“The Tikal ruins alone are well-worth the trip however, throw wildlife sanctuaries, marine reserves and underground caves into the mix and you've got yourself one heck of a tour.”
Belize City | Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary | Guatemala | camp at Uaxactun | Tikal National Park | San Ignacio | Actun Tunichil Muknal caves | Maya Cocoa | Dangriga | see the Blue Hole en-route to Caye Caulker | Optional activities include: canoeing at Barton Creek caves, Scuba diving trips to the Belize Barrier Reef or visits to the community 'baboon' sanctuary |
Description of Belize small group adventure holiday
This thirteen day Belize adventure holiday, travelling with a small group and fully guided, packs a mighty punch when it comes to covering all things cultural, natural and absolutely beautiful in Belize. With an exciting bit of Guatemala thrown in for good measure.
For natural beauties, we start with the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the top birding spots in the country with nearly 300 species. We spend the night here, allowing you to wake up to a dawn chorus of birds in paradise. The next protected area on the itinerary is the St. Hermans Blue Hole National Park, where the main attractions are limestone wonders of St. Herman’s Cave and the swimming haven that is the Blue Hole.
In between these two stunning places we enjoy neighbouring Guatemala’s cultural heritage with visits to two fine Mayan civilisation sites, Uaxactun and Tikal. Both stunning in their own right and surrounded by tropical forest, they are some of the greats on the Mayan Trail. We also get a chance to visit and stay with the Uaxactun community, many of whom still lead traditional lives in the forests.
The last few days are spent in the magnificent blue waters of Belize, which boast over two hundred cayes, or small islands, formed by a gathering of sand on top of reefs. We spend time on one of the best known, Caye Caulker, a gateway for the spectacular Hol Chan Marine Reserve and where we enjoy some snorkelling, swimming and swooning over the plethora of fish, turtles, dolphins, nurse sharks, corals, seahorses and many more. Because Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world. Its beauty is limitless.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Slippery rocks and the occasional deluge mean waterproof shoes with a good grip are advisable as is an umbrella or good standard of waterproofs. Also, mozzi deterrent will certainly come in handy.
Small group. Average size 12. Minimum age 16.
Leisurely/Moderate. Snorkelling, camping and caving.
10 nights in standard en-suite hotels/lodges and 2 nights in fully-equipped campsites.
Accomm., transport, listed activities, tour leader throughout.
11 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners.
Single room supps available.
Small group holiday
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Belize small group adventure holiday
Accommodation and Meals: We spend 10 nights in a mixture of hotels and lodges and 2 nights in full-service camping. All the accommodation we use is of benefit to local people by providing employment opportunities in the region. The camping portion of the tour is particularly good for the Uaxactun community as this is the only tour which stays here. By sleeping, eating and taking a tour around the area, we offer members of the community an avenue of income which is alternative to the usual gathering and sale of forest products. Whilst the permanent lodgings are environmentally aware, by camping for part of the trip we really are reducing our carbon footprint for the whole trip. Where meals are provided, locally sourced ingredients will be used wherever possible-like freshly baked bread, eggs, exotic fruit and cold meats. Lunches and dinners are a good chance to support small businesses along the route; expect delicious barbequed meats with rice and beans, ceviche and grilled catch of the day.
Conservation: We offer an optional excursion to the Community Baboon Sanctuary, where entrance fees go towards supporting the conservation of endangered Black Howler Monkeys. This grass roots project is a reserve for the monkeys, providing them with 20 square miles of forest to roam freely in. It is estimated that there are now 2,000 Black Howler monkeys living in this area. There are also various opportunities for interaction with locals – during a kayaking excursion we will meet with a ranger from the Toledo Institute for Development and Education (TIDES) to learn about conservation work in the Toledo area. Profits from this excursion go towards conservation of natural resources in the area and community development.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Local Crafts and Culture: We visit a number of ruins, including Uaxactun and Tikal- which is nearly 20 square miles in size and surrounded by the dense jungles of Petén. We take a tour of both sites visiting the main temples, palaces, squares, tombs, residences and religious monuments. There is the opportunity to learn a lot about the ancient history and ways of life of the Mayan people and what these mean for locals today. Our tour of the Uaxactun community gives us the chance to interact with the people living there and to get a grasp of their culture which is so intertwined with the environment. Our guides will tell us about the various ways they make a living from the rainforest whilst protecting it for future generations. There are colourful handicraft stalls in several of the location we visit, selling woven baskets, hammocks, painted ceramics and carved, wooden items.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of Belize small group adventure holiday
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 24 Nov 2015 by Hilary Johnson
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Camping between a village and Mayan ruins. Snorkelling with turtles, rays and sharks.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Pack wet weather gear. It can really rain in Belize.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes. We used local cafes and tourism businesses. Several of the activities involved paying park fees to support natural and historical sites. Unfortunately we had to use bottled water but care was taken with disposal.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?