Belize Holiday

From: $2,499

per person dbl occ

Dates: Dec-Dec - see all dates

Total Days: 8

Activity Level: 2

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Price:

2013

REI member: $2,499

Non-member: $2,750

Additional Fees

Forced single supplement: $300

Trip Dates:

2013

  • Dec 22–29 Sold out
  • Dec 28 – Jan 4 Sold out
Group Size: 4-20

Activity Level: 2

Activities:

  • Caving
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling

Accommodations:

Lodges and camping

Trip Highlights

  • Go on a Belize holiday excursion packed with kayaking, diving, and snorkeling
  • Take in breathtaking, picturesque views that melt your stress away
  • Explore the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal and the waters of Lighthouse Reef
  • Snorkel among vibrant tropical fish at the infamous Blue Hole

Celebrate a holiday season with all the splendors Belize has to offer! Only slightly larger than Massachusetts, this tiny country is big on diving and snorkeling amid brilliant scenery. From steamy jungles to beautiful atolls set in turquoise waters, we find ourselves soaking up the glorious natural wonders and rich cultural history of this laid-back country.

On this special holiday Belizean adventure, we explore the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal—the most spectacular Mayan caves—and kayak and snorkel on Lighthouse Reef Atoll's famous "Blue Hole," 50 miles off the shore of mainland Belize.

Join us on this special holiday adventure designed especially for REI members!

REI Adventures shares non-exclusive departures with our travel partner, Island Expeditions Co. Extend your trip with our 3-day Maya World extension for unforgettable birding and wildlife viewing.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Soak up the sun and warm tropical breezes of Belize.
  • Day 2 - Explore the Mayan underworld with a visit to Actun Tunichil Muknal cave.
  • Days 3-4 - Kayak, snorkel, and dive in the clear waters at Lighthouse Reef.
  • Day 5 - Discover Blue Hole, made famous by explorer Jacques Cousteau.
  • Day 6 - Paddle, snorkel, or kayak near our luxury camp on Halfmoon Caye.
  • Day 7 - Snorkel, beach comb, or simply relax in a hammock.
  • Day 8 - Depart Belize City for flights home.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Soak up the sun and warm tropical breezes of Belize.

    Your trip begins in Belize City, Belize. Your exact itinerary can be worked out with a member of the REI Adventures air department. A group transfer from the Belize City airport to San Ignacio, our destination for the next two days, will be provided. Driving time is approximately 2 hours. San Ignacio is in the western part of Belize and is situated on the banks of the Macal and Mopan rivers. Full of vibrant Belizean cultures like Mestizo, Creole and Mayan, San Ignacio is the heart and capital of the Cayo District. The Cayo District is known for its unspoiled mountain terrain, waterfalls, caves, colorful parrots, toucans and other exotic flora and fauna. After checking into our accommodations, we'll enjoy our first Belizean meal. Afterwards, we'll explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech in the evening. The ruins of Cahal Pech, sit on top of a hill and overlook the city of San Ignacio. The ruins date back to 900BC when it was a city of some importance. The site consists of 34 buildings with several plazas and pyramids. Dinner included.

  • Day 2 - Explore the Mayan underworld with a visit to Actun Tunichil Muknal cave.

    Today, we'll start with a hearty breakfast at our hotel before transferring to the trailhead of our cave expedition which is about 45 minutes away. A short hike through the jungle brings us to the entrance of this famous river cave. Here, the rainforest covers the land and the ancient traditions of the Maya are still strong. We'll descend into the Actun Tunichil Caves to explore underground rivers, and astounding burial chambers, with pottery, stone tools and carved altars that have lain as is, for thousands of years. Lunch will be taken at the exit of the cave before returning to our lodge in San Ignacio. You'll have time to explore the town tonight. The streets are walkable and traffic is light. Most everything is about a 5 minute walk from downtown. Tonight's dinner will be on your own. Breakfast and lunch included.

  • Days 3-4 - Kayak, snorkel, and dive in the clear waters at Lighthouse Reef.

    Get ready to see a completely different view of Belize today. After breakfast, we'll load up and head east in order to board our speed boat that will take us to Half Moon Caye and our basecamp for the next several nights.

    Due to its isolation from the mainland, the waters of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are exceptionally clear, with inspiring scenery and a fabulously rich reef system that offers some of the best kayaking, snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean. To begin, the guides provide instruction, teaching the fundamentals of sea kayaking, snorkeling and safety in the tropics.

