The country of Belize is a very interesting and beautiful place to visit with a diverse culture and landscape. Requests from anglers and non-fishing visitors wishing to know and see more of Belize have prompted the Belize River Lodge to offer customized half day and full day tours. So, come, relax and listen to the sounds of our jungle wildlife. Inhale the fragrances of our beautiful flowering plants and experience the natural beauty of tropical Belize. Our eco-adventure tours are guided by English speaking, licensed guides and tour operators in whom we have total confidence.
Half day Belize tours: include guide; transportation; cooler with ice and good drinking water.
Full day Belize tours: same as half day tour, but also includes lunch and soft drinks.
What to bring: Loose fitting, light weight, tropical type clothing; outdoor or tennis shoes, a good sun hat with chin strap is helpful, day pack, water bottle, camera, binoculars. Cave tours require an enclosed shoe, such as a tennis shoe.
Half Day Tours
ALTUN HA (Rockstone Pond):
Altun Ha, “Rockstone Water“, is the nearest major Maya ruin from the Lodge. Altun Ha was a major trading center during the Classic Period and it was occupied from as early as B.C 900 to about A.D. 1000. Altun Ha is made up of two central plazas surrounded by temples. The famous jade head of the Mayan sun god, Kinich Ahau, was uncovered here. This site is a birder’s paradise.
The old capital of British Honduras is situated on the coast & is surrounded by mangroves. It is still the busiest & largest population center of Belize. The Swing Bridge, St. John’s Cathedral, Foreshore, Courthouse, Baron Bliss Lighthouse, and Princess Margaret Drive are areas of interest. Included in this visit is a stop at Her Majesty’s prison, which is now the Belize museum. The museum has a showing of pictures of old British Honduras and a wonderful collection of Mayan artifacts. You will also have a chance to shop for souvenirs.
THE BELIZE ZOO:
Belize Zoo is natural setting and sits upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 150 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo or rehabilitated animals. It is a wonderful zoo with a “don’t miss” opportunity to see all the cats of Belize, including the Jaguars!
SNORKEL BELIZE’S BARRIER REEF:
Snorkel the day away watching exotic tropical fish and observing the many different typed of colorful coral. Sunbathe & picnic on an island in privacy. Spend a relaxing day snorkeling and enjoying the underwater wonders of the Belize Barrier Reef. This tour can be combined with other water activities and also fishing on the Flats. (Can be combined with any Flats fishing day – just let your guide know!)
BELIZE “OLDE” RIVER:
The Belize “Olde” River was the mainstream of activity for the first European settlers who used the river to transport logwood & mahogany. Settlements along the river still bear the names of those who first staked out claims and worked the area. Crocodiles, iguanas, many species of birds, snakes, turtles, howler monkeys, possibly a manatee, and the flora of the area are also sites on this eco-tour.
Full Day Tours
BEST OF THE WEST: (The Belize Zoo, Xunantunich Maya Site & Cahal Pech Maya Site):
Start the day with a stop at the Belize Zoo and visit many of Belize’s native animals, birds and wildlife. Belize Zoo is natural setting and sits upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 150 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo or rehabilitated animals. It is a wonderful zoo with a “don’t miss” opportunity to see all the cats of Belize, including the Jaguars! Continue on to Xunantunich (Maiden of the Rock), which was a major ceremonial Mayan site during the classic period and most of the structures here date from about 200 to 900 AD. Climb to the top of El Castillo, the largest temple of this site and gaze across the expanse of the remains of this great Maya City. If time allows in your day, travel to Cahal Pech (Place of the Tick), which is a beautifully restored elite Maya family residential area, located near the town of San Iganacio. Most construction dates to the Classic period, however, evidence shows continuous habitation as far back as 1200 BC, making Cahal Pech one of the oldest recognizably Maya sites in Western Belize. Walk through the archways and plazas and see how the Maya lived. Both Xunantunich and Cahal Pech are excellent birding sites and home to many species of birds including the Blue Crowned MotMot. (Favorite of BRL Guests)
THE OTHER WEST: (Guanacaste Park, Xunantunich, & Butterfly farm):
Birding, Butterflies and Ruins: Start your morning visiting Guanacaste Park, one of Belize’s many wonderful reserves. Wander the nature trails looking at the flora and fauna and searching for the MotMot or some of the other colorful birds of Belize. Continue on to Xunantunich Maya site, which was a major ceremonial site. Climb to the top of El Castillo, the largest temple of this site. Xunantunich also offers scenic nature trails for birding. This time, you will finish off your day with a stop at the “Trek Stop” butterfly farm. Wander under the enclosed tent with butterflies fluttering all around you. See if you can name all the different species.
