Mayan Jungle Ride

Interior Belize: (IT-BESR02)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/belize_mayan_jungle_caracol.aspx

Introduction
Interior Belize
Enjoy an amazing adventure vacation in the jungles of western Belize.

During your stay, you will have the opportunity to ride to hidden caves, remote waterfalls & more. This trip is an excellent blend between cultural activities, adventure and nature immersion.
You will have the opportunity to see many birds and possibly other wildlife such as Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, Puma, Ocelot, Tapir and more. You will also discover Mayan ruins and remote villages. The avid swimmers, will be fully satisfied with many occasions to cool off in beautiful and remote water holes.

Your evenings are spent in an award-winning ecological lodge surrounded by the Jungle. You will remember this enchanting place forever!
Accommodations consist in tastefully decorated rooms with a comfortable bed and ensuite facilities. The sounds of nature will ease you to sleep every night.

One of the highlight of your trip will be the visit to the beautiful Maya archeological site of Caracol!

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a stationary ride, so all nights are spent at the same location.

Description
You are accommodated in an award-winning environmentally sustainable lodge, located on 105 of Nature Reserve surrounded by the jungle.
The owners wanted to create an eco-friendly lodge and therefore the lodge produces its own electricity thanks to solar panels. For this reason, the standard electric outlets have been replaced by USD outlets. This means that hairdryers and curling irons cannot be used. We do have, however, a room where guests can charge their computers or other electronics through standard outlets.
Each of the 10 spacious cabanas are elevated and designed to naturally stay cool, taking advantage of natural ventilation and convection, as well as cooling river breezes. To supplement our ‘natural breeze’ cooling system we have industrial ceiling fans in all cabanas. 
It should also be noted that our running water is supplied by rain water and water from the nearby river.

Complimentary WiFi is available free of charge in guest common areas.
The Internet is made possible by multiple towers beaming the signal to us from town. This connection can be affected by rainy and windy weather, as well as by local anomalies such as power outage in town or the number of people using the system at the same time, so it may be slower or unavailable from time to time.

Please, note that there is little to no cell service available at the lodge.

International Phone Service  is available for an additional fee.
Laundry service is available at BZ$20 per load (wash, dry, and fold), and is sent out to our laundry facility in Cristo Rey Village each day.

Room Options
- Garden View Cabanas (1 Queen bed) - can accommodate up to 2 people
- River Valley View Cabanas (1 King bed + 1 futon ) - can accommodate up to 3 people
- Jungle View Cabanas (1 Queen or King bed + 1 futon + enough room for a 2’ x 6’ camp cot & a 4” foam mattress) - can accommodate up to 5 people (ideally, 2 adults and up to 3 children)
- Rainforest Cabin (1 large bedroom with a king bed + 1 small bedroom with bunk beds) - can accommodate up to 5 people

Garden View Cabanas (“Aracari” & “Kiskadee” Rooms) - can accommodate up to 2 people
The 2 adjoining Garden View Cabañas share a single building and palm-thatched veranda overlooking the tropical flower garden. They are within easy walking distance of the dining room and bar. These rooms each have 1 Queen sized handcrafted four-poster bed made from indigenous My Lady trees, tiled floors, private hot water bath with a large river stone-lined shower and an industrial ceiling fan.

Jungle View Cabanas (“MotMot”, “Oropendola”, & “Great Currasow” Rooms) - can accommodate up to 5 people (ideally, 2 adults and up to 3 children)
Larger and more private than the Garden View Cabañas, the Jungle View Cabañas are spacious, stand-alone rooms offering either a queen-sized or king-sized handmade four poster bed, full sized futon, private thatched roof veranda, and gorgeous views of the surrounding jungle. These rooms all have tiled floors, private hot water river stone-lined showers, 2 industrial ceiling fans and a hammock.

River Valley View Cabana (“Laughing Falcon,” “Little Blue Heron,” “Purple Gallinule”, & “Kingfisher” Rooms) - can accommodate up to 3 people
Our most secluded and spacious rooms, these cabañas are prized for their stunning views of the Macal River Valley. Each room is equipped with industrial ceiling fans and private hot water baths with large river stone-lined showers. They feature a large, palm-thatched veranda, a king-sized four poster bed, 1 full-sized futon, and hardwood floors.

