Best of Belize: Glover’s Reef, Jungle Rainforests & Remote Mayan Villages
The Epic Belize is a multi-sport journey taking you off-the-beaten path to rich coral reefs, jungle rainforests and remote Mayan villages – ideal for those looking for an active, adventurous vacation that encompasses the best of Belize.
- Sea kayak, snorkel and discover the turquoise waters and rich coral reefs of Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve. Spend 3 nights in a safari style tent cabana at our Southwest Caye Adventure Basecamp.
- Travel off-the-grid to an eco-lodge in the heart of Mayflower Bocawina National Park in the Southern Maya Mountains. Enjoy a rainforest canopy zipline and exhilarating waterfall rappel/hike.
- Paddle into the rainforest valleys of the Moho River, jungle camping and visiting Mayan villages far removed from the outside world.
Upon arrival into the International Airport you connect for a scenic 20 minute flight to the town of Dangriga and then travel overland to Bocawina Rainforest Resort in Mayflower Bocawina National Park in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Tonight we dine in the rainforest at the Lodge's acclaimed restaurant 'The Wild Fig'.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We wake up to the sounds of the tropical rainforest, enjoy an early breakfast and then continue to the Wild South of Belize. We travel overland through the countryside to the remote Maya village of Santa Theresa. We enjoy a traditional meal prepared at the home of a local family before continuing another 30 minutes to our put-in on the Moho River. Our guides teach you the fundamentals of handling the inflatable kayaks in moving water before starting our journey down one of Belize's most beautiful rainforest rivers to our first river camp.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today we break contact completely with the outside world as we follow the Moho River through canyons and lush rainforest. Each bend reveals the dynamic nature of the river from calm meandering water that reflects the intense green of the jungle, to stretches of rapids, pour-overs and spectacular waterfalls. During the trip our Mayan guides assist us with improving our moving water paddle skills, and also provide an understanding to the ecology of the rainforest, learning about the habits of the wildlife, and gaining an appreciation for the rich Mayan folklore which adds so much to our experience in the jungle.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
As we continue our river journey, we leave the Maya Mountains and enter the coastal plains where the river slows and meanders through the jungle. Our vehicle is waiting to take us overland to The Lodge at Big Falls, our home for the next 2 nights. We settle into beautiful jungle cabanas with time to enjoy a hot shower and take in the grounds before dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The Lodge at Big Falls is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande river in Belize's southern Toledo District, a region of isolated villages. The lodge property is located on a ‘meander’ of the Columbia River with almost a mile of river frontage. From your cabana there are striking views of the jungle covered Maya Mountains. After a leisurely breakfast we head out for our exploration of the region. Highlights include the ancient Maya ruins of Lubaantun last active in the 8th and 9th centuries, and then we immerse ourselves in an inspiring, cultural and culinary experience with a visit to a unique spice farm and a tasty ‘bean to bar’ Mayan chocolate makers experience. We return in time to relax and enjoy the pool on the lodge property.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today we drive north to the coastal town of Dangriga. Here we board a charter boat to our private Basecamp on Southwest Caye, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, we receive an introduction to your new tropical marine environment and then settle into our ocean view tent cabanas. Our guides will then conduct professional instruction to teach you the fundamentals of sea kayaking, snorkeling, and tropical water safety. After the workshop, enjoy a paddle to a nearby patch reef and start exploring some of the 700 snorkel sites Glover’s Reef Atoll has to offer.
Over our 4 days here our itinerary is flexible in order to accommodate individual and group preferences. Activities include paddling sea kayaks, snorkeling the inner and outer walls of the reef, stand-up paddle boarding, traditional Belizean handline fishing and learning to sail a kayak. In the mornings and evenings our guides share their knowledge of Belize, its unique marine environments and cultures of the Caribbean with a focus on the Garifuna people of Belize. There are many different activities that you can choose from and always for those looking to add down time into their adventure there is no better place in Belize to kick back in a hammock and relax with a good book!
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (dinner is NOT Included in this night)
Choose to wake early on our final morning, grab your coffee and watch the sunrise over the atoll. Our boat charter departs mid-morning to take you back to the mainland, arriving at approximately noon. Your trip finishes in the Garifuna town of Dangriga, and our staff will assist you with connecting to the next leg of your journey.
For travelers who will be leaving Belize on Sunday Day 10, international connections out of the country require a departure after 3:00 pm. To make this connection, a short domestic flight is required. This flight is from Dangriga direct to the Belize International Airport. Our office can confirm pricing and book your flight. For guests who choose to spend an additional night in Belize we offer a Flight & Hotel Package.
Note: This is one of our more adventurous trips. It takes place in remote wilderness regions of Belize. Weather conditions can affect water levels and may increase the level of difficulty or require itinerary changes. We also believe that the remoteness and variability of conditions are what make this trip the best of its kind in Belize.
Belize Broadleaf Tropical Rainforests
Bocawina Reserve - The year-round growing season, plentiful precipitation and millennia of evolution has yielded the area with a tremendous biological diversity and rare beauty. This rich nutrient cycle supports a diverse range of plant life, where huge buttressed Ceiba trees to the smallest of fungi thrive. High above the forest floor is the enchanting world of the broad-leafed canopy. The canopy may tower 100 ft or more, with massive hardwoods like Santa Maria, Mahogany and Sapodilla trees forming a broad canopy, and in turn supporting many species of Epiphytes (air plants). This habitat provides for a unique community of wildlife, with many species spending most of their life inhabiting the roof of the rainforest.