NATURE’S WEST: (The Belize Zoo, Guanacaste Park & the Inland Blue Hole):
Explore the Belize Zoo and visit many of Belize’s native animals, birds and wildlife. Visit the otters and don’t miss the Jaguars! Continue your day with a visit to Guanacaste Park, one of Belize’s many wonderful reserves. Wander the nature trails looking at the flora and fauna while searching for the MotMot or some of the other colorful birds of Belize. Continue on to the Inland Blue Hole, offering many jungle trails great for birding. This is a great place to end your day with a swim in the cool waters of the Inland Blue Hole.
ALTUN HA MAYA SITE & BELIZE CITY:
Altun Ha (Rockstone Water) is the nearest major Maya ruin from the Lodge. Altun Ha was a major trading center during the Classic Period. The famous jade head of the Mayan sun god, Kinich Ahau, was uncovered here. This site is a birder’s paradise. Belize City is the old capital of British Honduras and is situated on the coast and is surrounded by mangroves. It is still the busiest and largest population center in Belize. The Swing Bridge, St. John’s Cathedral, Foreshore, Courthouse, Baron Bliss Lighthouse, & Princess Margaret Drive are areas of interest. You will also have a chance to visit the Old Majesty’s Prison which has been converted into a wonderful museum. This is also a great time to shop for souvenirs.
LAMANAI MAYA SITE & NEW RIVER:
As you travel up the New River by boat, look around and enjoy the birds & other wildlife on your way to Lamanai (Submerged Crocodile). You will experience the mystic of this Mayan site as you walk through the jungle visiting the different acropolises. Lamanai was one of the longest occupied sites in the MundoMaya world as it was continuously occupied for over 3,000 years and well beyond most other Maya sites, until at least 1,650 AD. Lamanai also has a very interesting museum and is another great birding site due to the surrounding tropical rainforest. (Favorite of BRL Guests)
MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE:
Enjoy a relaxing day traveling through our 300 sq. mile forest reserve, comprised of hills and valleys, rivers and waterfalls, swimming pools and caves, all surrounded by magnificent Pine forests. Swim in our enticing natural pools. Road and weather conditions allowing, you will travel to the Hidden 1000 ft. Falls, a spectacular site amid the tropical rainforest. (4 person minimum)
CHE CHEM HA MAYA POTTERY CAVE & BUTTERFLY FARM:
Lead by an experienced native guide, hike about 30 minutes uphill to the entrance of Che Chem Ha cave. The entrance opens into a vast array of winding limestone passageways and tall, narrow rooms filled with ancient Mayan pottery dating back 1500-2000 years. At the end of the cave is a large room believed to have been used for sacrificial ceremonies. Evidence of a sacrificial altar is still evident. This tour requires a certain degree of physical fitness. The Butterfly Center located in Succotz and has been created to raise awareness and understanding of the local environment for locals and visitors. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the natural history and geography of Belize with an emphasis on the Cayo District. Visitors are lead through displays of butterflies, moths, insects and amphibians, and archaeological artifacts. Knowledgeable guides are on hand to explain and answer questions. There is also an interactive area focusing on the lifecycles of forest life and the fragility of their ecosystems.
MANGROVE CATHEDRALS, MANATEE WATCH, & MIAMI BEACH:
Enjoy the boat ride through the spectacular 60 – 90 foot high red mangroves, which are the tallest in all of Belize. Examples of the competition between the environment and development will be pointed out and explained as mangroves are an absolutely essential part of the ecosystem. Continue on in search of manatees in areas that they frequently visit. You will pass by St. George’s Caye, the unofficial capital of British Honduras, settled by the British in the 1600’s. Swim at Miami Beach, which isn’t a beach at all, but a shallow white sand bottom in crystal clear water, frequented by a variety of saltwater fish. (Can be combined with any Flats fishing day – just let your guide know!)
SNORKEL THE BARRIER REEF:
Snorkel the day away watching exotic tropical fish and observing the many different types of colorful coral. Sunbathe & picnic on an island in privacy. Spend a relaxing day snorkeling and enjoying the underwater wonders of the Belize Barrier Reef. (Can be combined with any Flats fishing day – just let your guide know!)