Rainforest Cabin - can accommodate up to 5 people
Formerly the abode of the owners, this 2-bedroom/one-bath cabin features a covered veranda, multiple ceiling fans, and mixture of hardwood and ceramic tile flooring. The master bedroom contains a king-sized bed and panoramic views of the surrounding jungle. The smaller second bedroom is perfect for the kids, with one set of bunk beds. The bedrooms are linked by a half-bath, and there is a second sink basin and separate stone-lined shower room to help as everyone is trying to get ready at the same time.

Please, let us know what is your preferred room type at the time of booking.
Up to two children under 18 years of age can stay in the parents’ room free of charge (including the addition of one camp cot). If additional beds are needed to accommodate children of any age or if there are more than 2 children in the room, then an additional fee applies. Cots and additional bedding arrangements must be requested in advance.


Meals
All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on your last day. Breakfasts and Dinners will be taken at the lodge, while lunches will be provided by the ranch during day rides.

At the lodge, the chefs combine the freshest local products and their skill to serve guests with delicious dishes. The majority of fruit, herbs and vegetables come from our working farm, and our eggs are delivered by our free-range chickens. We use local fishermen and fish farms to provide fresh fish and seafood, and we purchase all meats locally. Whenever available, ingredients used in our gourmet dishes are produced within Belize.
The lodge's farm is currently cultivating Valencia oranges, Key and Tahitian (Persian) limes, several varieties of mango, and coconuts. Additionally, we produce our own avocados, chaya (a local green favored by the Maya), star fruit, sapodilla, grapefruit, craboo, breadfruit, and soursop (guanábana). During different times of the year we also grow a small selection of vegetables and fresh herbs. All of the flowers and plants you see at the lodge are grown on the farm in our very own landscape and flower nursery. We encourage guests to walk around the farm via the main road and to help themselves to any of our tropical fruits. Our only rule is that you must eat what you pick!

Early Breakfast: Packed breakfasts are available for departures prior to 6:45 AM and when ordered at least one day in advance.
Full and Continental Breakfast: Served between 6:30-9:30 AM. Menu changes daily & offers a choice of 4 items.
Snacks & Homemade Desserts: Served all day.
Dinner: Served between 5:30-8:30 PM. Menu changes daily and offers a choice of two starters and two entrées with special selections for specific dietary needs. Private candlelight dinners are also available for a small fee and with advanced notice.

During full day rides, you will be provided with a packed lunch. In case of half-day rides, lunch will be cooked at the ranch's Cantina. 

Dietary Restrictions
We can accommodate most dietary restrictions if notified prior to arrival.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
Riders must be comfortable at a walk, trot, and canter. It is important that riders are capable of strenuous uphill hikes in order to reach the waterfall and caves.

Pace
The ride will move slowly up and down any steep, rocky paths and will increase in speed to include canters and maybe gallops once a plateau is reached. Our half day and full day rides include breaks for swimming, caving, and picnic lunches.

Terrain
We select only the most interesting routes, passing through varied ecosystems, which our knowledgeable guides carefully explain. We will identify traditional uses of plants, visit Maya ruins, and of course enjoy the exhilarating experience of riding through a pristine environment.

Horses 
We started a breeding program about 10 years ago for American Quarter Horses crossed with regional stock. We currently have 25 horses leaving on a 150 acre ranch. Being well-trained and cared for, the horses have a gentle disposition, are sure-footed, and are conditioned for stamina and endurance. We take care to match the rider with the most suitable horse.

Equipment
It is important that riders wear riding boots, hiking boots, or tennis shoes (with socks), and long (preferably single-seamed) trousers or jodhpurs.

Insurance
Please make sure you are covered by travel and medical insurance for unforeseen situations. 

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
If you arrive by International flight, you will be met outside the arrival zone at the Airport by a driver who will be holding a sign with your name on it. Alternative pickup locations can be arranged and rates may vary. A stop at the Belize Zoo can be added to your arrival or departure transfer depending on arrival time (Zoo closes at 3:30 pm). 
Depending on arrival time, you may enjoy some of the lodge activities such as: a refreshing swim in the pool, a hike on the trails, river tubing, canoeing and more. Or relax and decompress to the sounds, smells and views of the jungle river valley from your own private hammock. Enjoy your first dinner & cocktails in the open-air fine dining restaurant.  Alternatively, an intimate private deck dinner service can be arranged for an extra fee (to be paid at the lodge).
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Lodge


