3 sit-on-top kayakers paddle turquoise waters on a sunny day with a small ship in the distance during a Belize to Tikal cruise.
Belize Barrier Reef marine life with brightly colored corals, teal water & yellow, bulbous animal, seen on a Tikal cruise.
Zodiac of travelers slowly motors through a mangrove during a Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of The Maya World cruise.
View from one of the temples looking down at a plaza in Tikal Guatemala
Jaguar crouches beside a river in the dark forest with one bright spot of light hitting the ground beside it.
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Central America Belize Cruise

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World

Cruise among vibrant reefs and explore near-mythical ruins on this 9-day land-and-sea National Geographic Belize to Tikal expedition. Board the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion to discover the colorful corals and abundant sea life of the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest reef system in the Northern Hemisphere. Discover ancient Maya history, including over a full day in the expansive and enchanting ruins of Tikal National Park.

Snorkel, kayak, stand-up paddleboard and dive the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System on the only expedition ship exploring the Mesoamerican Reef. Explore Belize’s coastal rivers by Zodiac and in one of the largest barrier reef systems in the world, discover wild, beautiful places and spot rainbow-colored fish, turtles, rays, toucans and green iguanas.

Venture into the jungles of Guatemala with local experts to discover the spectacular temples and pyramids of both Tikal and Yaxha. See temples overgrown with tropical rainforest and explore the stories and archaeological sites of these stone ruins swathed in plantlife and teeming with wildlife. Dedicate ample time to explore the sublime Maya ruins of Tikal’s stone temples, palaces and public spaces, then head to the little-visited Maya ruins of Yaxha, beautifully situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxha Lake.

This unique Belize cruise that transitions from snorkeling vibrant reefs to discovering the ancient city of Tikal with National Geographic experts is sure to be the trip of a lifetime! Contact the Belize experts at AdventureSmith Explorations to book your Belize to Tikal small ship cruise.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Belize cruises and Belize trips.



Itinerary

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World Itinerary

This 9-day land-and-sea Belize to Tikal small ship cruise operates from Belize City to Guatemala City. Cruise first, then explore inland before a charter flight to end in Guatemala.

Route map of Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World small ship cruise, operating from Belize City to Guatemala City with visits to the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Monkey River, Belize Barrier Reef cayes, Turneffe Islands, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, San Ignacio, Yaxha, El Remate, Flores & Tikal.
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Day 1
Embark Belize City, Belize

Arrive in Belize City and transfer to the ship. Settle into your cabin as the ship sets sail on the Caribbean Sea.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Belize Barrier Reef, Northern Cayes

Awaken in the northern cayes of the Mesoamerican Reef, a barrier-reef system that stretches more than 600 miles and harbors incredible marine biodiversity. Edged with mangroves and scattered with idyllic tropical isles, these turquoise waters give us much to explore during a full day here. If weather and conditions permit, visit Half-Moon Caye to see its red-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebird colony. Later, find a calm spot to paddle a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Or don a mask and fins to snorkel among sea turtles, swirling schools of tropical fish and harmless nurse sharks.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Mayflower-Bocawina National Park

Spend the morning discovering the lush rainforests and waterfalls of Mayflower Bocawina National Park. On a variety of hikes with the naturalists, photograph unusual tropical flowers, watch for colorful bird species, and identify the tracks of tapirs and jungle cats. A series of camera traps are set up throughout the park to capture images of the elusive jaguar, so revered in Maya culture. Meet local scientists and researchers to see some of this footage and learn about ongoing studies of jaguar behavior. Tonight an internationally acclaimed drumming group, the Garifuna Collective, joins on board to perform their spirited music.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Monkey River & Belize Barrier Reef

Rise early to board Zodiacs at the mouth of Monkey River and cruise inland through the Belizean jungle in search of toucans, green iguanas and myriad bird species. Few experiences rival hearing the first throaty roar of a mantled howler monkey echoing across the canopy. Explore the southern cayes of the Belize Barrier Reef this afternoon and enjoy more opportunities to kayak and stand-up paddleboard, or go snorkeling amid vibrant corals teeming with tropical fish. For scuba divers, incredible dive opportunities abound (at additional cost).

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Belize Barrier Reef, Central Cayes

This second straight day on the reef explores the central cayes. Here, coral patches dot the shallow coastal lagoon, which harbors parrotfish, butterflyfish, octopuses and countless other marine species. Drop anchor nearby and spend the full day within the reef, discovering natural wonders both in the water and out.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Disembark Belize City, Belize to El Remate, Guatemala

Disembark in Belize City and drive to El Remate, Guatemala gateway to Tikal—one of the largest cities in the Classic Maya world. Enjoy lunch on the way before reaching the shores of picturesque Lake Petén Itzá and transferring to the Hotel Camino Real Tikal. Later, set out on an optional birding walk with the naturalists, or take a sunset boat cruise on the lake.