    Over the next few days we have many options to explore, including a shipwreck that looms just north of the caye. In 1971, a ship named the Ermlund lost power during a storm and was deposited on the reef by a large wave. This 4000 ton rusted wreck sits silent as a landmark and is one of many shipwrecks in the area that serve as a constant reminder of the hazards of navigating these waters. We also have ample opportunities to learn from our guides about the marine reef ecology and the island's mangrove and interior forest habitat that spread over the park's 45 acres. Many species of birds nest on the island, including a 4,000 red-footed booby colony for which the Audubon Society has built a series of viewing platforms to intimately observe the many nesting sites. And, of course, we always have the option of hanging out in a hammock with a good book and a cold drink! All meals included.

  • Day 5 - Discover Blue Hole, made famous by explorer Jacques Cousteau.

    The "aquarium" is today's big adventure. We pack a hearty lunch and our snorkel gear in our kayaks and paddle with motor support. This dive spot is known for it's profusion of fish and towering coral formations. We return home, stopping at the Halfmoon Wall for a spectacular drift snorkel over the undersea cliff of the atoll. All meals included.

  • Day 6 - Paddle, snorkel, or kayak near our luxury camp on Halfmoon Caye.

    Today, we paddle along the protected waters of the southern reef to Long Caye where we have a chance to snorkel some of the atoll's best patch reefs. After a full day of exploring, we return just in time for a wonderful seafood dinner prepared by our cooks. All meals included.

  • Day 7 - Snorkel, beach comb, or simply relax in a hammock.

    For our last morning at Lighthouse, the choice is yours. Don a mask, snorkel and fins for a visit to a favorite patch reef, enjoy walking the island trails, or beach comb along the island beaches before the motor charter arrives to pick us up for the return boat trip back to the mainland. We transfer to our hotel in Belize where we can relax by the pool and recount the highlights of the past week. Dinner on your own this evening.

  • Day 8 - Depart Belize City for flights home.

    Breakfast and airport transfer are on your own today. Or choose to extend your visit with the Maya World three-day extension. This short extension combines an exploration of Mayan ruins with a stay at a waterfront lodge in Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. Crooked Tree provides a special opportunity for viewing, close at hand, the astounding diversity of birds and wildlife for which Belize is renowned.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Child Discount

Not applicable for holiday departures. Minimum age for children is 8 years old.

Not Included

Airfare to Belize, transfer from Belize City to airport; departure taxes; guide gratuities; items of a personal nature; dive gear & scuba diving fees; excess baggage charges or insurance of any kind.

Payment and Cancellation Policy

Full payment is due at 90 days prior to the departure date. A special cancellation policy applies to all Belize holiday trips. Please note that the holiday departures cancellation policy is more strict than REI Adventures’ standard policy. Listed are the cancellation and penalties timeframe:
91+ days prior to departure – $400
61 to 90 days – 50% of trip cost
31 to 60 days – 75% of trip cost
0 to 30 days – 100% of trip cost

 

Qualifications

This trip is rated as Easy Active [2]. It is suitable for people of all ages who enjoy an active, adventurous, and educational vacation. We provide thorough expert skills instruction during our trips—no previous experience is needed to participate.

Weather

The climate of Belize is sub-tropical. Although we will be traveling during the dry season, the infrequent "northerly" can blow down from the Gulf of Mexico, bringing with it cooler temperatures and rain. Inland conditions can change quickly with afternoon thunderstorms and heavy rainfall commonly occurring. Typically, temperatures range from 70 - 100° F with high humidity during the day, dropping at night to 70 - 80°F. From December to May, conditions are usually clear, sunny and warm. December is generally cooler.

Price Includes

All accommodations; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary; airport transfer from Belize airport; transportation within Belize; local English-speaking guides; kayaks and gear (life vests, paddles, dry bags, etc.); Blue Hole fees; cave entry fees; government taxes.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement as noted. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee, which is one-half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are only two single rooms available on each departure.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Belize Holiday Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Kayaks and paddling gear (for sea and river)
  • Tents and bedding
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline itinerary and confirmation
Luggage
  • Duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase (wheels and retractable handle are fine) sturdy and large enough to hold clothing and gear
  • Passport security pouch or belt
  • Daypack
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks
Outerwear
  • Waterproof, breathable rain jacket
Footwear
  • Sport sandals for kayaking and caving – toe protection is recommended
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring ruins and wildlife viewing
Clothing
  • Lightweight fleece or wool sweater
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirt(s), quick-dry
  • Hiking shorts, quick-dry
  • Hiking pants, quick-dry
  • Hiking socks
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat
  • Bandana
Kayaking Accessories
  • Small personal dry bag for camera, personal items, etc. (10 lt.)
Travel Accessories
  • Mask, fins, snorkel
  • Water bottles, 1-quart size or hydration pack
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sunblock and lip balm
  • Insect repellent (20-100% Deet)
  • Caladryl or some anti-itch lotion to ease bug bites
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Toiletry kit (please only biodegradable soaps and shampoos)
  • Earplugs
  • Hand sanitizer gel
  • Watch with alarm or travel alarm
  • Headlamp/flashlight with extra batteries
  • Beach and/or bath towel
  • 2-3 garbage bags –serves as extra water-proofing & keeps wet gear separate from dry
Optional Accessories
  • Camera, memory cards, spare batteries & charger
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Small binoculars
  • Field guides
  • Laundry detergent for hand washing /universal sink stopper
  • Handy wipes
  • Ziploc bags for easy storage
  • Favorite energy snacks and drink mixes
  • Paddling gloves
  • Mesh bag for snorkel gear
  • Fishing rod and tackle
  • Wet suit (water temperatures in Dec. and Jan. can be cool)
  • Foot powder (for shedding sand after your feet have been wet all day)
  • Aquasocks

