Belize Adventure Week, our 8-night jungle/island combo trip is on sale!

Caves Branch River, Belize Belize snorkeling

 

January 5 – 12
January 12 – 19
Belize Adventure Week, Sat – Sat, 8 nights
10% off! $2155.50 US pp ($2395 pp regular rate)

Imitated but not equaled, Belize Adventure Week is widely acclaimed as one of the top adventure travel experiences found anywhere. We specialize in adventure sport activities led by expert guides. In one action-packed tour you experience fifteen sports in eight days!

Our adventure begins with an exploration of spectacular Che Chem Ha, where we see Mayan pottery left by shamans over a thousand years ago. That afternoon we run a whitewater river on sit-on-top boats. The next day we travel two hours to Tikal in nearby Guatemala. These impressive ruins have been expensively restored, representing the largest Mayan city every uncovered. Finally we raft and kayak the Caves Branch River through nearly five miles of caves. Navigating by headlamp, we explore hidden chambers on this unique underground journey. Midweek we transfer to our private island for three days of island sports.

The World of the Maya, meaning Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras, made CNN’s list of the World’s Top Destinations for 2012 the network announced Tuesday. CNN’s editors relied on recommendations from four travel experts: Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet; Martin Rapp, senior vice president of leisure sales at Altour; Anne Banas, executive editor at SmarterTravel; and Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor for Orbitz.com.

The Mayan region was second in the list behind England and beat out Myanmar, Chicago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Netherlands, Atlantic Canada, Uruguay, and Orlando in the top nine.

“Some see it as an approaching apocalypse, others as the beginning of a new era. Whatever your beliefs are about December 21, 2012, interest is skyrocketing in the Maya, the ancient civilization known for the great cities it left behind in Mexico and Central America.

The date marks the end of a 5,126-year cycle on the Long Count calendar developed by the Maya, and there will be events on the occasion in Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras, Banas said.

If you want to see incredible ruins, Reid recommended skipping the tourist hordes at Tulum and Chichen Itza in Mexico and instead head to places such as Tikal, Guatemala (which George Lucas used as a location in the original “Star Wars”), and Chiapas, Mexico.

Reid was once exploring a site near Comitan, Mexico, and said he was astonished to discover he was the only person there.

“I had a pyramid to myself,” Reid said. “You’re just looking out over this mountainous valley, and you have the complete Mayan site to yourself. It’s an unreal travel experience.”

Join us on Belize Adventure Week in 2012. We visit a Mayan ruin, two Mayan ceremonial caves, as well as run rivers, and kayak and surf on our island 35 miles off the Belize coast.

Can’t decide between windsurfing, fishing, rafting, snorkeling, caving, or kayaking on your next adventure? Who says you need to?

Belize fly fishing
Fishing for bonefish at Glovers Reef

If you are in seeking an active vacation based out of your own private island, then start packing your snorkel gear!

There’s a little slice of paradise with your name written in the sand; it’s called Adventure Island at Glover’s Reef, 35 miles off the coast of Belize. And it doesn’t hurt that the water is 80 degrees.

Slickrock Adventures bought the island in the early 90s. The owners (that’s us) are former river guides from the Western US, and we have created a premier Belize resort, with more water sport toys than any other location in Central America. Multisport vacations in desirable locations are becoming one of the hottest segments of the travel industry, and the more sports the better. Slickrock’s Belize Adventure Week, an 8-day, action-packed itinerary, will satisfy both the athlete AND the escapist in you.

Macal River in Belize
Macal River, Belize

This adventure tour starts out at a jungle lodge in the Maya Mountains. Over several days you explore a whitewater river by kayak, an underground river by raft, Tikal Mayan temple in nearby Guatemala, and a Mayan ceremonial cave, deep in the jungle.

After all this activity it’s actually relaxing to arrive on the island where you only have sea kayaks, surf kayaks, windsurfers, and paddle boards waiting for you. You can paddle off to some coral patch reefs or receive windsurfing and kitesurfing instruction from expert North American and Belizean guides.

This eco-lodge is powered by the sun and wind with a little bit of propane thrown in to cool the beer. Beach front cabanas perched right over the surf will have you belting out the words to Gilligan’s theme song in no time.

