Belize and Guatemala
A Maya Ecological Adventure. January 10-19, 2018
Join Robert and Doreen Stelton, reigniting old trails they have traveled, amongst the many jungle clad ruins of Belize and Guatemala. More have been excavated and monuments have been deciphered. Local guides have the latest news. Small boats will deliver us to rustic lodges and other fun activities will be available. Bring ear plugs to mask the bird and monkey calls in the morning. $2,142.00 PP. Single supplement, $450.00
Day 1: Tues Jan 9 or Wed Jan 10: Meet in Belize City at the appointed time (Chicagoans overnight Miami and arrive 12:50 pm) to travel on the Western Highway to San Ignacio to the small friendly Rolson Hotel, for our overnight, with outside dining and a pool. We will stop at the Belize Zoo, if time allows. The hotel will assist setting up set up our activities. (D)
Day 2: Thu Jan 11: After a hearty Belizean breakfast of your choice, we will depart for a tour of Cahal Pech. Ceramic pieces from as early as 1200 BC have been uncovered here. So far, 34 structures have been excavated, including a ball court and an elite house. We will stop for a cool drink at the San Ignacio Market for lunch there or in town. The afternoon is free for shopping, the Iguana conservatory, chocolate making or to opt for a tour of Xunantunich by ferry across a small body of water to the site with unique curvy decorations a bit of ancient graffiti and a very high pyramid. You might prefer to do Xunantunich tomorrow. Have dinner at your hotel or in town. Overnight Rolson Hotel. (B, L)
Day 3: Fri Jan 12: Today is a free day to explore San Ignacio or you may wish to visit El Pilar, a very large site that is interesting because it still being uncovered. The 4x4 ride into the site is over rough terrain and adds costs, depending on the number of riders. You might opt to visit a sustainable farm with stables and ruins on the property. Or you could visit a butterfly farm, a contemporary Garcia Sisters Maya Art Museum, or botanical gardens. Or do Xunantunich this day. All are available by short taxi rides ($2 each) and guides (share $30 cost) are available at the sites. Rolson Hotel. (B)
Day 4: Sat Jan 13: Today is the day to opt for the tour to fascinating Caracol if this is what you came to Belize to see. A main high pyramid houses a palace and 3 temples. Continuous investigations have revealed a dramatic history of dynasties and the so-called “star wars’ with Tikal and Naranjo. Together with Calakmul, they defeated and ruled over Tikal for 100 years. The tour involves scheduled entries and return visiting with your vehicle joining a caravan. It may be pricy ($50), but depends on the number of persons and negotiations. Entry, lunch and a dip in a pool, near a waterfall are included. There are other options after Caracol in Benque Viejo Del Carmen about 10 miles from San Ignacio, such as a pontoon trip, an Art Park in a jungle and a small museum. Overnight Rolson Hotel. (B)
Day 5: Sun Jan 13: Pack your bag, keeping your passport handy, because today we head for the Guatemala border and depart for Tikal and a tour that includes lunch on the site. Passing through small towns on our way to the turn off for El Sombrero Eco lodge, our lodging for the next 3 nights, on Lake Yaxha where we will meet Gabriella, an Italian woman who loved this place, and stayed to become owner and chef. We will dine and enjoy the sunset over the lake. (B, L, D).
Day 6: Mon Jan 15: After a hearty breakfast, we will cross the lake to Mayan Topoxte where work is ongoing. You can google it. We return to our lodge for lunch. If you are feeling energetic you can visit another site across the lake (it is optional), Yaxha. This is a large rugged site. The deck of the lodge usually provokes interesting discussions after a satisfying dinner. (B, L, D).
Day 7: Tue Jan 16: Today there are a couple of possibilities; the sites of Nakum and Naranjo may be accessible. If you did not do Yaxha, you could do it today. Or you may enjoy a jungle walk, observe crocodiles, or a free day to soak in the sounds and beauty of nature. (B, L, D).
Day 8: Wed Jan 17: Wed: On the road again! Today we are on the road again, heading back across the border and on to the Western Highway to the Lamanai Outpost Lodge on the Lamanai River, after an hour speedboat ride (B, L, D).
Day 9: Thu Jan 18: This morning we will tour the museum and site of Lamanai. In the afternoon you may decide which of the 3 remaining optionals you will choose. There is a sunset or a morning sunrise cruise, a jungle medicine walk, or a canoe adventure or perhaps more choices. Plan something for this afternoon. At our last night dinner we will take group pictures, raise a glass to the Maya, and exchange addresses. Overnight Lamanai Outpost Lodge. (B, L, D).
Day 10: Fri Jan 19. We will depart for the Belize City airport and our afternoon flight home, unless we wish to have an extension to Ambergris Caye. (Ramon’s Village Hotel). (B).