COMMUNITY BABOON SANCTUARY & CROOKED TREE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY:
Visit the baboon (Belizean local name for the black howler monkey) ranger station and learn about the howler monkey and the local wildlife. Hike through the Bermundian Landing sanctuary and see the howler monkeys in their natural habitat. Continue on to Crooked Tree, an excellent spot for bird watching and home of the annual May cashew festival. See the nests of the Jabiru stork and if you are lucky, the actual Jabiru itself. A day offering varied birding opportunities.
BARTON CREEK CAVE CANOEING & BOTANICAL GARDEN:
Barton Creek Cave was an ancient Maya Indian burial site. The cave is only accessible by canoe and within the cave you will see evidence of the Maya along with pottery. The formations of stalactites and stalagmites are also beautiful. The trip to the cave is very scenic and passes through the Barton Creek Mennonite community. You will get a glimpse of the Mennonites as they go about their daily routines. After the cave canoe trip you will want to take a swim in the crystal clear waters of Barton Creek. Finish your adventure with a walk through the beautiful garden. Learn about the use of local trees, shrubs and flowers in Belizean society. (4 person minimum)
COMMUNITY BABOON SANCTUARY & BELIZE OLDE RIVER:
Visit the baboon (Belizean local name for the black howler monkey) ranger station and learn about the howler monkey and the local wildlife. Hike through the Bermundian Landing sanctuary and see the howler monkeys in their natural habitat. You will then meet a BRL guide and visit the Belize Olde River by skiff. The river was the mainstream of activity for the first European settlers who used the river to transport logwood and mahogany. Settlements along the river still bear the names of those that first staked out claims and worked the area. Crocodiles, iguanas, many species of birds, snakes, turtles, howler monkeys and the flora of the area are also sites on this tour. Both the Baboon Sanctuary & the Belize Olde River make for excellent birding opportunities.
CARACOL MAYA SITE:
Travel deep into the Chiquibul Forest Park, to the Mayan site of Caracol (The Snail). Caracol is still being excavated, yes has offered many changes to the previously formed concepts about the Maya. Evidence shows that Caracol was a larger and stronger city than Tikal in Guatemala. Caana, the largest temple at this site, is fully excavated and magnificent. A museum offering information & artifacts is open. Caracol offers a wide variety of birding possibilities. (Please note 3 hour drive time into site, so an early departure from the Lodge is required. 2 person minimum)
AERIAL TREK CANOPY TOUR (ZIP LINE) CAVE TUBING:
Visit Belize’s jungle in a new and exciting manner as you gently glide over the rain forest along steel cables from platform to platform. This tour will offer a total of 8 platforms and uses technology heavily borrowed from rock climbing and features a double line with redundancy to provide safety. Jaguar Paw was the first Canopy tour in Belize and uses lines that were built to approved International standards. This aerial trek canopy tour offers an adventurer a thrilling opportunity to sour through the jungle treetops above the forest floor. Combine the day with river tubing. After an approximate one hour hike though the jungle and across the Caves Branch River, you will begin the tour. While cave tubing Belize, you will float through five cave tunnels back to the originating point. Along the way, you will see the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites within the cave systems. Both tours are fully guided and along the way, on both tours, the guides will explain the different areas of the ecosystem that you are experiencing.
ACTUN TUNICHIL MUKNAL (ATM) CAVE:
A beautiful cave tour that begins after a hike through the lush subtropical forest near the Tapir Mountain Reserve. Within the cave you will see sparking stalactites and stalagmites and magnificent Mayan artifacts that reveal the mystical world of the Maya. (Early departure from the Lodge is required to make the tour in time. This tour requires a high level of activity – hiking and climbing.)
IAN ANDERSON’S CAVE TOURS:
Explore the Mayan ceremonial caves (Xibalba). Mayan shamans & priests used these caves for many ceremonial purposes. There are two tours that we recommend, Footprint Cave, which is a float tube wet tour, and Ceremonial Cave, which is a dry cave tour. View the ceremonial alters, artifacts, pottery, along with natural cave crystal stalagmites and stalactites. Enjoy your day exploring the mystical world of Xibalba. Cave tours require some underground hiking and jungle trekking. Tours are subject to high water levels during the rainy season. (Early departure from the Lodge is required to make the tour in time.)
