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- Exploring tropical forest ecologies, flora and fauna, and conservation issues
- Viewing wildlife & Nocturnal Zoo Tour with the Zookeeper
- Learning about Mayan archaeology, history, and culture
- Exploring coral reef systems, mangrove ecology, marine invertebrate species, etc.
- Touring caves and other unique geological formations
- Snorkelling & sea kayaking through unique ecosystems
- Learning about Garifuna culture, traditional foods, drumming, dance and story telling
- Participating in a Wildlife Conservation Project, Environmental Project, and/or Community Service Project
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Day 1: We will meet you on arrival into the Belize International Airport and drive the Western highway to our Chaa Creek Macal River Camp accommodations and take some time to explore the rainforest and river setting we will be staying in for the next few days. In the evening we sit down to enjoy our Welcome Dinner and afterwards our guides provide a short trip orientation meeting and an introductory talk on Belize.
Overnight Chaa Creek, D
Day 2: The first day is a day of tropical rainforest, river activities and natural history exploration. Our location is an exemplary example of balancing nature and tourism in a tropical setting. In the morning we visit the natural history center and the butterfly farm. Then we experience the Riparian habitat as we paddle or tube sections of the Macal River. In the afternoon we head to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich located on the banks of the Mopan River. After exploring and learning about the temples, plazas and ball courts of this ancient city we return to Chaa Creek
Overnight Chaa Creek, B, L, D
Day 3: This is a day of Maya ruins and local cultural exploration. First we will be stopping at Cahal Pech ruins overlooking San Ignacio town. This ruin site is made up of 34 structures, including temple pyramids and residential buildings. Dating back to 1200 B.C., Cahal Pech is one of the oldest Maya sites discovered in the area. We then transfer to San Ignacio town where we will explore the local markets and enjoy a genuine Mestizo meal. Here we will have the opportunity to participate in the Pack-A-Pound donation program.
Overnight Chaa Creek, B, L, D
Day 4: We rise early to begin our remarkable journey back through time into the dark underworld of the Maya. Our destination, Actun Tunichil Muknal – the Cave of the Stone Sepulchre (burial vault), is reached after a 60 minute drive and a 45 minute hike through tropical broadleaf forest and wading across jungle streams. Once at the cave entrance we gear up with helmets and waterproof lights, then wade into the clear, cool water that flows out from the cave mouth. Our underground experience begins with an introduction to how caves form with classic cave features such as stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and drapery formations ‐ the highlight during the first part of our cave exploration. As we follow the creek bed further underground we climb up into a massive, cathedral‐like chamber that holds an astonishing array of Mayan artifacts; our light beams illuminate ceramic bowls and vases, stone tools, carved slate altars, and eerie calcified skeletons dating back centuries to the terminal classic period of the Mayan civilization. Mid-afternoon we transfer to the Tropical Education Center, our home for the next few days, and settle into our accommodations. After dinner, we will have the opportunity to meet the zookeepers and learn about the daily operations of the zoo as we are taken on a private behind-the-scenes nocturnal zoo tour.
Overnight TEC, B, L, D
Day 5-6: During these two days we will have a full introduction to the Jaguar Rehabilitation Program currently ongoing at the Zoo as well as contributing to the TEC Community Service Work Project. The Jaguar Program is an interactive and unique activity is both educational and exciting, as we learn more about jaguars in an intimate environment. The Community Service Work Project at the Zoo involves activities such as building trails, repairing habitats, cleaning, painting, etc.
Overnight TEC, B, L, D
Day 7: We rise early in the morning, have a hearty breakfast, and head east overland along the Hummingbird Highway towards the coastal town of Dangriga in the Stann Creek District in good time to board our boat charter to Billy Hawk Caye, our home on the reef for the next five nights. Our first island day begins with a thorough kayak orientation and introduction to snorkeling. Then we head out to a nearby reef for our first snorkel activity.
Overnight Billy Hawk Caye, B, L, D
Days 8-11: Over the next few days our exploration and learning of our marine environment will include snorkeling patch reefs, mangrove ranges, sea grass habitat, root systems, a night crocodile hunt, reef zonation, visiting the Smithsonian Marine Station, and snorkelling the Barrier Reef drop-off. Our Environmental Service Project on the cayes will be cleaning and clearing the plastic and debris that washes ashore each day in the mangrove habitats within the South Water Marine Reserve. During these activities we will be learning more advanced snorkeling along the cuts and outer edge of the Main Barrier Reef. We will also have opportunities to improve our sea kayaking skills with professional instruction from trip leaders in kayaking sailing, kayak rolling, and advanced strokes. In the evenings we find ourselves immersed in the culture of the Garifuna people who make their living from the sea, with cultural activities that include stories, traditional dance and drumming, and Garifuna foods.
Overnight Billy Hawk Caye, B, L, D
Day 12: After breakfast, we board our boat charter back to the mainland and then head north via the Hummingbird Highway to the international airport in Belize City where our trip ends. B
Please note all itineraries are subject to change depending on weather or safety considerations. Flexibility as our guest and as an international traveler is the key to an awesome experience!
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Service Work & Contribution Projects
Conservation Projects Onsite at the Tropical Education Center & Zoo:
The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center was started in 1983, as a last ditch effort to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films about tropical forests. Shortly after the backyard “zoo” began, the operators realized that Belizean visitors were unfamiliar with the different species of wildlife which shared their country, and a commitment was made to develop the little zoo into a dynamic wildlife education center. Today, the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center encompasses 29 acres of tropical savannah. It exhibits over 150 animals and represents over 45 species, all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which have been orphaned, rescued and rehabilitated, born at the zoo, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions.
Environmental – Southwater Caye Marine Reserve Habitat Cleaning
Mangrove habitat is the nursery grounds of the coral reefs. Many marine species including, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and birds are conceived and mature here. Utilizing their new snorkel and kayak skills, students will participate in a plastic clearing work project. Upon return to the island, they will sort plastic into continents of origin to better understand the magnitude of this world plastic issue. Island Expeditions will contribute the funds for a special boat charter to move the bagged plastic to a mainland landfill.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Inclusion & Exclusion” tab_id=”1449208780765-5fd2d40a-5e8d”][vc_column_text]Tour Inclusions
Accommodation in triple, quadruple or dorm, occupancy, in mentioned hotels, camps or similar
Services of an Experienced Tour Leader
All meals while in Belize (not on travel days – airports, flights, etc)
Tours, park entrance fees, and permits according to the itinerary, with English-speaking guide
Transportation as mentioned in the itinerary
Tips for staff for guide, driver, local guides and service providers
Pre-trip information package and comprehensive pre-trip support
- Extras at hotels (telephone calls, room service, porterage, laundry, etc.)
- International Flights (quoted separately)
- Mandatory Travel Medical Insurance (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)
- Meals, snacks or drinks not specified in the itinerary
- Any additional/extra tours or park fees
- Personal and/or medical expenses
- Departure taxes or immigration fees (to be paid at some airports or land borders)
- Costs associated with changes to your itinerary for reasons beyond our control
- Any other service not mentioned in the “included” list or the itinerary
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Start Planning Now!
Prices from: $2395USD per student. Please note that prices are subject to change and will fluctuate with the student/chaperone ratio.
We can accommodate groups of 10-24 students + chaperones