Amazing Mainland Adventures
Here are some of the MUST Do Tours when visiting mainland Belize
You will arrive in this amazing country by air, boat, car, or even a bus. Though a small country, only about the size of New Hampshire, Belize is amazingly diverse. The country is complete with mountain ranges, the jungle, and a coastline on the Caribbean Sea. It’s a favorite location of eco-tourists and adventure seekers who love to get down and dirty, burn tons of calories, soak up the sun, and forget about the stress and chaos of their everyday lives. Here is our list of Must Do excursions when visiting this amazing country.
We highly recommend Cave’s Branch for your cave tubing adventure. Cave tubing is one of the most popular Belize adventures. Doesn’t matter if you are young or old, almost anyone can enjoy this excursion. Many of us would enjoy floating in an inner tube, gliding through the caves in cool water, while your experienced guide shares stories of the Mayan culture who inhabited these magnificent caves many, many years ago! So, sit back and enjoy the ride. The Caves Branch River flows through Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve. You will be escorted through this rare cave system, as all who enter are required to go with an experienced guide to take you on your cave tubing journey.
The park entrance has restrooms and outdoor shops for your every need and to make sure your Cave Tubing adventures will not soon be forgotten. If needed, you can find a waterproof phone case, some sunscreen, bug spray, maybe a light snack, and plenty of handmade crafts created by the local vendors. Once you have geared up with your helmet secured with a headlamp, life jacket, and, of course, your inner tube. It is time to start your 20-40-minute trek into the jungle making your way to the cave entrance. The manicured trail is wide and easy, all you need are some good wet walking shoes and of course don’t forget your sense of adventure.
Along the way, your guide will point out and educate you on the many jungle plants, some of which you many even get to taste, some that have healing powers and some that are poisonous. The jungle is also home to many interesting species. You may spot a howler monkey high above the trees or even a toucan. It is an easy walk, you will for sure warm up and be ready to dip into the cool waters of the cave opening upon arrival.
After a nice little swim, it is time to gear up to head down the long winding cave. Your guide will tie each of you to one another as he/she takes the reins and leads you in. You will float among the stalactites, as your head lamp lights the way. These beautiful stalactites are home of countless bats who live deep within the caves. Don’t be afraid, just keep your eyes on alert. The journey consists of the many Mayan stories told by your guide. You may also get to make a short stop to climb among the cave and even take a jump off a small cliff into the refreshing crystal-clear water. Once back on your inner tube, to continue through the deep dark grotto. The expedition is coming to an end when you see the sunlight, you will continue to float through the waters until it is time to depart, with a short hike back to camp. We are thrilled to bring you this adventure as we agree that this is one amazing tour for all ages in the great country of Belize.
Cave Branch also offers another fun adventure. So, while you are there, you should take advantage of the canopy tour on zip lines! This is one of Belize’s most popular recreational activities for the whole family. At Cave Branch safety is the number one priority and they have implemented standards to ensure that zip lining is as fun and safe for all. From the young at heart to the young of age, everyone will endure this exciting adventure and will experience an adrenalin rush. Arriving at the beginning of your jungle adventure, you will be fitted with your own safety harness. Your guide will break down all that you will see and what you can expect while on the canopy tour.
The first platform is the icebreaker, a short trial run which is 130 ft. long and 10 ft. high for those who are still a little anxious. As you climb the staircase higher and higher into the jungle, to each platform, the remaining runs vary from 400ft to 600ft with the longest being 1000ft above the trees, crossing over the Caves Branch River. Be on the lookout for the Slated Tailed Trogan or maybe a Curasows (wild turkeys), a Gray Fox, the Keel Billed Toucan, Collard Aracari, The Coati Mundis, and even Howler Monkeys are some of the frequent animal sightings. Belize Happy Adventures recommends this as one tour to try while here in Belize.
