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Highlights

  • Discover the diversity of indigenous birds and wildlife at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary on a boat tour of Crooked Tree Lagoons.
  • Check out Crooked Tree, one of Belize’s oldest Creole settlements
  • Journey to the ancient Mayan ruins of Lamanai and Altun Ha.
  • Explore and stay on remote and renowned Lighthouse Reef Atoll, with four nights in a tent-walled cabana at our all-inclusive Adventure Basecamp on Half Moon Caye.
  • Paddle and snorkel ‘the Aquarium,’ as well as Jacques Cousteau’s legendary Blue Hole.

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

The Maya Reef Explorer combines a three day inland adventure to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary with five days at Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a remote tropical marine park and designated world heritage site fifty-five miles off the shore of the Belize Mainland.

Ideal for those wanting to experience both reef and inland, as well as the local Creole and ancient Mayan cultures. Well suited for families and couples of mixed abilities, our Basecamp trips offer a choice of guided activities on the reef and the flexibility for traveling companions to do things together or separately. All abilities welcome! Includes accommodation on the mainland before and after your trip to Lighthouse.

 

Island Expeditions Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5

98%

recommend

62 Reviews

  • Excellent 51
  • Great 11
  • Average 0
  • Disappointing 0
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Maya Reef Explorer

100% Recommend
100% Recommend

I really enjoyed this trip to Belize

4.0
December 2016
Recommend: Yes
I really enjoyed this trip to Belize - it was my first time. I loved the culture, the people are friendly, the weather was good, a little windy for a few days on the reef, but our guides were outstanding at tailoring the activities to meet the weather conditions. The food out on Lighthouse Reef was outstanding, considering the location. I would rate the food at the Lodge as good to very good.

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
It is a Canadian Company located in BC. I know they have been around for a long time. I also explored trip advisor to see how they rated. With all of these being considered, I chose Island Expeditions.
What was the highlight of your trip?:
One of the highlights of the trip on Lighthouse Reef was the early morning yoga with Andrea, it set the tone for the day and I felt yoga was such a positive addition to the whole experience.
Read more
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0

Beyond expectation!

4.0
December 2016
Recommend: Yes
Crooked Tree Lodge was simple, not fancy - but clean and great staff. Our food on Lighthouse Caye was beyond expectation! It was outstanding. So much variety, so fresh. IE took into consideration my daughter's dietary concerns. This was the first time I have traveled to a tropical climate and NOT had digestive issues. We loved Bol, the cook, he took such pride in his food and was great company. We also loved our yoga instructor (Christie), she was delightful! We had an 80 yr old traveling alone, and twin 5 yr olds traveling with their mother, as well as a 20 - something couple, and everything in between. I was so impressed that the guides were able to accommodate the various abilities and ages seamlessly.

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
Recommended by friends. My family loves being busy rather that sitting still and they wanted to learn about the culture and wildlife in another country. This was a perfect combination.
Read more
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0

Lighthouse Reef was fabulous

5.0
December 2016
Recommend: Yes
Lighthouse Reef was fabulous - away from the crowds and worry-free. From the moment we awakened, opened our tent and looked at the ocean yards in front of us the experience was unforgettable. Every good thing we had read about the trip was true, but none discussed the amazing gourmet meals prepared for us and the cultural knowledge and experiences that were shared with us by everyone at camp. I will never forget my first (planned and carefully supervised) wet exit from my kayak, kayak sailing, stand-up paddleboarding over a ray, snorkeling over a small reef to realize I was directly over a shark, and seeing photo luminescence during night snorkeling (which two guides kindly took me on despite no other guest wanting to go after our long day!).
My bird-loving hubby really enjoyed Crooked Tree as well. Surprisingly the zoo was a treat - small, intimate, and close-up to the animals.

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
We saw that REI, an organization we trust, worked with Island Expeditions. The itineraries looked amazing and we liked the idea of using local guides.
What was the highlight of your trip?:
Can't pick just one - Nearly getting sprayed with urine by a tapir (as the guide warned us might happen) - SUP while a ray glided beneath me - Being alone with a guide in the ocean at night, turning off the lights and basking in the soft glow of photoluminescence - Cultural night
What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
Jump in and try everything. I had never done yoga, but enjoyed it each morning on the beach and really missed it when I returned from reality. I was nervous about both night snorkeling and kayak sailing and was so glad I just went for it!
Read more
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Birds Eye View Lodge: amazing location!

5.0
December 2016
Recommend: Yes
Birds Eye View Lodge: amazing location, liked to stroll in crooked tree village in addition to birds' views. The bathroom was a bit small. Lighthouse camp was wonderful. People were extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The weather was hot and windy - no rain. This trip is excellent for nature-loving families with independent kids. Our 7 year-old loved every minute and enjoyed the special attention from guides and others in our group.

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
We liked the style and value that you offer, with emphasis on the quality of guides, activities, and excellent simple food, with relatively basic travel and lodging means.
Read more
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

The guides were all excellent !!

5.0
December 2016
Recommend: Yes
The guides were all excellent and very friendly, funny and mixed well with everyone in the group. I just wish we could have spent longer at Lighthouse Reef.

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
Small groups, experience and very friendly, helpful and informative on the phone.
Read more
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Itinerary

Day 1:

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Birdseye View Lodge

You will have a full day of exploration as you travel overland and by river to the Mayan ruins of Lamanai. With the very best guides you explore the many temples, plazas, palaces, and museums within the park’s boundaries. In the afternoon, you’ll depart Lamanai by riverboat and your guides will help you discover amazing opportunities for birding and viewing wildlife. Iguanas, parrots, toucan, aracaris, and Morelet’s crocodiles are frequently seen while traveling down the New River. You will return turn to your lodge along the banks of the Crooked Tree Lagoons.

