OMG moments in shark ray alley on the Belize Barrier Reef, go back in time at Guatemala’s famous Tikal ruins and roast vegan marshmallows on an active volcano. Sand in your vegan-friendly sandals guaranteed!
Belize City International Airport, BZE
Sunshine. Sharks. Manatees. Lovely fishees. Stingrays. Mayan Ruins. Jungle hikes. Pineapple pit stops. Sacred sites. Honest vegan food. Sand in your vegan-friendly sandals. Sail boats. Sunset cocktails.
OMG moments and happy squeals guaranteed.
Each day of this tour is more extraordinary than the last and will take you one step closer to understanding the ancient Mayan culture while hiking, swimming, snorkelling and eating your way across two of Central America’s most awesome countries; Belize and Guatemala.
This vegan-friendly holiday is perfect for:
Welcome to Belize! There will be an early evening ‘meet and greet’ at our joining hotel with your Vegan Adventure Holidays trip leader and other members of the group this evening before dinner—think perfectly cooked rice, tender black beans, lightly sauteed fresh veg and a warm breeze.
Drink up your tropical fruit smoothie because we’ve got a water taxi to catch, we’ll be heading over to the tropical island of Caye Caulker where a no shirts, no shoes, no problem rule governs the island — vegan sandals optional!
You’ll get to see why this car-free tiny island which meets the Belize barrier reef is known as being an affordable paradise.
After a quick boat ride from Belize City, we’ll be sailing off towards the Belize Barrier reef at 10:30 this morning for an OMG, excited squeals kind of experience!
First stop is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve where you can expect to see angelfish, blue-striped grunts, schoolmaster snappers and hundreds of other varieties, it’s also known for the green moray eels living in tiny caves along the wall.
The Shark and Ray Alley is another of our stops within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, this spot is known as the shark and stingray city of Belize! You’ll get the opportunity to swim with the harmless Nurse Sharks and Southern Stingrays, this is a spot not to be missed.
The Coral Gardens are two and a half miles southwest of Shark and Ray Alley and due to extraordinary clear water you’ll be able to see the rainbow-like hues of the coral below, it’s an extremely special place.
Last but not least, our sailboat ride home; this journey takes around an hour and a quarter and it’s at the best time of the day just before sunset. Corn tortilla chips and salsa, rum or fruit cocktails make it a magical end to one of the highlights of this trip.
Choose to relax and stroll down to the waterfront for a laid-back island breakfast or chose to do one of the action-packed optional excursions.
Dive or snorkel the world famous Great Blue Hole, one of the greatest geological wonders of the world. Just 43 miles off the mainland, the Belize Barrier Reef is home to the Great Blue Hole, an easily accessible day trip. A site for more experienced divers, a deep dive into the Great Blue Hole will unveil a whole new world full of rare fish and stalactites.
If you’d like your free day to be a little more laid back you can choose to do an island-paced vinyasa flow yoga class (suitable for all levels), kayak around the blue waters of the split or just hang under a palm tree, the choice is yours.
We’ll all meet up again tonight to watch the sun go down over Caye Caulker’s famous split, there will almost definitely be sundown cocktails and mocktails involved!
Time for a change of scenery, as we travel inland you’ll begin to notice that the country is made up of an impressive network of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which provide a safe haven for wildlife. You can expect to see capuchin monkeys (so cute) and howler monkeys (so noisy) over the course of the next two weeks so keep a lookout!
This morning you’ll get to step inside a cave featured as the #1 sacred cave destination in the world by The National Geographic. The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (also known as the ATM caves) are not only unique geologically, but historically; the ATM caves serve as a natural museum of ancient Mayan artefacts and sacred burial place.
You’ll hike 45-minutes through the jungle before taking a journey into the Mayan underworld, along with your local guide you’ll explore an extensive underground maze of tunnels, passageways and chambers, finishing in the ceremonial chamber where you’ll see stoneware, ceramics and the famed crystallized skeleton of the “Crystal Maiden.”
The adventure doesn’t stop there, there’s an optional excursion available to visit the most dominant archaeological site in Belize, Caracol. During this half-day optional excursion, you’ll learn about the anthropology, archaeology, and flora and fauna of the area, including rare and endangered wildlife such as Keel-billed Motmots, Tapirs, Jaguars, Oscillated Turkeys, Gibnut (the “Royal Rat”) and Coatimundis.
If today were a movie it would be where James bond meets David Attenborough in Planet Earth—mystery, action and conservation all rolled into one!
After checking to see if there’s really a Caiman in the lagoon next to the swimming pool you’ll sit down with your new friends for breakfast, feast on tropical fruits, sip on hot coffee and enjoy the calm before the action starts.