Of course, you can’t talk about Belize tours and not mention the Maya Ruins. There are many to take advantage of while on the mainland. The Maya civilization has permanently marked the landscape, with these nine historical sights in modern day Belize: Xunantunich, Lamanai, Altun Ha, Caracol, Cahal Pech, Santa Rita, Cerro Maya, Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun. Known as the hotbed of the ancient Maya world, Belize once was home to more than 2 million Mayas. The Maya legacy consist of pyramids, sacred temples, and with advanced science, the Maya’s are legendary. The Maya’s were an advanced civilization supported by boundless agricultural farmlands and trading centers, for more than 2,000 years. The Maya Empire emerged around 350 B.C. in the tropical plains of Belize, and northern Guatemala, while they reached their peak from 250 A.D. to 900 A.D. The arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century brought the beginning of the end of the Maya culture which had already begun to decline. The many cities and monuments were left abandoned possibly war, the breakdown of government structure or poverty. We suggest be accompanied by a local tour guide as their expertise in the history of the Maya culture makes for great stories to make this one our must do’s while in the jungle of Belize.
The Belize Zoo
The Belize Zoo is not like your typical Zoo, it is so much much more! The Belize Zoo started in 1983, to provide a home for an assortment of wild animals in Belize. When this little back yard “zoo” started, the Belizeans who would visit were not familiar the many different species of wildlife that thrived in their own country. This very aspect catapulted the commitment to develop the small backyard zoo into an influential wildlife education center.
The Belize Zoo houses over 175 animals, representing over 45 native species. The Zoo manages animals that may have been orphaned, rescued, or some that were even born at the zoo, some were rehabilitated animals, or even a few that may have been donated to The Belize Zoo from other zoos. We highly recommend a visit to the Zoo as it is the best way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize. One thing The Belize Zoo does is bring you closer to the animals. You may get nose to nose with a Toucan, or just a foot away from a tapir, up close and not too personal with a crocodile. We recommend taking a turn in the jaguar cage, while it is a little extra cost but worth every video or picture you take! You will be taken into the Jaguar cage, put into a smaller cage within his cage. Once in and secured, the zookeeper lets out the jaguar! He is trained to come and sit on the cage aroused by the treats the zookeeper has enticed for him. It is an adrenalin rush exhibit that only happens in Belize!
You really can’t talk about the Jungle unless you take in the beautiful water falls! Belize is home to an amazing number of waterfalls too, most of which are conveniently located inside the country’s many national parks. Here is a list of the top 10. Antelope Falls located in the Mayflower Bocawina State Park. Davis Falls which is the second largest water fall in the country. The Thousand Foot Falls located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and is the tallest falls in Central America. Big Rock Falls which is also in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve bodes to be the largest of falls. Bocawina Falls, known for its many bird species, great place for a cool swim! Butterfly Falls, this beauty is only accessible from the Hidden Valley Inn located in south central Belize. Maya King Falls is located near Placencia, we suggest a guided tour to enjoy the full experience. The Tiger Fern Waterfall is located in the Cockscomb Basin, these lovely falls, will take you on a 1 hour hike each way, you will take in the exotic plants and maybe some animals along the way. Five Sisters Falls, appropriately named after the five individual portions that make up the falls. Come and enjoy the pools in this luscious green jungle atmosphere. Ben’s Bluff Waterfall, located in the Belize Stann Creek area, the trail to get there maybe a bit strenuous in some spots, but most visitors will be able to make the 3 mile trek.
The Actun Tunichil Muknal (also known as the ATM) tour is not for the faint of heart as this is a rigorous adventure. The guided trip into the famous ATM Cave starts with a scenic 45 minute hike through Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, moving across the clear rivers and exploring under the jungle canopy.
You will know you have entered the beginning of the cave once you have reached the clock shaped entrance. Your guide will gear up with a helmet, headlamp and life jacket. First is the refreshing swim across a clear turquoise pool, here you will enter the cave. Once here now begins the hiking, climbing, weaving, and winding your way through the darkness of the cave. Your very experienced guide will point out every possible place to avoid injury. You will observe the giant shimmering rock formations surrounded by thick stalactites dripping from the ceiling and stalagmites growing from the cave floor. If you are physically fit, we highly recommend this exciting adventure.