WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT ON THIS ADVENTURE
Hike across San Ignacio to Cahal Pech Maya Ruins. Tour the grounds with a local archaeologist, and check out the active digs currently under excavation on site.
Meet up with a Rosa, a local cafe owner and lifelong resident for a tour of the outdoor market. Afterwards families will learn to cook tortillas and tacos at Rosa’s restaurant.
Take chicken bus ride bus outside of town to San Antonio and onwards to the Green Hills Butterfly Ranch. Families witness the many stages of butterfly lifecycle, learn about the process of shipping chrysalis internationally and walk through the butterfly enclosure to meet many butterfly species face to face. Afterwards, the group hikes through the to learn about the reforesting mission and impact of the butterfly farm and how to bring a rainforest back to life.
A jungle hike with survivalist guide teaches us about local fruit trees, medicinal plants, and how to build a shelter and make fire in the wilderness. Afterwards, we travel to the nearby Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve, where families gear up with helmets, waterproof headlamps, and inner tubes. After an easy hike the group floats down the river and through the cave systems, learning about the geology, ancient history and religious significance of the limestone rocks.
Ivy, owner and head chef of restaurant Authentic Flavors leads us in the Garifuna cooking tradition. She explains the origins of her Caribbean culture and of her recipes. Families will learn how to prepare a traditional Garifuna meal – which we enjoy eating together in the open air seating of the balcony restaurant.
Travel by sailboat on an island-hopping adventure to access the more remote parts of Belize’s reef and experience some of her best snorkeling and fishing areas.
During the day the sailboat will gently cruise through Belize’s crystal clear waters stopping to snorkel at least twice each day. For avid or curious fisherman, you can trawl off the boats, spin cast on the islands and give spear fishing a try.
In the evenings, families will tent camp on one of the islands with all the needed equipment provided.
All meals are prepared fresh by a chef on board for the entire sailing trip.
After a short walk across the island, we meet up with the guides from Reef Friendly Tours to be fitted for our snorkeling gear. On a small private boat we ride to the Shark Ray Alley in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve just off the coast of Caye Caulker. When the boat pulls up, it is surrounded by nurse sharks and sting rays which we are able to snorkel alongside. The guides explain how damaging tourism practices have lead to the destruction of the marine ecosystem and share their sustainable approaches for how to best experience the reef and its wildlife.
Take a short boat ride to the northern tip of Caye Caulker, our way into the Forest Reserve. The mangrove ecosystem is flourishing here. Our expert naturalist guide leads the group through the reserve as he educates us on the local flora and fauna, including the mangroves, the many different species of birds, and crocodiles.
Enjoy a relaxing boat ride back while taking in the sunset from the water.
Take a three hour canoe trip down the Sibun River with a guide. Launch off sandy river banks to navigate through the riparian forest bordering the river. This is also a great birdwatching opportunity, and wildlife such as iguanas, monkeys, hawks, and even crocodiles are sometimes spotted.
Take in a nocturnal tropical wildlife experience, learning about the natural history of native species when they are at their most active, guided by zookeepers.
We choose to stay in modest guesthouses, owned and operated by Belizeans. Families can expect rustic yet clean quarters, similar to a hostel standard, but welcoming of children.
In San Ignacio, families will be staying in cabins at Mana Kai, a short walk from the center of town. Each cabin has multiple beds, a private bathroom, fans, and a front patio that faces an open field ready for play. There is a sheltered community space with hammocks and chairs for gathering and relaxing. From the gates of Mana Kai it is a two minute walk to the bakery, or five minute walk to the market or central park.
At Caye Caulker we will stay in private rooms at the locally-owned Jan’s Hotel – a fenced-in pair of open-style buildings on the sandy main road, directly across from the sandy shore. Enjoy a great view from the hotel patio or step out to play in the sand, relax under the trees, splash in the water, and enjoy easy access to town.
During the sailing trip, families will be tent camping on the small islands we reach at the end of each day. Tents, sleeping mats and bedding will be provided.
At the Belize Zoo Lodge & Tropical Education Center each family will have their own cabana with beds and linens, and access to nearby shared showers and bathroom facilities. The Lodge has a shared dining area, a sheltered swimming pool, and a nearby nature trail.