Day 1: Our day begins with a motor coach from Springfield, Illinois to Lambert International Airport in St. Louis followed by an early morning flight to Houston, Texas and then on the Philip SW Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize. Once in Belize, we will be greeted by the friendly, helpful staff of the Sibun Education and Adventure Center and shuttled to our lodgings at Sibun Education and Adventure Center in Belmopan, Belize. We will arrive in time to watch the sunset as we enjoy our first evening in the tropics while dining on the veranda.
Day 2: We will awaken to the sounds of the rainforest coming to life in the early morning hours. A hearty Belizean breakfast will precede a hike into the jungle to explore the diversity of plant and animal life that can only be found in the tropical rainforests. We will return to Sibun for a well-deserved lunch and a short rest. Our afternoon adventure will start with a short bus trip upstream on the Sibun River. We will then board our inner tube and begin a relaxing float trip downstream. While floating, we will be able to view the rainforest from a new perspective. We will also have the opportunity to learn about the watershed ecology of the rainforest and river. Our tubing will take us back to the grounds of the Sibun Education and Adventure Center where we will disembark for dinner.
Day 3: An early morning birding hike will provide a fantastic opportunity to view many rare and unique neotropical birds. After a leisurely breakfast, we will be shuttled to Cave’s Branch Adventure Lodge to learn about the Orchid Rescue Project they are involved in. This will provide orchid lovers with a unique opportunity to see dozens of tropical orchids in their natural environment and learn about the orchid program from the residential botanist, Mr. Chan. After lunch on the porch of Cave’s Branch Lodge, we will explore the fabulous Blue Hole National park. The Blue Hole is an oblong karst sinkhole 300 feet across and approximately 100 feet deep. Water in the Blue Hole flows from the exposed swimming area to the nearby Sibun River. St. Herman’s Cave is about a 1/5 mile hike from the entrance to the park. Pottery, spears and the remains of torches have been found in the caves in the area. The cave can easily be explored to a distance of a mile. After an exciting afternoon of exploration, we will return to Sibun for another wonderful tropical sunset before dinner.
Day 4: We start today out with a 1.5 hour shuttle ride to the town of Hopkins. Hopkins is a traditional fishing village infused with the local Garifuna culture. We will disembark at the Almond Beach Resort where we will board our snorkeling boat. This morning will be spent snorkeling some of the most pristine barrier reefs in the entire Caribbean. The diversity of marine life in Belize is substantial. After a morning of snorkeling we will stop on a local caye (island) to have a Caribbean-based lunch. After lunch we will have another opportunity to explore the biodiversity of the marine life in the Caribbean. Nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, loggerhead turtles, angel fish and an amazing array of corals are just a few of the many things we can expect to see. The shuttle will take us back to Sibun in time for a well deserved refreshment and another traditional Belizean dinner.
Day 5: Once again we will shuttle to Hopkins after breakfast. This morning will give us an opportunity to experience the Garifuna culture by visiting the Lebeha Drumming Center. After a drumming demonstration and/or lessons, we will have the entire afternoon to explore, play or just relax in the tropical sunshine on the beach. Dinner will be at Jaguar Reef Lodge featuring more local cuisine with an incredible sunset view of the Caribbean. We will shuttle back to Sibun just in time to fall asleep to the peaceful nighttime sounds of the rainforest.
Day 6: Today will be spent exploring Mayan ruins and the culture of the western part of Belize. After breakfast we will shuttle to the Mayan ruins of Xunantuninch. After taking a hand drawn ferry across the Mopan River we will have the opportunity to explore one of Belize’s most impressive ceremonial centers. From the top of El Castillo we will have an impressive view of entire Cayo District to the east and the border of Guatemala to the west. After lunch we will drive into San Ignacio and have an opportunity to explore a second Mayan ruin called Cahal Pech. Cahal Pech allows visitors the opportunity to see 34 structures compacted into a 3 acre site. Excavation is ongoing and visitors are welcome. The rest of the afternoon we will have the opportunity to explore the variety of local artisans found in San Ignacio. Local crafts ranging from wood or slate carvings to jewelry can be purchased from the variety of vendors that can be found in San Ignacio. Our last dinner together will be at a local Belizean restaurant in San Ignacio.
Day 7: This morning we will pack our bags, take a few last minute photos and say goodbye to our hosts as we board our bus back to Goldson SW International Airport in Belize City. Don’t pack your camera just yetbecause we have one last stop before we leave Belize. On our way to the airport we will stop at the Belize Zoo. The zoo sits on 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 125 animals, all native to Belize. After an afternoon at the zoo we will head for the airport in time to catch our return flight home.