Day 0: On Arrival day Island Expeditions will meet you upon arrival at the Cancun International Airport and transfer
you to a local hotel in the Cancun Hotel Zone. After you pass through customs an Island Expeditions’ representative
will meet you as you step outside of the Terminal. Airport transfers and hotel is included on this night. This day is your day to arrive before the trip starts, meet your fellow travelers, and acclimatize to your new tropical environment.
Transfers from the airport and lodging are included.
Meals: Dinner is not included on this night
Day 1: After breakfast we travel south by van into the area of the Yucatan Peninsula. This takes us away from the mass tourism that characterizes the Cancun and Playa del Carmen region. We leave early from our hotel and on our way south we stop at a cenote cave system for a chance to snorkel in these unique underground waterways. After our cenote adventure we enjoy a delicious Mexican lunch and then continue on our way to the Caribbean coast. Here we settle into our accommodations on the beachfront at an exquisite small Eco-lodge.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 2: Wake to fresh coffee and the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea from our comfortable
rooms. Our lodge at Balamku has achieved a reputation as one of the finest boutique lodges on
the Costa Maya and operates completely off the grid - powered by solar, wind, and environmentally
sensitive compost and waste management systems (we believe our trips must support ecoconscious
businesses in order to protect the beauty and biological diversity of the areas we travel). This day we begin with an introduction to sea kayaking and snorkelling and then paddle directly to the main Reef just minutes from our beach front cabanas. Warm waters along with rich and diverse coral reefs are the focus of this day as we explore these waters by kayak and with snorkel and mask. Accommodation: Eco-Lodge
Meals: B, L
I was impressed with both Jack and Gustavo's knowledge of the ecosystems we visited and Gustavo's knowledge of the Mayan culture.
Costa Maya Explorer
Mar. 17, 2012
Day 3: Today we paddle south along the reef system - snorkeling, kayaking, and if weather permits, we will hoist the sails on our kayaks (after an instructional session) to harness the power of the wind as we travel along the coast. Beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and the thrill of travelling by kayak are the memories of the day.
Meals: B, L
Day 4: Our day’s activities include a paddle in protected lagoons where we are able to see rich bird life and have a chance to view the wildlife residing in these waters characterized by labyrinth like mangrove passages and clear water. Your guides will organize which activities on this day are best suited to the wind and weather conditions we encounter. On our last night on the coast we venture to a small restaurant in the village of Majahual for an excellent dinner. Tonight we will guide you on an exploration of the tastes and flavours that reflect the cuisine of Mexico.
Meals: B, L
Day 5: After breakfast we have a chance for a sunrise paddle or a relaxing morning at the lodge before leaving the coast for a hidden gem in the southern Yucatan near the border of Belize. Today we venture to little known Laguna Bacalar. Our hotel is located on the shoreline of a remarkable freshwater lagoon known for its shades of turquoise
blues - Bacalar is known as the “Lagoon of Seven Colors’. Each room has a balcony with stunning views overlooking the water. Relax, enjoy a refreshing swim, and explore this unique hotel before heading out to dinner in the town of Bacalar.
Meals: B, L
Day 6: We have an early morning breakfast so we can arrive early for the Mayan ruin sites of Kohunlich and Dzibanche. These extensive ruins are in a natural setting surrounded by tropical forest that supports a rich diversity of wildlife. Because of the more remote setting it is not uncommon for us to be the only ones at the ruins. One of the more impressive Mayan ruins in the southern Quintana Roo, Kohunlich is best known for its Pyramid of the Masks, with six large masks each standing over eight feet tall. We return back to our lake-side hotel in the afternoon in time for a swim. In the evening
we tour a 17th century Spanish fort in town with its unique museum that profiles the history of piracy and colonial occupation of the area.
Meals: B, L
Day 7: Enjoy the morning at the hotel and a cool swim before traveling north to Cancun with optional drop-offs along the way at Tulum or Playa Del Carmen. We do not
arrive back into Cancun until early evening on this day. For those continuing south into Belize it is a short drive to Chetumal where we connect with a water taxi into Belize.
Accommodation: Not Included
Note: To allow for each person to choose their own dining variety we have not included the cost of dinners on this trip so that you may explore on an individual basis the fine culinary traditions of Mexico. We suggest a budget of $15-25 USD per person for each dinner that is not included in the trip.
Important Travel Notes: On Day 7 of the trip we have left options available on how and where you would like to travel after the trip. For those who are continuing to Belize for another Island Expeditions’ trip we will take care of the transfer details.
Belize/Mexico Combined trips
If you are returning to Cancun to fly home this day your departure needs to be 6 pm or later out of Cancun, or scheduled for the following day. We can make extra hotel arrangements for you as needed
| The Costa Maya Explorer was a trip into the world of native Mexico that most tourists never experience. We learned a lot about the Mayan culture and history and having our own personal guides was a real luxury.
The snorkeling in the cenote was a great experience, even my wife enjoyed it and she is a real novice when it comes to snorkeling. We had a lot of fun learning to surf in the kayaks, even though we tipped over just when you were taking our picture. I can't wait to try kayak surfing again.
We especially enjoyed the eco-lodge at Balamaku. The food and rooms were just terrific and my son really enjoyed the time when our hostess gave us a guided tour of the solar and wind systems.
Our guide was absolutely fantastic - he made great meals, instructed us on kayaking skills, kept us organized and informed, and seemed to enjoy the trip as much as we did. His willingness to answer any question we had made everyone feel special. Every member of our family loved the entire trip. Thanks for creating such a unique and fun adventure.
