Download Itinerary

To immediately receive your Trip Notes (itinerary & details) by email, please enter your information below.

If you would prefer to receive a printed version, please call 800-255-8735.

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Re-Enter Email Address*
Yes, please send me the free JOURNEYS email newsletter.
Privacy Policy
Trip Notes Sent

Thank you for your interest in Jungle Discovery Week for Families. The requested Trip Notes have been emailed to you and should arrive in your inbox shortly.

Please consider adding to your email contacts/address book to prevent your email client from filtering this message into your junk/spam folder. Privacy Policy

You may also be interested in:

adventure travel trip to Belize
Dates Please call for current departure information.
Duration 7 days
Group Size 4
Land Cost $1,825-$2,360 Details
Single Supplement $350
Lodging 2 stars-3 stars
Grade I
Best Time

Jungle Discovery Week for Families

Underground caves, Mayan history, and animals everywhere. Surprises abound!

Day 1      Belize City

Your guide will meet you upon your arrival at the Belize City airport. Head straight out of the city to Crooked Tree Village, just 30 miles out of town but a world apart from the urban center. The rural village got its name from the knotty logwood tree used as a navigation landmark by lumberjacks in the 18th century. Settle in for two nights at your lodge on the edge of Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, perhaps the spot with the most birds in all of Belize. If you plan to keep a list of species you see on the trip, you'll get a great start here.

Meals: Dinner
Lodging: Crooked Tree Lodge

The Vermilion Flycatcher is just one of the bright, beautiful birds you may spot at Crooked Tree.
Day 2      Lamanai

Travel like the early explorers today as you head by boat from Crooked Tree to discover the ruins deep in the rainforest at Lamanai.  The name "Lamanai" comes from the Maya word for "submerged crocodile," so you can tell the jungle river wildlife was very much on the minds of the Mayas who settled here. You are sure to see exotic birds and wily iguanas, but also keep your eyes open for the spider monkeys and howler monkeys that swing high in the trees. The ruins here are only partially excavated, giving you a sense of how hidden they once were. But you will still have access to the Temple of the Jaguar Masks and the High Temple. Also learn here about the dangerous Mayan ball game that was part sport and part religious sacrifice.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Diner
Lodging: Crooked Tree Lodge

Can you spot the jaguar face on the wall of the temple? (Photo by Dennis Jarvis, 2007)
Day 3      Tropical Education Center

Head out this morning for a full day at The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center. The center was formed in 1983 as a home for wild animals that had been used in early rainforest documentaries. The staff, realizing how little Belizeans knew about their wild neighbors, made a commitment to educate people in the service of conservation. Over the past 30 years the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center has grown to 29 acres of tropical savanna with over 150 animals representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. All the animals were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions. Their habitats mimic their wild environs closely. Your visit to the zoo will give you a thrilling, intimate and interacative introduction to the animals of Belize and the habitats they rely on.

Stay right at the Tropical Education Center , part of the extensive zoo sanctuary for the next two nights.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging: Tropical Education Center

The ocelot is hard to spot in the wild but thrilling to see at the Belize Zoo.
Day 4      Bird Walk / Cave Tubing

Go out this morning for a bird walk in the forest near the Tropical Education Center.  Your guide will be an experienced birder who can help you identify the many species in trees. In addition, this is a great opportunity to ask your guide about traditional communities' use of rainforest plants for medicine, cooking, and cleaning.

Then, get ready to get wet this afternoon on your cave tubing adventure. This underground river experience combines floating on the water and active cave exploration. Along the way your guide will explain the geology of cave formation. As you float downriver, marvel at the magnificient rock formations, cave bats and waterfalls. The deeper you get in the cave, the more you will rely on your head lamp (provided) to see the interior terrain. This trip is good for all ages and fitness levels.

Return to the Tropical Education Center for dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging: Tropical Education Center

Stunning cave formations abound in Belize.
Day 5      Cahal Pech / Xunantunich

Head west this morning for the Cayo District. Once there, spend the day at the ruins of Xunantunich and Cahel Pech.

Cahel Pech was the hilltop estate of a wealthy Maya family, built over three thousand years ago. It sits high above the intersection of the Mopan and Macal rivers. You can imagine the children of the family running among the 34 buildings on the property -- but can you imagine what it would be like to live in these stone buildings yourself?

Nearby along the Mopan River lies Xunantunich, the ceremonial center for the farmers who lived in this region about 1,500 years ago. The main pyramid temple, El Castillo, rises 130 feet above the jungle floor. The view from the top shows you the whole ancient city stretched out below you. Also ask your guide about the haunting of El Castillo!

Overnight at the Crystal Paradise Resort, on the Macal River outside of San Ignacio. You can swim in the river right from the lodge! Perhaps consider a refreshing starlit swim tonight before bed.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging: Crystal Paradise Resort

Explore the ceremonial complex at Xunantunich (photo by cjuneau on Flickr)
Day 6      Cayo Options

You have several choices today from your base in the Cayo District, depending how much of an adrenaline rush you want.

The most intrepid travelers will love the spelunking adventure in the recently-discovered cave Actun Tunichil Muknal, or "ATM." In a small group, wearing life jackets, swim into the network of caves. The warren was a secluded ceremonial site for the Maya. Not only does ATM hold hundreds of ancient Maya artifacts that were used in various ceremonies, but it also contains burial chambers with calcified human remains.  This is a fascinating and rare opportunity to see another aspect of Mayan life and culture.

Or, head into the mountains for a canoe trip through Barton Creek cave. Paddle into the dark cavern, which you'll illuminate with battery-powered spotlights.  Your guide skillfully steers your canoe along the creek and through the cave so you can enjoy the beautiful rock formations and see remains from ancient Mayan rituals.

Of course, you can also choose to relax by the river at Crystal Paradise, or venture into San Ignacio to explore the town.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging: Crystal Paradise Resort

Canoe through Barton Creek Cave
Day 7      Onward

Alas, it's time to head back to the airport in Belize City today... Or, if you have more than a week available, consider extending on the coast. More activities await you on the cayes (islands) off Belize's coast!

Meals: Breakfast

The sun sets on Belize.

Home   |   About Us   |   New Trips   |   Family Trips   |   Reviews   |   Trip Sign-up   |   Contact JOURNEYS   |   Jobs
Pre-Scheduled Group Trips   |   Custom Trip Planning   |   JOURNEYS Signature Trips   |   eNews Sign-up   |   Catalog Request

Home Like JOURNEYS International on Facebook Follow JOURNEYS International on Twitter © 2014 JOURNEYS International, Inc.
107 Aprill Drive, Suite 3, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 • 800-255-8735 •

Looking for the Best Ecotravel Tour Company?
JOURNEYS International has specialized in ecotourism since 1978. We offer you the best nature tours, safaris, treks, adventure travel, family and cultural trips on earth. Whether you call it an eco vacation, adventure travel, ecotravel, ecotour, sustainable travel or responsible travel, for more than 30 years we have been creating ecologically sensitive and culturally responsible travel to exotic destinations around the world. Specialty ecotrips include women's tours, Kilimanjaro climbs, exploration cruises, festival trips, student group trips and cross cultural and wildlife safaris. Read more about JOURNEYS International.