Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Set out from the state-of-the-art National Geographic Quest to kayak and paddleboard turquoise lagoons, and board Zodiacs to cruise wildlife-rich coastal rivers.
  • Spot turtles, rays, and rainbow-colored fish while snorkeling or diving the coral gardens of the Belize barrier reef.
  • Venture into the jungles of Guatemala with local experts to discover the spectacular Maya cities of Tikal and Yaxhá.
  • Join a naturalist for a hike in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first jaguar reserve.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Embark on a unique land-and-sea expedition to discover the marine wonders of Belize and the Maya ruins of Guatemala. Snorkel amid hundreds of species of fish and corals on the Belize barrier reef with the National Geographic Quest as your base for exploration. Skirt the shores of white-sand islands by kayak and stand-up paddleboard, and swim in turquoise lagoons teeming with marine life. Then venture to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tikal and other intriguing Maya ruins to encounter thousands of ancient temples and shrines scattered beneath the rain forest canopy.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 

Day 1: U.S./Guatemala City, Guatemala/Puerto Barrios

Arrive in Guatemala City and connect with our charter flight to Puerto Barrios. Upon arrival, transfer to Puerto Santo Tomás, where we'll embark the National Geographic Quest.

Meals Included:Dinner
Days 2-3: Monkey River, Belize/Belize Barrier Reef

Sail the southern coast of Belize to the mouth of Monkey River and board Zodiacs to cruise inland through the Belizean jungle in search of toucans, green iguanas, and myriad bird species. This afternoon, we begin our exploration of the Belize barrier reef, second to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in terms of biodiversity. Take to the warm waters by snorkel, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. For certified scuba divers, incredible dive opportunities abound.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 4: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary/Manatee or Sittee River

Spend the morning discovering the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first jaguar reserve. Join our naturalists for a hike along one of the reserve’s many nature trails to photograph tropical plants, scan the treetops for winged wonders, and spot the tracks of tapirs and jungle cats. Visit a Maya handicraft center, then cruise the mangrove forests of the Manatee or Sittee River. Tonight, an internationally acclaimed drumming group, The Garifuna Collective, joins us on board for a festive music performance.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Lighthouse Reef

Sail to Lighthouse Reef and go snorkeling, paddleboarding, diving, or kayaking inside its fringing reef. The shallow lagoon is dotted with hundreds of coral patches that harbor parrotfish, butterflyfish, octopus, and other marine species.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Puerto Santo Tomas, Guatemala/Flores

Disembark in Puerto Santo Tomas and catch our charter flight to Flores, gateway to Tikal—one of the largest cities in the Classic Maya world. Enjoy lunch on the shores of picturesque Lake Petén Itzá before transferring to our lakefront hotel. Later, set out on an optional birding walk with our naturalists, or take a sunset boat cruise on the lake.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Camino Real Tikal
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 rain forest 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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Camino Real Tikal
Day 8: Yaxhá

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 your local guides and, if you wish, climb a temple for panoramic views. Later, enjoy lunch at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant, followed by an evening at leisure.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Camino Real Tikal
Day 9: Flores/Guatemala City/U.S.

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast

Optional Extensions

Optional Extensions