Where does one start? There are so many things to do and see in this area, and in
Sea / water trips:
- while we have a double kayak available for your use at our house, you have the option to book a day trip (or longer) with one of the tour companies. There is a fabulous river kayak trip you can take as well (highly recommended by others) which you can book through Tutzil Nah Cottages. It involves a 30 minute drive to Maya Centre, and from there the guides take you into the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve where you enter the river. The kayaks are great, the scenery is beautiful, and there are some really fun rapids to run! The trip includes lunch. They can be contacted through their website (http://www.mayacenter.com/), by email ([email protected]) or by phone (501 520-3044).
- sailing day trips are very popular (usually cost about US$70+ per person, and include drinks, lunch, snorkeling gear). You can book ahead of time at Next Wave sailing: http://www.nextwavesailing.com/, local phone number 523-3391 or 610-5592. Go out to one of the local cayes for a wonderful relaxing day trip. Multi-day sailing trips can be arranged through Moorings (http://www.moorings.com/) but tend to be quite pricey and must be arranged well in advance.
- snorkeling and/or diving day trips. We highly recommend a day trip by boat to the cayes. Silk Cayes are our favourites for snorkeling, diving, or just for the ride. You will almost always see dolphins and lots of other sea life on the ride out, and the cayes have great snorkeling and diving areas. Tour companies in
- fishing. We highly recommend arranging to have a local guide take you out fishing. You can stop for lunch at Roberts Caye which is an amazingly tiny spit of land in the middle of nowhere with a few small cabins and a restaurant / bar (you have to call Robert's Grove first to let them know you are coming). More elaborate fly fishing or deep sea expeditions can be arranged through the local tour companies . (http://www.destinationsbelize.com/). Also see if Orlando, Loren's father, can take you out for the price of gas, boat rental and a fee.
- Monkey River Town. This is a day trip by boat down the coast to Monkey River Town. You have lunch there, and head up the Monkey River to see local wildlife (howler monkeys, birds, croc's etc.).
- Mayan Ruins: there are lots of choices, some close and some far. We have brochures available in our hose. The closest sites are Nin Li Punit and Lubaantun (90 minute drive) with other more developed sites taking 3 hours or so to get to. Check the guidebooks for detailed information, maps and directions. If you make it up to Xunantunich, try contacting Gilberto Gocom to guide you. His cell number is 501-620-5217, email: [email protected]. Tikal in Guatamala is also an option but it is a 1-2 day trip. Loren's cousin runs a tour company out of Saint Ignatio (Cayo Tours) and can get you in touch.
- We highly recommend the Banana Plantation Tour just north of Riversdale about a mile. Signs give the details.
- There is a new Zip-line just 12 ,miles from Bougainvilla just off the Southern Highway - there is a Mayan Temple sculpture marking the entrance to the area. Also, a very easy to approach series of waterfalls are also there.
- Canoe, float, or tube through ancient Mayan caves. Some of these require booking with on-site guides. Brochures are provided at the house. (Blue Creek, Inland Blue Hole,
- Jaguar preserve. Located only about a 30 minute drive from our house you will reach the world?s largest Jaguar preserve. While you are unlikely to see a Jaguar (they are nocturnal), you can do one of several hikes through the jungle to some beautiful waterfalls (see the photo gallery) and you can rent a tube ($2) to float down the river. This is an easy drive from our place. Once you get to the site you can purchase a trail map for BZE$2. Pick up the tickets for the park at the Mayan gift shop right at the turnoff to go to Blackscomb Reserve and report/sign in at the Ranger's office when you get up to the park. There are limited drinks for sale if you run out of fluids at the Ranger Office.
- Mayflower reserve / Antelope falls - Bocawaina National Park - along the Southern Highway near Silk Grass. This is not a hike for the out of shape, but it is well worth the effort. You climb for about 90 minutes to reach the top of antelope falls, where you can jump into a natural pool of refreshing spring water. You will have a spectacular view of the Mayan mountains and coastline. You will pass unexcavated Mayan ruins along the hiking path. You may want to arrange a guide for this one, but it is not really necessary and we have information and details at the house if you want to do this on your own. As well, Bocawaina falls is a very leisurely hike, fairly flat, and great for small children. There is a small pool below the upper falls which is great for swimming.
- You can plan a trip up to San Ignacio where you can visit the Butterfly farm, arrange canoeing or horseback riding, and see the Mayan ruins in this area. This is a long day trip (about 3 hours drive each way), and you may want to arrange to overnight in San Ignacio to see more of what that area has to offer. More information on the San Ignacio area is available at the house and on on the internet (http://www.belizenet.com/).
- The Belize Zoo is Fantastic! (http://www.belizezoo.org/) It is a 2 hr drive from our house, so you might want to plan an overnight trip to the Zoo and the Mayan ruins or catch it to or from the International Airport if you are driving.
- We highly recommend the cave tubing at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Lodge. ( http://www.cavesbranch.com/) The entrance is just opposite the Blue Hole National Park (also worth a visit) at Caves Branch on the Hummingbird Highway. The tour is a small group tour on tubes through 5 separate caves with a total of about 7 miles of caverns! The staligtites and 'mites are great, the caverns are comfortable in temperature and some are gigantic! Contact them at 501-822-2800 to arrange. We recommend that you go on a Monday or Saturday to avoid the cruise groups which cover only the last two shorter caverns which end at Jaguar Paw. They drive you back to the starting point as well. Take beach shoes or water friendly shoes if you have them. Our most recent find is the 'BLACK HOLE DROP" also run out of Ian Anderson's. It is a good hike for about 90 minutes to a collapsed cave with a repel down about 350 feet into the cave. It is a self-controlled drop with about 20 feet of repelling until a free drop occurs the rest of the way. The climb out is almost as exciting as the drop in. See the pictures in the photo gallery!
- We also recommend a drive up the Hummingbird Highway to Blue Hole National Park. There you can swim in a beautiful cenote (collapsed cave), go for a jungle hike, have a picnic, or take a self-guided or guided tour of Herman's Cave. Remember to bring your swim suits and some flashlights! there is a small park fee to enjoy the area.
We have detailed information in a folder available at the house regarding the trips to the Ruins, Zoo, Jaguar Preserve, Antelope Falls, etc. and we will be glad to help you plan your excursions and give recommendations! We also have recent edition vacation guides (Moon, Fodor, etc.) which can give you alot of information, contact numbers, directions, etc, located in the cupboard above the stereo.
Finally, there are several laminated maps, guides, etc. at the house. Please use them as you need but PLEASE leave them all behind for others to use in the future!
These are just a few of the things to see and do....don't forget to leave time to relax!