Day 2 (Sunday): Ride to an ancient Mayan cave 
Breakfast is served starting at 6:30 AM.  At 8:00 AM, a driver will transfer you the ranch. Please be ready in your riding cloth. We will provide water, lunch, a small saddle bag, a beach towel and poncho. You will receive an oral orientation before being introduced to your horse and embarking on a full day of horseback riding. Today's ride is through the rainforest to an ancient Mayan cave. You will explore and discover interesting formations and evidence of the Mayan culture in pottery remnants and potsherds that are hundreds of years old. After the cave, refresh yourself with a cool dip in the crystal clear waters of Butterfly Falls and feast on a gourmet picnic lunch. Return to the ranch between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. After a refreshing beverage, you will be driven back to the Lodge, a 30-minute drive. Return to your Cabana to freshen up for dinner and lively conversation with your hosts and other guests.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Lodge


Day 3 (Monday): Ride to Barton Creek
Morning routine repeats.  Another full day of horseback riding awaits. Today, we will ride to Nohoch Sayab River cave at Barton Creek. The trail meanders through the village of El Progresso, where refugees from El Salvador settled over 30 years ago. The trail also crosses a Mennonite community where you can observe ancient farming practices such as horse-drawn buggies, plows, and mills (Please respect them and refrain from taking their photos). As you make your way down the steep narrow road to the valley floor, you will be astounded by the size of fruit trees and tropical flora in the fertile Barton Creek valley. Arriving at Mike’s Place, you will tie your horses and embark on a canoe (3 pax per canoe) and paddle deep into the sparking stalactite formation river cave. Your guide will point out Mayan artifacts and significant features. We recommend bringing your own headlight (a spotlight will be provided). There are facilities for changing into a swimsuit if you wish to take a refreshing dip before lunch and mounting for the return climb up and out of the valley. You will pass through jungle and farm-land, therefore giving you the opportunity to see a wide variety of bird species, including the brilliant Vermillion Flycatcher
Then, we will transfer you back to the lodge.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Lodge


Day 4 (Tuesday): Half-day Jungle Ride & visit
This day begins with a beautiful half-day jungle horseback ride followed by lunch at the ranch's cantina. The destination for the half-day ride is a secluded hidden valley where you will ride along a winding creek and enjoy the exotic tropical vegetation and excellent opportunities for sighting colorful rainforest birds and iridescent butterflies. During the ride, there are excellent opportunities for seeing birds and possibly wildlife as the valley is home to Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, Puma, Ocelot, Tapir and more. There are opportunities to canter in some places. 
After lunch, you will return to the Lodge for a chance to shower and change clothes. Then, your guide will accompany you tour a Mayan site followed by shopping or optional cultural tours in San Ignacio or simply experiencing the ambience of the lovely town of San Ignacio at the confluence of the Mopan and Macal Rivers where they merge into the Belize River. You will then return to the Lodge for dinner and a relaxing evening.
Riding time: approx. 2.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Lodge


Day 5 (Wednesday): Visit of Caracol (no riding) 
Today, you will visit Caracol (Spanish for “snail”), located about 2 hours' drive away from the Lodge.  Caracol is the most spectacular Mayan site in Belize, as well as one of the most impressive in Central America.  Once home to as many as 200,000 people–more than half of the entire modern-day Belizean population, Caracol was a metropolis with five plazas and thirty-two large structures covering almost one square mile including Belize’s tallest manmade structure, the temple of Ca’ana.  Altogether there are some 35,000 buildings at the site, though only a handful have been fully excavated. Your day will end off with a leisurely stop at either Rio On Pools or Big Rock Falls for more breathtaking scenery and a swim. Be sure to have your camera batteries fully charged and a fresh memory card available, as not only the grand Mayan architecture but the surrounding jungle and wildlife will keep you snapping photos all day long. 
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Lodge


Adventure Level: Moderately strenuous.  An amazing, but very bumpy 2-hour drive on unpaved road takes you through the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Elijio Panti National Park, and the lush broadleaf rainforest of the Chiquibul National Park.  Choose to climb to the tops of the temples to add an even greater adventure level.
What to Wear: Shorts or lightweight long pants, shirt, and comfortable walking shoes. Bring along your bathing suit to change into for swimming after touring the ruins. A hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent are recommended, as well.
Restrictions: This tour is not for those who suffer from car-sickness. Rio On Pools is the recommended choice for those with more limited mobility and for children under 5 years of age.