Remember to put your camera in your day bag before we set off because you’ll get to put everything you learned in the Members Club travel photography master class into action.
You’ll get outside today and start to see what Belize has to offer. The Mountain Pine Ridge reserve is made up of over 100,000 acres of pine and subtropical forests, wetlands, the Macal River valley—it’s an outdoor adventurers paradise!
This awesome and unique natural habitat is home to hundreds of birds and mammals. You’ll be hiking forest trails, swimming in deep clear pools below a 150-foot waterfall on Privassion Creek before sitting down for well deserved vegan-friendly picnic lunch.
We’ll be heading over the border today into Guatemala; you’ll be captivated from the moment you taste your first steaming hot corn tortilla by Guatemala’s tasty food, welcoming locals and rugged landscapes!
From Belize we cross over into Guatemala’s largest and North most region; Peten. Jungle covered, somewhat mysterious and home to the most dominant archaeological site in Mayan history, Tikal, we’ll spend the next two days delving into Maya legacy.
We’ll be staying in Flores, a small picturesque town on a small island on Lake Peten Itza which is connected to the mainland by a small causeway, it comes with some great lakeside views which will be enjoying later this afternoon.
Pre-hike breakfast of sweet plantain, black beans, steaming hot corn tortillas and fresh Guatemalan coffee sound good to you? Time to fuel up before our guided tour of the Tikal ruins.
Tikal was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya, the site dates back as far as the 4th century and reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca 200 to 900 AD. During this time the city dominated much of the Maya region.
Unlike most Maya sites, Tikal is unique because the temples are scattered over a huge area in the middle of the jungle. Even on a busy day you might suddenly realize you’ve been walking for a while without seeing anyone else, you’ll get to watch over the endless sea of green from thousand year old pyramids, learn about the history of the ancient Maya civilisation whilst being observed by spider and howler monkeys from treetops, a truly unforgettable experience!
Today we’ll be travelling south to Rio Dulce.
Rio Dulce means “Sweet River” and it begins in Lake Izabal, the largest lake in Guatemala, and ends at the Caribbean Sea. The river is 42 km long and is 1,500 metres across at El Golfete, its widest span.
We’ll be staying in a beautiful jungle lodge for the next two nights right in the middle of the rainforest on Río Lampara, a small river connected to Río Dulce.
Jungle hideaways. Vegan food. Wildlife. Optional full moon kayak adventure to the hot springs. Life goals right!!
After breakfast we’ll start our 3-hour hike to Livingston which is a beautiful and unique trek starting in the community project Ak’ Tenamit, passing through the Mayan Ceremonial Cave, local Q’eqchi village and ending with a boat ride through the Río Dulce Canyon.
Livingston has a population of 12,000 and is a multicultural town know for its ethnical mix of Garifunas, Latinos, and various groups of Indigenous Maya, Chinese, Vietnamese and Hindu origin people, all living peacefully. We’ll have lunch in Livingston before heading back to our jungle lodge for a candlelit dinner.
From Rio Dulce, we’ll be heading South West to Antigua. Antigua is a UNESCO world heritage site which in practical terms translates to beautiful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets, for that reason we recommend leaving the stilettos at home!
As you stroll around town later this afternoon, you’ll notice Antigua sits in a valley, the Panchoy valley which is known as being the cultural centre of Guatemala. With no end of ancient churches, appealing parks, conveniently placed coffee shops and flanked by volcanoes, this two-week tour soon comes here but not before one last adventure.
After chugging down a fresh juice, saying ‘buenos dias’ to your new friends, loading up on some healthy carbs and tying your shoelaces volcano-hiking tight, you’ll set off towards Pacaya volcano.
A relatively easy (okay so you’ll probably break a sweat but sweating is good for you) climb of 1.5 hours through forest and farmland with at least one macadamia nut pit stop will bring you to Pacaya volcanoes fertile shelf where you’ll explore the old lava fields with our knowledgeable local guide.
A sensory experience. Enter, “I feel like I’m on the moon kind of thoughts.”
While you watch the smoking crater that looms above and walk across thousands of years old dried lava flows, your local guide will be on the lookout for suitable marshmallow roasting opportunities before starting the descent back down.
Post marshmallow roasting we’ll head back towards Antigua in time for a well deserved late lunch and tropical fruit smoothie at the local organic farm.
This morning you can take it easy, you can spend today at your own leisure; head to the local arts and crafts market, head to a traditional Mayan Spa, find a cute coffee shop to hang out in or if you’ve got enough energy left you could hike another volcano! The choice is yours.
Wanting to come back as soon as possible thoughts and feelings are guaranteed, you can stay connected to your new friends in the members club and maybe plan some of your own adventures together!