This all inclusive Belize package is offered weekly from December – April.

(Thanks to Vladimir Brezina and Susan Tesarik for the images above.)

Crystal Paradise Belize
My room at Crystal Paradise

Yesterday I flew to Belize for my Belize Tourism Board tour of hotels in Belize. I arrived one day early to visit Crystal Paradise Resort, our new Cayo eco-lodge. We will be staying there for two of our Belize packages next season… our Belize Adventure Week trip and our Mayan Odyssey tour.

Crystal Paradise was built by the Tut family. They own 21 acres outside of a small village called Cristo Rey, which is about 4 miles from San Ignacio, the largest city in western Belize, and the center of inland tourism in Belize. All around the countryside here there are numerous eco-lodges, from a couple of small cabanas in someone’s backyard to very high-end boutique spa resorts, nestled along river banks and beneath the tall jungle canopy.

Belize bird platform
Their bird platform

Jeronie Tut gave Mary Avila and I the ten dollar tour, what a fantastic place! I saw every room, hiked down to the Macal River, climbed their bird platform, ate two fabulous meals there, listened to the birds early this morning, and even got to tour his private home that he built with local woods using the timber frame technique.

San Ignacio hotel
Crystal Paradise cabana porch

I can’t say enough good things about Crystal Paradise. It’s a medium-priced lodge, in a very quiet part of the country, but only 20 minutes from downtown San Ignacio. They offer horseback riding, birding, and caving. Every staff member is part of this large Belizean family. They built the whole thing themselves, using material from the jungle right on their own property. They have the really good kind of thatch (bay leaf palm) instead of the kind our staff knows how to build with that we use on the island (cahune palm). Their place is very nicely done.

Crystal Paradise is going to be the perfect home-base for our Mayan tours in Belize. We prefer a spot that is isolated, quiet, and small so that our guests feel like it really is their home. The rooms are spacious and private, and on good days, he even has internet access! And the location in Belize is close to all of our inland adventures: right on the Macal River where we teach kayaking, near Che Chem Ha Mayan cave which we explore, and near the road to Tikal, which we also visit on one day of this Belize adventure. On the way to the island we run the Caves Branch River, arguably the best one day activity in Belize, an underground river run by kayak or raft.

Now I am sitting in the bar at Ka’ana Boutique Resort outside of San Ignacio, waiting for the rest of the travel agent group to arrive. Tomorrow we tour something like six hotels, visit Cahal Pech ruin, and drive to Mountain Pine Ridge! Oh boy, it’s going to be fun!

Cayo eco resort
Crystal Paradise open air, self service bar

We launched the inaugural version of Belize Adventure Week in 1996. We were the first outfitter in Belize to offer an adventure trip that combined jungle and sea sports. It was wildly successful and soon every other lodge in Belize chose to flatter us (as the saying goes); within a few years there were copycat versions of our itinerary offered all over the country.

This adventure vacation has evolved over the years… as we learn more or certain places get too crowded we tweak it a bit to improve it. The current version of this fabulous multi-sport trip includes whitewater kayaking on the Macal River in the Maya Mountains, underground rafting and kayaking on the Caves Branch river, caving into Che Chem Ha Mayan pottery cave, and an exploration of Tikal Mayan ruins in nearby Guatemala, the premier ruin in the region. After these first three action-packed days inland, we venture out to our private island for sea kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayak surfing, sport fishing, kayak fishing, paddleboarding, and board surfing on our private wave. That’s 15 sports in one week! Despite all of the imitations, no on can match that we are proud to say. This is the most active vacation offered in Belize.

Crystal Paradise Resort BelizeThis season we are improving it once again with a new jungle lodge for our inland base. We will now be accessing the rainforest areas of Belize from Crystal Paradise Resort, located just outside of a small village in Western Belize called Cristo Rey. Located on the Macal River, and hand-built by the Tut family of Belize, we are thrilled to boast that this is one of the few lodges in the Cayo region actually owned and operated by a Belizean family. Please visit their website to learn more about their remote Belize jungle lodge. They specialize in Belize birding tours with their own tour company, so this will be a new emphasis for us. We might have to start claiming it’s now 16 sports in one week and add birding to the list!