Day 6 (Thursday): Ride to Big Rock Falls  
Today is a full day of riding to the Big Rock Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The trail passes through rainforest, and varied ecosystems before making its way up into the Mountain Pine Ridge. After about two or two and half hours you arrive at the waterfalls. Your horses will be tied while you hike down a steep path to the river.  Enjoy your specially prepared lunch and a refreshing leisurely swim before returning to the horses for the ride back to the ranch. We sometimes see jaguar and puma tracks on the trail so it’s always a good idea to “keep your eyes peeled.” Your guide will point out features, birds, and will discuss traditional medicinal uses of plants and trees.
Riding time: approx. 4-5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Lodge


Day 7 (Friday): Ride through Slate Creek Preserve 
Your last day of riding will be another jungle ride, an immersion into the rainforest and a visit to a lovely hidden valley filled with giant fruit trees. This is the heart of Slate Creek Preserve, the creek of the same name meanders through this incredibly rich and beautiful valley surrounded by forested hills.  Your guides will continue to show you traditional uses of the plants and trees you are passing. You will return to the ranch's cantina for lunch and say goodbyes to your guides and other staff.  Travel back to the Lodge for a free afternoon.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Lodge


Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
Day of departure. The time of departure will depend on your plans or flight times. Transfer from the Lodge to International Airport or Belize City by vehicle is included.  Contact us for rates to other desired destinations.  There is a local airport, Maya Flats, outside San Ignacio if you want to fly to the islands or other destinations offered by Tropic Air and Maya Island Air. There is no additional charge for transfer to Maya Flats.
Meals included: Breakfast

Note:  The order of the rides in this package can be changed at the operator's discretion.  We will do our best to offer all activities but there will be no refund for services we are unable to perform due to circumstances out of our control, such as weather or other abnormal events.

Self-guided on-site activities (included in your package):
o Upstream Canoeing
o Lazy River Tubing
o Hiking
o Birding
o Farm Animal Feeding
o Swimming in the Macal River and Jungle Infinity Pool

Activities & Services offered for an extra fee:
- Babysitting
- Half-day canoe trips to San Ignacio with a naturalist guide
- In-Room Massage


Rates and Dates for Mayan Jungle Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations in Garden View type rooms, All meals, Transfers, 4.5 riding days, Excursion to Caracol, Entrance fees, GST & Room Tax
Non Riding Activities: Canoeing, Tubing, Hiking & Bird watching.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20208 day Lodge Ride and Tour, AP (High)$2520
    • Single supplement$610
  • B
    20208 day Lodge Ride and Tour, AP (Mid)$2345
    • Single supplement$610
  • C
    20208 day Lodge Ride and Tour, AP (Low)$2235
Gratuity:
10 to 15% recommended.
A gratuity is already included in the package for the riding portion of the trip.
% (Tip paid Locally)

Rates Note:

Possible upgrade to other room categories at extra cost - please inquire

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
Gratuity: 10 % (to be paid locally)

Rates Note:

Possible upgrade to other room categories at extra cost - please inquire


Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2020 Transfer from/to Belize City included
2020 Discount for triple or quad occupancy -- please inquire

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
C 2020 07/25 - 08/01 8d / 7n 8 day Lodge Ride and Tour, A... 4 /12 Expired
C 2020 08/08 - 08/15 8d / 7n 8 day Lodge Ride and Tour, A... 4 /12 Expired
B 2020 12/05 - 12/12 8d / 7n 8 day Lodge Ride and Tour, A... 4 /12 Reserve
B 2020 12/12 - 12/19 8d / 7n 8 day Lodge Ride and Tour, A... 4 /12 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities, Alcoholic beverages or any bar or gift shop purchases & Belize departure tax of 39.25 USD (often included in airfare)

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Mayan Jungle Ride with Caracol excursion (IT-BESR02):

We suggest travellers whose trip is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to postpone their trip to a later date.

We are waiting for detailed protocols for tour operators from the Belize Tourist Board (BTB) before we can implement new safety protocols.  We plan to comply with all guidelines.  We already practice social distancing asking all riders to stay at least a horse length apart. We will of course be having them wash hands and will offer hand sanitizer.  Guests will need to wear masks around other people but not while riding. They will need to bring their own.  Other than those things we will see what BTB suggests.