HORSEBACK RIDING ALTUN HA MAYA SITE:
You will be horseback riding through lush greenery, under wonderful overhanging trees and beautiful flowers. The majestic calls of Belize’s exotic birds are your background music. Relax in your western-style saddle and enjoy your fully guided nature adventure while the sounds of nature surround you. Whether you begin or end your day at the Maya site of Altun Ha, you will experience one of Belize’s many wonders. Altun Ha was a major trading center during the Maya Classic Period. You will be able to wander through the plazas and experience the wonder of a past civilization.
TIKAL MAYA SITE BY AIR:
Fly into Guatemala and travel deep into the jungle to the Mayan site of Tikal and the temples of the grand jaguar. Of all the Maya sites in the region, Tikal is one of the most restored. Approximately 90,000 people lived around this acropolis. Exotic birds, wildlife, & the sacred Ceiba tree will be seen on this tour. Tikal also has a large museum.
Explore the reef from the bottom up. Dive amid the coral of the Barrier Reef, swimming with the tropical fish. Certified divers only.
New for 2012 – LUBANTUN Maya Site & NIM LI PUNIT Maya Site:
Start the day with a continental breakfast. Departing the Lodge about 7:00 am, you will catch a flight to Punta Gorda (PG) in Southern Belize. At 9:00 am, at the PG Airport, you will be met by a tour guide to begin your journey into the Southern Maya. A forty five minute drive will take you to the Mayan site of Nim Li Punit, located in Indian Creek Village. Nim Li Punit is a medium sized site from the Maya Classic Period. It consists of structures surrounding three plazas, including several step-pyramids and a number of carved stelae. Nim Li Punit has an onsite museum. After Nim Li Punit you will enjoy lunch and continue your journey to nearby San Pedro Columbia Village, where you will discover the Mayan Temples of Lubaantun, the biggest Mayan archeological site in Southern Belize. The City dates from the Maya Classic era. The architecture is somewhat unusual compared to typical Belize classical central lowland Maya sites. The city is made from 11 structures built around 5 plazas. While visiting Southern Belize, and as you walk along ancient structures and stelaes don’t forget to stop and enjoy one of the most spectacular views in Southern Belize. Both Mayan sites have a large variety of birds so be on the lookout for any wildlife you may encounter during your tour. Your guide will have you back at the PG airport for 3:30 pm to check your flight to Belize City, where you will be met by a BRL staff member and transferred to the Lodge. (Early departure from the Lodge is required to make the tour in time.)
New for 2012 – JUNGLE GOLFING, ST. HERMAN’S BLUE HOLE:
If you enjoy golf, then Belize has a new experience for you – a 9 hole “jungle” golf course. Golf enthusiasts will understand the following, written by BRL guest Rich after he enjoyed an afternoon on the green – “9 holes, 2 sets of T-boxes, Par 32 1933 yards + 1959 yards = 3892 yards. Five par 4’s, four par 3 holes. It is a fun 9 hole holiday course. Accuracy is required as fairways are narrow with small greens. Greens are slow, requiring firm chips and putts. There are a few blind and obstructed second shots required. Preferred lies and Astroturf tee boxes.” Pullcarts, clubs, balls and tees available. The course includes tropical birds flying overhead, a few ponds abounding with local wildlife, turtles and crocs – be careful of ball retrieval. After golfing and working up a sweat, enjoy a quick trip down the Hummingbird Highway, stopping at the inland Blue Hole, managed by the Belize Audubon. This Blue Hole is a collapsed underground limestone cave. It is fed by a river running through the original cavern system, and forms a sapphire-colored pool at the bottom of the cenote, where the cavern collapsed. The pool measures about 100 feet deep and 300 feet in diameter, with the actual blue hole at the depression’s base having a depth of about 25 feet. The inland Blue Hole offers a cool place to swim, relax and cool down before heading back to the Lodge.
Note for Birders: With over 500 species of birds in Belize and over 100 identified at BRL, you will have ample birding opportunities. When choosing tours, all of our eco-tour sites, especially the Maya sites and their surrounding rain forest, offer excellent & varied birding. Whether you are looking at a Trogan at the Lodge or Blue Crowned MotMot at Cahal Pech, the bird life in Belize is varied and will keep you entertained. When booking your tours, let us know that you are a “birder”, so that we schedule the right guide for your trip.
Day water tours and fishing available for cruise ship passengers.