Gene, Sandy, Brett, and Matt Spadi
Costa Maya Explorer
Mar 27, 2011
- Pre-Trip information package
- Meals, accommodation, and transfers as detailed in the
- Unlimited use of our equipment - including activities and instruction
- Use of waterproof dry bags during kayak trip
- Accommodation on the day before the trip (Day 0)
- Professional Guiding Services
International Flights and Airport Departure Tax
Extra costs due to late arrivals, lost baggage, and other
circumstances beyond our control.
A Note About the Ecology...
ecology of the Mexican coast is a complex combination
of coral reefs, sand flats with extensive turtle grass
and mangrove ranges. The Maya Reef, second largest
in the world, extends 185 miles (300 km) along the coast.
This reef structure shelters the Belizean coastline from
the rougher open waters of the Caribbean sea. The Maya Reef acts as a huge breakwater, holding in the sand and
protecting the coastline from the incoming seas. From
this action, we get beautiful islands forested with coconut
palms, sea grape and coco plum and remarkable protected
reef structures. Also from the 'breakwater' action of
the barrier reef, we have protected waters which allow
the diverse ecosystems of the mangrove and turtle grass
to flourish. These tangled partially-submerged forests
provide essential feeding and nursing habitat for hundreds
of species of fish, shellfish, reptiles, marine mammals,
traveling along the Maya Reef, we have the opportunity
to view a diverse range of sea-life and tropical birds.
Paddling along huge stretches of beach in areas rich with patch reefs
and sea grass beds we have many opportunities to view
bonefish, angel and parrot fish, stingrays, eagle rays,conger,
moray eels, goatfish, just to name a few. Trailing a
fishing line from our kayaks, we also may get a strike
from a barracuda, or grouper or snapper. Over our heads,
we will see bird-life, such as osprey (the Billy hawk),
sea gulls, brown-footed & white-footed boobies, frigate
birds, hawks, mangrove warblers, and white-crowned pigeons.
Also, throughout the Maya Reef and along the coast,
there are nesting sites for loggerhead, green and hawksbill
turtles. If we're lucky, we may see them while out snorkeling.
We will definitely sample one of the main staples for
Belizean fishermen - the queen conch.
about seeing parts of Belize with Island Expeditions
The Costa Maya Explorer is wonderful trip on its own. However, it has also been designed to match up with most of our Belize trips as well. From Chetemal we have a water taxi that carries passengers to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, then to Caye Caulker, and on to Belize City. We will help coordinate travel from Chetemal for those choosing to extend your travels into Belize. Please contact our office for details.
About Traveling Independently, Before or After Your Trip?
With over two decades of exploration in Belize and the Yucatan,
our knowledgeable office staff can offer you a wealth of travel
information. However, we do recommend that you read up on
Belize and find what interests you. Once you find an area
of interest, give our office a call and we can help you plan
the best vacation possible!
Single Traveler Pricing
Many of our guests travel on their own. Our style of trip is ideal for single travelers combining the benefits of group camaraderie and group security with lots of individual flexibility in what you want to do each day. Single supplement options vary by trip style. Standard trip pricing is based on double occupancy. Solo guests can request either to share twin accommodations with another traveler or request single accommodations for an additional fee. If you are willing to share and we are able to match you up - no problem and no extra cost. If we cannot match you up then we have a simple, affordable $99 supplement fee for trips of 6 nights and longer and $45 for shorter trips. This fee will be applied at the time of booking, but will be reimbursed just before your departure if we are able to match you up.
Should you prefer private accommodations, we can provide you with your own room and the following charges apply.
Costa Maya Explorer - $275
Glover's Reef & River of Caves - $220
Lighthouse Reef - $250.00
Paradise Islands - $322
Ultimate Adventure - $368
Glover's Getaway -$65
Lighthouse Getaway - $65
Glover's Getaway & Kayak Rental Combo - $60
Maya Reef Explorer - Glover's - $160
Maya Reef Explorer - Lighthouse - $195
Rainforest Canopy Extension - $75
Maya World Extension - $130
NOTE: The number of single rooms available on most departures is limited, and may not be available at each location. If we are not able to provide your own room throughout the trip, we will pro-rate the supplement fee.
IEC we enjoy traveling with families. Children lend a refreshing
perspective to the experience, which adults sometimes take
for granted. Knowing that travel budgets are especially important
we offer a price break to families with children. Not all
trips are suitable for younger children, however we find that
age is not a definite restriction; rather size and weight
of your children, experience and ability are the main determining
factors in choosing which trip is right for your family. Click here for our Children's pricing policy...
Planning Your Trip...Think of "Day 0"
Island Expeditions Co. a seven day trip means seven days in the field, not 2 days
of airline travel and 5 days of vacation. With the execption of our "short trips", on all IEC adventures we meet you
the day before the trip is scheduled to begin. This is "Day 0" and has
been conceived for your convenience and comfort. "Day 0" is your day
to arrive in Belize before the trip starts, meet your fellow travelers, and to
acclimatize to your new tropical environment. From there be it a short flight
or a boat charter, your transportation to meet up with your group on this day, your dinner,
and your accommodation on this night are included in the trip cost.
On the "short trips" we meet you on the day that trip begins, at a pre-scheduled time and location coordinated by our sales and reservations office. Whether we meet you at the boat dock, or in the lobby of a local hotel at a specific time, our reservation staff will make sure you have our contact information and appropriate rendezvous details. To see a list of IEC " short trips", simply click here to find out more information