Large tropical birds are frequently sighted. We see toucans with their oversized bills flying from one fruiting tree to the next. High overhead loud squawking alerts us to the presence of scarlet macaw. Once in view, the size of the bird and the splendor of their red and blue plumage is unmistakable. There is also a multitude of falcons, hawks, and vultures scavenging and hunting from the sun bright upper canopy down to the mottled light of the forest floor. Also found in the southern Belizean rainforest are a number of bizarre mammals. The largest of these is Belize’s national animal, the Baird's tapir - locally known as the mountain cow. It has a large hippopotamus- like body and a long snout, much like the famous aardvark. The tapir, along with the white-lipped and collared peccary and the jaguar, are some of the larger mammals that inhabit the river valleys and forests where we travel.
Maya Mountains and Peten Lowlands - Just hours away from the sun-bright Barrier Reef, some of the richest rainforests in all of Central America thrive. Tropical rainforests cover only 7% of the planet, yet harbor over 50% of the earth's species and are considered the oldest intact ecosystems on earth. Once you enter the forest - wildcats, toucans, flocks of scarlet macaw, and troupes of howler or spider monkey may be encountered at any time. Small wonders are everywhere, like delicate orchids that bloom for only a few hours in the year.
It used to be that travelers to the region rarely ventured far from the coast; the interior was little known - a hinterland of the imagination, with impenetrable jungles and tales of lost Mayan cities. Only recently, Belize has gained a reputation for the stunning beauty and wildlife that lies hidden amongst the mountains, rainforests, and rivers. The most exciting Mayan ruins and ceremonial caves require careful planning to reach. As varied as the land are the activities we engage in: river travel with both calm jungle floats and wild, fun whitewater rides. In the rainforest - caving, hiking, birding, and photography all make for one-of-a-kind experiences.
Glover's Reef Atoll
Thirty-six miles offshore lie a group of tropical islands, cradled within a turquoise lagoon and surrounded by a living coral reef. Glover’s Reef Atoll, considered one of the richest tropical marine environments in the entire Caribbean is protected as a Marine Reserve and is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Atoll is 32 km long by 12 km wide, encompassing a turquoise clear shallow lagoon with an estimated 850 coral heads and pinnacles rising to the surface. On the eastern edge of the atoll, five postcard perfect sand cayes fringed with coconut palms, lie atop the reef crest. The prevailing Northeasterly Trade winds blow across hundreds of miles of open sea before reaching the atoll where the swells break and dissipate in foaming white surf. This east wall of the atoll is breached in three places by channels, allowing for a tidal flow of water into the lagoon that sustains one of the most diverse coral ecosystems in the Caribbean.
At our Basecamp, perched on the white sand shores of Southwest Caye - with stunning views facing east over the main reef crest and the open Caribbean Sea - we are ideally located for snorkeling, sea kayaking and kayak sailing, diving, and fishing. Led by guides who are skilled marine naturalists, fishermen and kayakers, your experience at Glover’s is a blend of adventure, island culture, tropical vacation, and learning. The remarkable abundance of life and the simple beauty of this richest of tropical marine environments leaves its mark on all those who are fortunate enough to visit.
On this Adventure we experience the very best that Belize has to offer.
From Belize International Airport you will board a domestic flight to the Dangriga, where we will pick you up and transfer you to Bocawina Rainforest Resort for the first night, and be introduced to your fellow travellers.
Leaving our jungle eco-lodge in Mayflower Bocawina National Park, we travel by van and four-wheel drive to our river put-in. We begin our river journey by teaching river safety and paddling techniques before kayaking into some of Belize's most remote and pristine wilderness. Once on the water, we are immersed in the experience of traveling by day and camping at night in the tropical rainforest.
Coming off the River, we spend two nights at a beautiful jungle lodge, The Lodge at Big Falls, where we explore ruins, a chocolate maker, and a spice farm! In the foothills of the Maya Mountains of the Toledo district, there is much to explore in this spectacular region.
The next morning we travel by motorboat to Glover's Atoll - a remote ring of corals and small islands rising from the deep waters of the Caribbean. Glover's Atoll, with an unparalleled diversity and abundance of marine life, offers some of the best snorkeling in Belize. Our island Basecamp is the perfect setting from which to actively explore the surrounding waters which contain over 700 patch reefs. The waters of Belize have long been known as the richest in the Caribbean and Glover's Reef is one of the best in Belize!
After our exploration of the Barrier Reef and Glover's Reef Atoll we return to the mainland and travel into the rainforests of southern Belize. The Bocawina Reserve where this part of the trip takes place, has five waterfalls within hiking distance of our lodge. The population is primarily Maya. Scattered small villages border the green hills rising into the highest peaks of the Maya Mountains. Linking the communities, there is one main road called the Southern Highway. Most of the road has been paved in the last few years, bringing change to the area in the form of increased trade, electricity to villages and more small scale tourism development.