Accommodations

Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Tikal

Spend a full day exploring Tikal, where ancient pyramids tower more than 200 feet; and thousands of temples, shrines and plazas are scattered beneath the rainforest canopy. Discover the site’s archaeological treasures, including the Temple of the Great Jaguar and the North and South Acropolis. Encounter ancient Maya art and hieroglyphs, and examine carved stone inscriptions that illuminate the history and spiritual significance of Tikal.

Accommodations

Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Yaxha

Explore Yaxhá, a former Maya ceremonial center situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxhá Lake. The world’s third largest known Maya site, Yaxhá spreads across nine plazas and contains multiple pyramids, ball courts and stelae. Examine its features with a local guides and, if desired, climb a temple for panoramic views. Later, enjoy lunch at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant, followed by an evening at leisure.

Accommodations

Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
El Remate & Flores, Fly to Guatemala City, Guatemala & Depart

This morning, transfer to the Flores airport for flights to Guatemala City to connect with international flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary; meals as indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes and airport transfers to and from ship.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight from Flores to Guatemala City ($125 per person estimated for 2023 departures; inquire with your Adventure Specialist to confirm); scuba diving (added cost); immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World begins and ends in Belize City, Belize (BZE). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Belize City before 12:30pm on day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Belize City after 2:00pm on day 9. Group flights between Miami, Florida and Belize City, Belize may be arranged. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight from Flores to Guatemala City, Guatemala, is required on this trip’s itinerary; see this trip’s Exclusions for pricing. There is a strict luggage limit of 1 checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs (23 kg) and 1 carry-on bag weighing up to 11 lbs (5 kg).

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving (added cost), kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

Jan 10 - Jan 18, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 9 days
From $6060USD
Per Person
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Jan 15 - Jan 23, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 9 days
From $6060USD
Per Person
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Jan 20 - Jan 28, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 9 days
From $6060USD
Per Person
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Jan 25 - Feb 02, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 9 days
From $6060USD
Per Person
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Jan 30 - Feb 07, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 9 days
From $6060USD
Per Person
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Feb 04 - Feb 12, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 9 days
From $6060USD
Per Person
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Feb 09 - Feb 17, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 9 days
From $6060USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Small Ship & Hotel on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Sea Lion

National Geographic Sea Lion is a tried and true educational-based 62-guest expedition ship. Onboard experts from National Geographic make this ship, and its twin the National Geographic Sea Bird, unique.

Hotel
Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Camino Real Tikal Hotel is located on the remote north shore Lake Petén Itzá, 45 minutes by car to Tikal National Park. The hotel is a convenient, tranquil retreat for exploring the history, culture and traditions of the ancient Mayans.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires October 31st, 2022
$450 Air Credit on 2023 Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World Cruises

Book your 2023 Belize and Guatemala trip and receive a $450 air credit per person.

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Groups Save 5% On National Geographic Expeditions

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on National Geographic expeditions in this special deal.

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Save 10% On Two Consecutive National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

Expert Review

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Lis Larson • January 4th, 2016
Expert Review: Guatemala with AdventureSmith

An AdventureSmith expert visits Tikal National Park, Antigua, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan and the Highlands region.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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8 Day Land Tour
Belize In Style

Experience Belize In Style on this 8-day tour designed for the adventurous traveler interested in luxury comforts. Stay at the world-famous Lamanai Outpost Lodge and in Placencia, a charming Caribbean gateway to the largest reef system in the northern hemisphere.

From $3075USD
Year Round
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8 Day Land Tour
Belize Sacred Caves & Coast

The 8-day Belize Sacred Caves & Coast land-based tour is an inspiring exploration of Belize’s jungles, caves and Caribbean coastline. A luxurious jungle lodge, Maya mountain tour and Placencia beachside cabana ensure the all-encompassing best of Belize.

From $3225USD
Year Round
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5 - 6 Day Land Tour
Chaa Creek Inland Expedition

This 4-, 5- or 6-day, all-inclusive lodge-based trip in the Chaa Creek Nature Reserve offers a plethora of unique Belize adventures to choose from. Explore Mayan ruins, go horseback riding, try cave tubing and more. Experience Belize from charming jungle accommodations on this hassle-free, customizable Belize vacation.

From $1786USD
Year Round
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Experience the best of Belize in a customized and exclusive way on your own Belize charter cruise. Choose from a fleet of private, 6- to 10-guest catamarans, each equipped with a captain, gourmet chef and activity gear including options for fishing and diving.

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Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World

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