Ruins to Reefs

Ruins to Reefs: Experience the two pillars of Belize’s beauty by visiting the most popular Mayan ruin sites in Western Belize and then exploring the Mesoamerican Reef.  Some of the most mysterious and largest Mayan sites are located within the immediate vicinity of San Ignacio, a small town in the Cayo District equally known for its nature, cultural, and adventure activities.  After a few days inland at Chaa Creek wandering through the Mayan Underworld and climbing to the top of pyramid structures, you’ll head to the coast for your stay in the small Garifuna village of Hopkins.  Here, you’ll have beachfront access and endless opportunities to explore some of the world’s best dive and snorkel sites within a short boat ride of your award-winning hotel, Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort.  When you’re not out on the water snorkeling, diving, or fishing, relax by the pool or head into town to taste some delicious Caribbean cuisine while watching typical Garifuna drumming and dance.

Destinations: San Ignacio, Hopkins Village

Duration: 8 days

*Price Range: $$$

*Rates inclusive of full vacation experience – hotels, tours, domestic transfers, and tax (excluding international airfare).  Actual price based on length of travel, number of travelers/rooms, seasonal rates (high, low, peak), number of tour activities, and mode of domestic transportation.

$$$: At or under $1,200 per person

$$$: $1,200 – $1,800 per person

$$$: $1,800+ per person

  1. Day 1

    Fly into Belize Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE). Outside the airport you’ll find your private driver who will be holding a sign with our logo and your name on it.  They will then assist with your luggage and drive you from Belize City to San Ignacio.  Feel free to stop at anytime during your private ground transfer for photo opportunities, restrooms, lunch, or to simply stretch your legs.  If you’ve arrived early enough in the day, make this private transfer a tour transfer to experience cave tubing, the Belize Zoo, and/or a canopy zip-line in route to San Ignacio.  Check into the iconic, “wildly civilized” Chaa Creek, one of Belize’s most famous and established eco-retreats.  Chaa Creek is located on a 365-acre nature reserve and offers guests a host of on-site activities with easy access to the area’s Mayan sites such as ATM Cave, Tikal, Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, and Caracol.

  2. Day 2

    Wake up to the sounds of the jungle with tropical birds and howler monkeys.  Enjoy a fresh, delicious a la carte breakfast in the early morning before your day of adventure in the Mayan Underworld cave system!  Choose between two different cave adventures – wade through an underground river in the famous sacrificial Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM Cave) or canoe through the ceremonial Barton Creek Cave.  Return to Chaa Creek in the afternoon and explore their on site butterfly farm and medicinal plant trail.

  3. Day 3

    Today you’ll have the opportunity to explore more Mayan sites above ground!  Choose between one of the nearby options, Xunantunich and Cahal Pech (or both), with time before or afterwards to walk around San Ignacio.  If you’re visiting San Ignacio on Saturday, be sure to check out the local market for fresh produce and artisan souvenirs.

  4. Day 4

    If you didn’t have a chance to experience cave tubing on Day 1, make sure to enjoy cave tubing in route to Hopkins at either Jaguar Paw or St. Herman’s Cave.  For adventure seekers, take a plunge as you rappel 500 feet down into the Black Hole.  After you adventure activity of choice, enjoy lunch and continue your journey onwards to Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, a beachfront oasis and award-winning eco-resort located in the friendly Garifuna village of Hopkins.  Enjoy a refreshing cocktail by the pool or swinging from a hammock in the shade of palm trees.

  5. Day 5

    There’s no better way to start the day than a fresh, tropical breakfast consisting of in-house sweet breads, fruit, locally made yogurts, granola, eggs, coffee, hot tea, and fresh juice.  After you’ve fueled up for the morning, hop aboard one of Hamanasi’s three boats for a day of snorkeling or diving the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef.  Divers can choose from many famous dive sites including Glover’s Reef Atoll, Turneffe Islands, Gladden Spit (seasonal whale sharks), and the famous Blue Hole (Lighthouse Reef Atoll).  Snorkelers will enjoy Belize’s warm waters, shallow reefs, calm currents, and clear visibility (between 60-80 feet).  For the adventurous diver, sign up for a night dive this evening!

  6. Day 6

    Enjoy another day snorkeling or diving the world famous Mesoamerican Reef.  Intermediate and experienced divers can try their hand at spearfishing Lionfish to catch lunch or dinner while helping to rid the reef of the invasive specie.  Learn how to clean your lionfish catch and reap the delicious reward for dinner that night, prepared to your liking!

  7. Day 7

    Enjoy your last full day at Hamanasi Resort lounging around the pool or on the beach.  Alternatively, take a bike into Hopkins to explore the friendly Garifuna village in search of a souvenir.  In the afternoon/early evening, splurge on a spa treatment in the privacy of your room or enjoy a sunset cruise to celebrate a successful Belize vacation!

  8. Day 8

    If there is time, stop at Marie Sharp’s factory where you can take a quick tour and purchase sauce and jelly souvenirs.

  • Stop at the Belize Zoo to get within inches of a jaguar or hand-feed a tapir!
  • See “The Crystal Maiden” skeletal remains in the ATM Cave
  • Visit Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Mayan sites
  • Snorkel or dive the second largest barrier reef in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site – The Mesoamerican Reef
  • Swim alongside whale sharks or spearfish lionfish for your evening’s dinner

Best for: Family, Couple, Eco-Tourism, Nature/Marine Lover, Luxury

Bucket list experiences: Belize Zoo, Mayan ruins (ATM, Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, Caracol, El Pilar, Tikal), rainforest, monkeys, markets, cave tubing, Inland Blue Hole, Black Hole rappel, zip-line, waterfalls, snorkel, dive (Glover’s Reef Atoll, Turneffe Islands, Gladden Spit, and The Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef Atoll). spearfishing, whale sharks, Garifuna community, Garifuna drumming, Mesoamerican Reef, Marie Sharp’s, beach

Accommodations & Location:

Chaa Creek, San Ignacio

Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort, Hopkins

Every Central America Vacation itinerary includes 24/7 in-country support.  We’re here with you every step of the way to insure the best experience possible, from the initial planning stages to the moment you’re on your flight home!