Spend the next three (or four) days exploring Chaa Creek and the greater Cayo District of Belize. Upon arrival, work with the tour concierge to choose two full day tours and one half day tour. Additionally, take advantage of unlimited on-site activities each day.
Below is a sample of how you might spend your days with some of our recommended tours.
Featured Full-Day Tours
Caracol Mayan Ruins (Moderate)
Located deep within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Caracol is the largest known Maya site in Belize and one of the biggest in the Maya world. This 55-square-mile Classic Period urban center had an estimated population of 180,000 people. Its central core area covered 15 square miles and was linked together by more than 20 miles of “sacbeobs” (causeways) that radiated outward from its epicenter. The temple “Caana” (Sky Place) rises 138 feet above plaza level and to this day is the largest man-made structure in Belize. Over 70 formal tombs have been excavated and many hieroglyphic texts have been found on stelea, altars, ball court markers, capstones and wall facades. Ocellated Turkeys are common in this area that’s known for its birding.
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (Very Challenging)
This cave, also known as the ATM, is an ancient Maya ceremonial Belize cave rich in both history and artifacts. One of Belize’s most impressive attractions, it is also one of the newest, having only been open to the public since the late 1990s. Although featured in National Geographic, History Channel, Lonely Planet and other publications, a visit to this spectacular Belize cave is still an off-the-beaten track Maya tour that even Indiana Jones would appreciate. After a 1.5-hour drive from Chaa Creek and a 45-minute walk along a jungle trail with three river crossings, arrive at the ATM camp to rest and enjoy lunch. Swim into the partially concealed mouth of the cave and wade along a shallow underground river before scaling ladders that lead to sacrificial altars still surrounded by jade axe heads, pottery, bloodletting implements and other artifacts.
Tikal National Park & Mayan Ruins (Moderate – requires entry to Guatemala)
Tikal National Park, the crown jewel of Mayan archaeological sites, offers beautiful architecture, impressive buildings connected by wide causeways, rich jungle life and relaxed ambience. On this Tikal tour, take in the sprawling capital of one of the greatest empires of the ancient Maya and the most important city-state in the Maya region. This UNESCO world heritage area offers 222 square miles of unspoiled natural beauty and many exotic birds and animals such as tapir, jaguar, crocodile, cougars, monkeys and coatimundi. Tours from Chaa Creek include a lovely 2.5-hour drive through rural Guatemala with knowledgeable guides who note points of interest and make history come alive.
Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve (Moderate)
Be amazed by the drastic change from Broad-Leaf Forest to Pine Forest on this tour. The granite base and limestone overlay of the Maya Mountains form the oldest landmass in Central America. Within the 300-square-mile reserve, encounter an entirely different tropical ecosystem along with its unique flora and fauna. View many varieties of orchids and ferns and watch for rare and endangered bird species such as the orange-breasted falcon and the king vulture. At the end of the day’s trek, refreshing swims in the cascading waters of the Rio On pools will soothe tired muscles and rejuvenate the spirit.
Featured Half-Day Tours
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins (Easy – can be combined with Cahal Pech for a full-day tour)
This major ceremonial center is reached by a hand-cranked ferry that crosses the Mopan River from the village of San Jose Succotz. Take in an impressive view of the entire river valley, including the El Castillo Temple complex that rises 130 feet above plaza level, making it one of the tallest buildings in Belize.
Barton Creek Cave (Moderate)
Explore a stunning Maya ceremonial cave by canoe. This tour to one of Belize’s most fascinating natural and cultural wonders travels about a mile along a meandering river flowing through the beautiful cathedral-like chambers and wide passages of the Barton Creek Cave, which has become a popular attraction in recent years with high standards of safety and environmental protection. Enjoy the waterfalls and a refreshing swim or just relax with a packed lunch amid tropical beauty.
Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins (Moderate – can be combined with Xunantunich for a full-day tour)
The Cahal Pech Maya site and Visitor Center are located in the Cayo District on a hill overlooking the beautiful town of San Ignacio. Its proximity to town and the vast contrast from town life to rich jungle environment make Cahal Pech a unique place to visit. The site center is made up of 34 structures located around several courtyards, including temple pyramids and residential buildings. Preliminary investigations revealed that Cahal Pech is one of the earliest Maya sites in the Belize region of the Maya lowlands, alongside Cuello in the north.
Caves Branch Tubing (Moderate)
Cave tubing in Belize reveals the country’s history, as caves have been an intricate part of the Maya religion and culture. The Maya used caves as ceremonial sites and evidence of these activities can be found for substantial distances inside these caves. Relics, principally in the form of shards of pottery, are very common. Discover spectacular crystal formations over 5,000,000 years old that cast eerie shadows into the black abyss while exploring the most sacred area of the ancient Maya.
Included Unlimited On-Site Activities
At any time, participate in one of a myriad of on-site activities, or simply relax amid the surrounding 400-acre private nature reserve. Chaa Creek’s nature reserve offers a wide range of exciting, educational and healthy activities for adventurers of all ages and abilities, and hosts miles of well-maintained trails for horseback riding and hiking. A cadre of licensed naturalist guides share their local expertise of Belize’s diverse natural history including the fascinating Maya civilization which once thrived in this area.
Canoe trips down the Macal River are a relaxing way to travel through the jungle. Guided early-morning birdwatching offers opportunities to be dazzled. Visits to the reserve’s Natural History Center, Butterfly Farm or Rainforest Medicine Trail add more insight into this Belize jungle tour. Additionally, exquisite pampering complemented by stunning views of the Macal River Valley is always available at Chaa Creek’s full-service Hilltop Spa (additional cost).