Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

SPECIAL OFFERS

Complimentary Roundtrip Airfare on Select Expedition Cruises

Book by July 31, 2020 and receive free round-trip economy group airfare between Miami/Guatemala City. Or, upgrade to Business Class for just $550, subject to availability. Complimentary air is based on economy group flights and must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions. In the case that Lindblad's group flight is not available at time of booking, we reserve the right to issue a credit. Baggage fees may be additional. New bookings only and not combinable with other offers or pre- or post-extensions. Call for details.

  • 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
Accommodations:

National Geographic Quest for the entire voyage

Days 2-3: Belize Barrier Reef

We explore more of the Belize Barrier Reef in the central cayes, with an opportunity to visit the Smithsonian-operated research station at Carrie Bow Caye. Here, we learn about the comprehensive studies being conducted on the reef ecosystem, including the biodiversity, evolution, and ecology of its organisms and communities, effectively ‘taking a pulse’ of the reef. The surrounding area offers outstanding snorkeling and diving, with vibrant corals and an incredible undersea diversity--a tropical paradise both above and below the surface of the Caribbean.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 4: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Today, explore 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 and marvel at the work of traditional artisans. 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: Monkey River/Belize Barrier Reef

Early this morning, we board local boats to cruise inland through this coastal river system. Along the river, lined with cecropia and kapok trees, the throaty roars of mantled howler monkeys echo through the canopy, green and spiny-tailed iguanas languidly laze on overhanging branches and little blue herons, males adorned in their exquisite blue and purple plumage, work the shallows watching and waiting for small fish, frogs and crustaceans. This afternoon we return to the reef, this time in the reef's southern cayes, and go snorkeling, paddleboarding, diving (additional cost and requirements), 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 Tomás, Guatemala/Flores

Disembark in Puerto Santo Tomás 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