Day 2:

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Birdseye View Lodge

Coffee is served at sunrise. With your binoculars in hand, you’ll enjoy the sounds and sights of the awakening wilderness. You’ll also have the opportunity to see hundreds of birds feeding along the shores of the Crooked Tree Lagoons. This protected area was created in 1984 primarily to preserve resident and migratory birds. It consists of a network of inland lagoons, wetlands, and waterways, which shelter one of the world's largest flying birds, the Jabiru Stork. On this day, you’ll enjoy boat tours through the protected lagoons and a tour to the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. Altun Ha is considered one of the major Mayan ceremonial centres of Belize, and functioned as an important trading center between the people of the interior and the coast during the Classic Period (250-900 AD). Within the site, there are more than 275 structures and 250 to 300 unexcavated mounds.

Day 3:

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Half Moon Caye Basecamp 

This morning you’ll travel to Belize City, and board a chartered water taxi to Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Our route takes you along numerous white sand, partially submerged mangrove cayes until you cross Belize’s Barrier Reef. From there, you’ll enter the narrow passages within the Turneffe Islands before crossing the blue waters towards Lighthouse Atoll. Upon reaching our Half Moon Caye Basecamp, your guide team will orient you to your new setting and accommodations. You will receive thorough instruction on the fundamentals of sea kayaking, snorkeling, and safety on the Caribbean Sea. In the afternoon, weather permitting; you’ll have an opportunity to sea kayak and snorkel within this marine reserve.

Day 4-6:

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Half Moon Caye Basecamp

Early risers may want to go for a swim, do some yoga - or just grab a cup of coffee and watch the tropical sunrise. After a healthy Belizean breakfast everyone gathers to plan the day’s activities. The waters of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are exceptionally clear with a fabulously rich reef system, which offers some of the best kayaking, snorkeling, and diving in the Caribbean. Throughout your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to try a variety of activities as you explore this remote and magical part of Belize. Snorkeling at the ‘Aquarium’ is a favorite guest activity. The Aquarium has a profusion of tropical fish and towering coral formations, and is an unforgettable underwater experience. You’ll also be taken on a snorkeling excursion to the renowned Blue Hole, a site made famous by the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau. The Blue Hole is an underwater cave and sinkhole in the middle of the Lighthouse lagoon. In the mornings and evenings, a favorite guest activity is to walk to the red-footed booby colony to watch nesting boobies come in from the sea to tend their nests and feed their chicks.

Day 7:

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Belize Biltmore Hotel

For your last day on Lighthouse Reef, choose from a variety of activities. Don a mask, snorkel, and fins and swim to a favorite patch reef. Circumnavigate Half Moon Caye by kayak or explore by Stand Up Paddleboard. Walk the trails, or beachcomb along the island beaches. Our water taxi typically arrives later in the afternoon to take everyone back to the mainland. The Belize Biltmore Hotel is your final destination for today, a comfortable hotel located on the outskirts of Belize City.

Day 8:

This last day is yours to enjoy at your leisure before you fly home or continue on your travels. Relax by the pool or investigate the optional tours offered by the hotel activity desk.  

Note: Dinner on day 7, and breakfast  and transfer to the airport on day 8 are not included. 

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 1,949

Price Per Day:

$ 244 per person

 
Start DateEnd DateDouble OccupancyTaxes and FeesAvailability 
Dec-16-2017Dec-24-2017$ 1,949$ 330LimitedReserve
Dec-22-2017Dec-30-2017$ 1,949$ 330LimitedReserve
Dec-24-2017Jan-01-2018$ 1,949$ 330LimitedReserve
Dec-30-2017Dec-31-2017$ 1,949$ 330LimitedReserve
Jan-18-2018Jan-09-2018$ 1,949$ 330LimitedReserve
 
Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Island Expeditions
 

Details

Trip Includes

  • Comprehensive pre-trip information package
  • All meals, accommodation, and transfers described in the itinerary
  • Professional Guiding Services
  • Unlimited use of our Equipment and facilities
  • Accommodation the day before the trip ('Day 0')
  • Government Fees & Taxes

Trip Excludes

  • Gratuities
  • Fishing Licenses
  • Scuba Diving
  • International Flights and Airport Departure Tax
  • Extra costs due to late Arrivals, lost baggage and other circumstances beyond our control

Optional Activities

Extensions:  This trip combines well with the  Rainforest Canopy Extension , the  Maya World Extension

Meals Included:

7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches and 6 Dinners

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

6-25 Limited

Start City

Belize

End City

Belize

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations and Refunds

Of course we regret any cancellations and our cancellation policy is as flexible and understanding as possible.  Many of our trip costs are incurred well in advance of trip departures and other travelers may have been turned away because the trip is full. All cancellations must be received at our office in writing and refunds will be issued according to the following schedule:

Holiday Season Departures: (Dec 15 - Jan 1 Each Year)

90 days + prior to departure will be Deposit retained as an administration fee.

60-89 days prior to departure is 70% refund

30-59 days prior to departure will be 35% refund

0-29 days prior to departure will be the full amount retained

Additional Information:

Note: Dinner on day 7 and breakfast and transfer to the airport on day 8 are not included.

Trip ID#: MayRefIsl

 

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