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, hiking boots, a pair of shorts/shirt/fleece top/sandals and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
  • Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
  • Bring clothing that is light in weight and color, which ventilates and protects you from the sun. It is always good to have a lightweight, long-sleeve fleece or synthetic top, especially for the evenings.
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
  • Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
  • Plastic bags are the key to keeping clothing and gear dry. Use Ziploc bags to keep wet clothes separate from dry clothes.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, use a safety cord and bring an extra pair if possible. Contact lens wearers should also bring an extra set, or bring eyeglasses for a backup.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresBelize Holiday
 
4.7

(based on 3 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Guides (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Avid adventurer (3)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • I liked the itinerary (3)

      Reviewed by 3 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-3

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      5.0

      Belize is Unbelizeable!

      By Pat from Portland

      from Portland OR

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      Pros

      • Activity Level
      • Camp Food Was A Highlight
      • Food
      • Guides
      • The Guides Were Amazing
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Belize Holiday:

          The guides were not aware that the Blue Hole was included on the trip. They tried to arrange it, but couldn't fit it in. Instead we substituted a great day at Half Moon snorkeling by the wall and included a half day of fishing for all. The barracuda we caught was quickly grilled for us to enjoy. In the end, we were all happy!

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • We had always wanted to visit the amazing reef in Belize.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • The thoughtfulness of the guides and the amazing natural beauty of the reef islands.
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • The activity level is clearly a 3+. Climbing in the caves was much more rigorous than I had imagined, but not to be missed! Bring a wet suit top for the cave...it gets chilly in cave water for 5 hours.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Great trip, except if you dive

          By SuburbanCowgirl

          from Bellmore, NY

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Site Member

          Pros

          • Accommodations
          • Activity Level
          • Food
          • Guides

          Cons

          • Bad Last Nite Location
          • Diving Option Missing

          Best Uses

            Comments about REI Adventures Belize Holiday:

            The food was amazing, the guides were great, and the activity level was as high or low as people wanted. Some were afraid of their own shadow and received a lot of personal attention while others were advanced-level swimmers and kayakers and were able to do their own things.

            If you're looking to take advantage of the optional diving package that REI told several of our group members would be available during this trip, DO NOT TAKE THIS TRIP. DIVING WAS NOT OFFERED, AND WE WEREN'T TOLD THAT UNTIL WE WERE ON THE UNINHABITED ISLAND AND COULDN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I went to Belize to dive the Blue Hole, and was specifically told by REI that I SHOULD NOT book beforehand and that everything could be booked on-site. Not true.

            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
            • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
            • Why did you choose this trip?:
            • I wanted a trip to Belize over Christmas week that would include both inland and coastal activities. REI's trip was the cheapest, and when I booked, this was their only available trip during that time.
            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
            • ATM cave, a night trip to Cahal Pech ruins, Christmas Eve in San Ignacio, night snorkeling in Half Moon Caye.
            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
            • If you're looking to take advantage of the optional diving package that REI told several of our group members would be available during this trip, DO NOT TAKE THIS TRIP. DIVING WAS NOT OFFERED, AND WE WEREN'T TOLD THAT UNTIL WE WERE ON THE UNINHABITED ISLAND AND COULDN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

            (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Exceeds expectations

            By KjWhal

            from San Diego

            About Me Avid Adventurer

            See all my reviews

            Pros

            • Exceeded Expectations
            • Group Camaraderie
            • Guides
            • Well Organized Itinerary

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about REI Adventures Belize Holiday:

                The itinerary is well planned, but consider staying an extra day or two and arranging extra activities

                • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                • Active Adventures, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                • The many opportunities available for snorkeling / kayaking at all times of the day, and the enthusiam of the guides in making your stay in their country everything you want it to be

                Displaying reviews 1-3

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                Maya World Extension

                Activity: Wildlife viewing

                Want more of Belize? The Maya World Extension is a great compliment to your Belize adventure. It provides a unique opportunity to see parts of the Mayan world that you may not experience. The extension can be added on before or after your island trip.

