jungles of Guatemala with local experts to discover the spectacular temples and pyramids of both Tikal and Yaxha; spot rainbow-colored fish, turtles, and rays while snorkeling or diving the corals of the Belize Barrier Reef—one of the largest barrier reef systems in the world; and explore Belize’s coastal rivers by Zodiac, to spot toucans, green iguanas, and other wildlife.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
- Free round-trip airfare Miami/Guatemala City, or $350 air credit
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$5,760 to $9,270
Arrive in Guatemala City and connect to your charter flight to Puerto Barrios. Transfer to Puerto Santo Tomas, where you’ll embark National Geographic Quest.
Board Zodiacs this morning and explore one of Belize’s coastal rivers in search of toucans, green iguanas, and other wildlife.
This afternoon, anchor near one of the cayes within Laughing Bird Caye National Park. Snorkel, kayak, or try stand up paddleboarding. Certified scuba divers may opt to join a reef dive (at an additional cost).
Spanning more than 200 miles, the Belize Barrier Reef offers countless opportunities for exploration by ship and ashore on one of the many cayes. Don mask, fins, and snorkel or paddle a kayak on a turquoise lagoon. Conditions permitting, have a beach barbecue lunch or dinner ashore.
Devote your morning to exploring Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, internationally recognized as the world’s first jaguar reserve. Hike one of the many nature trails with your naturalists, photograph colorful tropical plants, scan the forest for its abundant birdlife, and be on the lookout for the tracks of deer, tapirs, wild cats, and other wildlife. Afterward, stop at a traditional Mayan handicraft center.
This afternoon, take a Zodiac cruise along the mangrove channels of one of Belize’s coastal rivers. Internationally acclaimed drumming group, The Garifuna Collective, performs this evening.
Sail to Lighthouse Reef and go snorkeling, paddleboarding, diving, or kayaking inside its fringing reef. The shallow lagoon is dotted with hundreds of coral patches that harbor parrotfish, butterflyfish, octopus, and other marine species.
Disembark this morning for your charter flight to Flores. Lunch at a picturesque restaurant overlooking Lake Petén Itza, before transferring to the Hotel Camino Real Tikal. Check-in on arrival, then take an optional birdwatching walk with your naturalists, or a sunset boat ride on the lake.
NOTE: You may be traveling with guests who are on the shorter, 6-day itinerary, who will be finishing their trip today.
Today is dedicated to exploring Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. Delve deep into Maya history and architecture as you explore the many temples, including Temple I, which rises 154 feet from the jungle floor, and the North and South Acropolis.
Visit Yaxha, the third largest ruin in the Maya world, beautifully situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxha Lake. One of the few Mayan sites still known by its Mayan name, “green waters”, Yaxha is spread out over nine plazas. This little-visited site contains hundreds of structures, dozens of stelae, multiple pyramid temples and ball courts. Stop at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant for lunch today.
End your journey in Flores and take your charter flight to Guatemala City (at an additional cost) to connect with international flights home. You may opt-out of this flight should you choose to spend more time in Flores or make independent arrangements to Guatemala City.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Please note, you may be traveling with guests who are on the shorter, 6-day itinerary, who will be finishing their trip in Puerto Santo Tomas.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Belize is not a destination for novice or inexperienced divers. This option is available to intermediate to advanced open water divers. All divers must have an open water certification by an internationally recognized dive association (i.e. PADI, NAUI) and have proof of certification with them in Belize. In addition, all divers must have logged 25 lifetime dives (preferably 30+). If you have not logged a dive within the last year, a refresher course is mandatory. Guests will be diving with a third-party operator, and will not dive from the Quest. Mask, snorkels, fins, and shorty wetsuits will be provided for all guests. Guests will complete a Dive Form to sign up in advance. If you are over 55 years of age and have any of the health problems detailed in the SCUBA Diving Form, and have not dived within the last six months, you will be required to provide a medical certificate. Please inquire for more information. All details are subject to change without notice.
Optional Post-Trip Extension: Antigua, Guatemala
Explore the picturesque historic city of Antigua, Guatemala, with its stunning backdrop of Volcán Pacaya. Spend two nights at the beautiful Camino Real Antigua Hotel. Visit a Guatemalan coffee plantation. Peruse the exhibits of one of Guatemala’s finest museums. From $790 per person (2 Days). Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Transfers between airport and ship if booked on group flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding; video chronicle of your trip; gear on loan (snorkeling gear and wetsuit); all meals onboard ship; soft drinks onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; individual transfers; extensions; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, internet, etc.; scuba diving and gear rental; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Lindblad Expeditions