For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Belize City
Airport: Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize (BZE)
Transfer: Belize City

Climate:
                                                Belize City area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

83

84

86

88

89

89

89

89

89

87

85

83

Average Low Temperature (°F)

68

70

72

75

77

78

77

77

76

75

72

70

Average High Temperature (°C)

28

29

30

31

32

32

31

32

32

31

29

28

Average Low Temperature (°C)

20

21

22

24

25

25

25

25

25

24

22

21

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

12

6

4

4

6

11

14

13

14

15

13

11

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Belize has 2 distinct seasons: 
- The rainy season (varies considerably month to month) occurs between June and January with rainfall averages ranging between 60 inches/1,524mm in the north to 160 inches/4,064mm in the south. The rainfall is variable from year to year. The number of rainy days varies considerable from place to place. Many of these rainy days are insignificant though, with early morning showers (called "night rain" by the locals). These "night rains" are caused by cool air moving down from the mountains which cools the air along the cost causing a light rain. Hurricanes may occur between June and November.
- The dry season usually spans from February to May.

The overall climate of Belize can be described as sub-tropical and it is cooled by the trade winds from the Caribbean Sea. The humidity while high is seldom oppressive for long and is most noticeable along the coast.
During the winter months (November through mid-March) Belize can experience the influence of cold fronts from the north (bring warm clothing such as fleeces, sweaters, and wind breakers if travelling during that time). In general, the hottest days can be expected during the end of the dry season, from the end of April to May.


Special note - Insects
Although we do our best to keep insects to a minimum, this IS the jungle and insects, as well as other wildlife, are part of our surroundings and help keep nature in balance. Most insects are harmless and merely a nuisance, such as the doctor fly (deer fly), which can leave you itchy but doesn’t carry disease. But there are other bugs, such as scorpions or bees, which can give a painful sting or be a special concern for those guests with allergies.
We recommend wearing insect repellant which contains a small amount of DEET and/or baby oil (baby oil keeps your skin slick so small insects like no-see-ums can’t land on you), checking your shoes and shaking out your clothes and bath linens before putting them on or using them and pulling back your bed linens before climbing in.
Find a staff member to help remove an insect if you are not comfortable doing so, or to treat a bite or sting if necessary.

What To Bring:

This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher

Flight tickets

Passport

Visa (check with your consulate)


RIDING GEAR

Jeans – single seamed or jophurs

Light boots or ankle high shoes

Riding helmet (recommended for all trips)

Riding gloves

Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection


PERSONAL CLOTHING

Light cotton clothing

Long and short sleeved t-shirts

Long pants

Shorts

Underwear and socks

Bag for dirty clothes

Light summer jacket

Tennis shoes for camp

Bathing suite

Bandanna


ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING

Personal Toiletries

Insect protection

Personal medications

Sore cream (for the emergency)

Sewing kit

Handkerchiefs

Camera and enough extra films

Belt pack

Torch with spare batteries (Maglite or similar)

Sun glasses with strap

Sun protection  and lip balm


You will entering a sub-tropical rainforest environment.  It may rain, it may be hot. We will do our best to keep you comfortable, but please come prepared with the following items:
- Hat
- Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
- Sunscreen. Use a UV factor 15 or better sun block.
- Insect repellent. Please use care when using the repellent. It is best to spray repellent on while outside.
- Prescription or over-the-counter meds you use regularly
- Extra pair of prescription glasses (if needed)
- Sunglasses
- Binoculars & cameras
- Long pants & shorts
- Swimsuit
- Long and short sleeved shirts
- Sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots
- Sandals or flip-flops & water shoes

We recommend to dress lightly, preferably with cotton clothing rather than synthetics.  Casual dress is the order of the day and evening, with shorts acceptable everywhere, and you may need a light jacket during the months of June-August, and November-March, preferably waterproof.
For any explorations on foot, we recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots with a good tread.
On the rides, you must wear long pants and closed-toe shoes or boots. 
We also recommend you bring a swimsuit with you on the rides (placed in the saddlebag) as there will be many swimming opportunities. 

We can provide the following items during the rides:
- a poncho, in case of rain
- fresh/pure water for our guests. No need to take water filters/purifiers. 
-  saddle bags. 

It is possible to store passport, extra money and other small valuable items in our safe.