                Highlights include:

                • Exploring the Mayan city of Lamanai which was occupied for over 3,000 years and is one of the most charming of all Mayan sites in Belize. Current residents include howler monkeys and toucans.
                • Boating through the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary which provides a special opportunity for viewing, close at hand, the astounding diversity of birds and wildlife for which Belize is renowned.
                • Visiting the Mayan site of Altun-Ha and seeing the 54' high "Temple of the Masonry Altars".
                • Finish your day star gazing from the patio deck of your comfortable Belizean lodge located on the shores of the Crooked Tree Lagoon.

                Days: 3

                Price: from $649 per person

                Hide Details

                Maya World Sample Itinerary

                Sample Itinerary

                Note: For trip members who are doing this extension at the end of your Belize tour, your trip guide will advise you of the meeting time and place in Belize City.

                Day 1: For those beginning their Belize adventure with the Maya World Extension, please arrive at the Belize International Airport by 4 p.m. today. You will be met by a Bird's Eye View Lodge representative and transferred to the Birds Eye View Lodge, in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. After checking into our accommodations we have a chance to meet our fellow travelers, explore the nearby Creole village and settle into the rhythm of 'Belize Time'.

                Meals: Dinner

                Day 2: After a nice breakfast the group departs for the Mayan Ruins of Lamanai. This day of exploration includes a complete guided tour, visiting the many temples, plazas, palaces, and museums within the park boundaries.

                Once we have had a chance to tour the ruins, we depart Lamanai by boat for a scenic ride into the Crooked Tree area where we have tremendous birding and wildlife opportunities: Iguana, Parrot, Toucan and even Morlet's Crocodile can be seen along the banks of the New River Lagoon. Upon arriving on the shore, we transfer overland for 45 minutes to Crooked Tree Village. We overnight at Birds Eye View Lodge, along the banks of the Crooked Tree Lagoon.

                Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

                Day 3: With an early morning coffee and binoculars in hand, we enjoy the waking wilderness and many hundreds of birds feeding along the shores of the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary Lagoons. The protected area was created in 1984 primarily to preserve resident and migratory birds, and consists of a network of inland lagoons, swamps and waterways that shelter one of the world's largest flying birds, the jabiru (jabiru mycteria.). After breakfast we enjoy a morning boat tour in the lagoons. We'll return to the lodge for lunch. Afterwards, we'll have time to relax and gather our bags before departing to the Mayan site of Altun Ha. Considered one of the major Mayan ceremonial centers of Belize, Altun Ha also functioned as an important trading center between the interior and the Caribbean Sea during the classic period (250-900 AD). However, Altun Ha has been dated as far back as 600 BC. Within the site, there are more than 275 structures and there are up to 250 to 300 unexcavated mounds..

                We return to Belize City around 4:00 pm. Those that have done their Mayan Extension at the beginning of their program in Belize will continue from here to their first night accommodations. For those travelers that are doing their Maya Extension at the end of their Belize tour you will be dropped off at the Belize International Airport or the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City to continue with your independent travels. Arrangements can be made to take flights out of Belize City by 2:00pm for these guests.

                Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

                2013/2014 Price

                REI Member: $649 double occupancy; $799 single occupancy.

                Prices Include

                Meals from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3, accommodations, transfers and tours described in the itinerary; professional guiding services.

                Not Included

                Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; items of a personal nature; gratuities; insurance of any kind; international flights & airport departure tax; extra costs due to late arrivals and other circumstances beyond our control.

                Single Travelers

                All single travelers must pay the single rate.

                Accommodations

                On the nights of Day 1 and Day 2, we will be staying at Birds Eye View Lodge, situated on the water's edge of the Crooked Tree Lagoon. This comfortable Belizean-style hotel offers private baths and lakeside views. The rooftop deck and bar atop the lodge is a perfect place to catch the evening breeze and reminisce over your recent discoveries.

                Payment and Cancellation Policy

                Full payment is due 60 days prior to departure. The following change and cancel fees apply:

                31 to 60 days – 50% of trip cost

                0 to 30 days – 100% of trip cost

                Qualifications

                This trip is rated Easy Active [2]. It is suitable for people of all ages who enjoy an active, adventurous, and educational vacation. We provide thorough expert skills instruction during our trips—no previous experience is needed to participate.

                Keep in mind that although this is a van-escorted and boat-oriented trip, you will be hiking a fair amount each day in warm, humid conditions. Also for those that choose, climbing the Mayan temples can be steep. Engaging in walking, running and aerobics for cardio-vascular fitness are good ways to be in shape for this trip.

                Days: 3

                Price: from $649 per person

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