Best of Belize: Snorkeling, Kayaking & Culture

Destination: Belize

| Activities: Snorkeling, Kayaking, Wildlife, Culture

The best of Belize! The Paradise Islands of Belize, located in the less developed southern region of Belize's Barrier Reef, remain close to a pristine marine ecosystem. We'll kayak through the shallow reef-strewn waters, snorkel to our hearts' content, go to sleep lulled by the sound of ocean waves breaking on the shore, and fill each day with lots of exercise, delicious food, and the kind of relaxation that stems from immersion in a very different world and way of life. Then it's back to inland Belize, exploring wildlife sanctuaries, lagoons, and the ancient Mayan ruin of Lamanai. We'll experience true Belizean culture and see how these ancient economies have transitioned to the current day world. This is the perfect vacation for anyone with some kayaking and snorkeling experience and has an appreciation for other cultures. Maximum group size: 12


  • Kayak in warm Caribbean waters over reefs full of diverse marine life
  • Snorkel among reefs teeming with brightly colored fish
  • Try your hand at kayak sailing or stand up paddle boarding
  • Learn about the flora and fauna that inhabit this unspoiled marine environment
  • Exploring inland Belize including world class birding, lagoons, waterways, and a Mayan ruin
  • Becoming steeped in Belizean culture, current and past
  • Stay in small, hospitable, locally run lodges
  • Feast on freshly prepared Belizean cuisine

Departures and Prices

January 24 to February 02, 2025
$4895.00 - Available
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February 21 to March 02, 2025
$4895.00 - Available
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  • A local Belizean guide (male) for groups of 8 or less, a local guide and an AGC guide for groups more than 8
  • A Belizean guide team for the inland portion of Belize
  • Nine nights lodging as described, and meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on the last day
  • All snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle-boarding equipment
  • Transportation within Belize including an airport pickup, if you arrive on Day 1, and an airport drop-off at the end of the trip.

What's not included: Travel to and from Belize, alcoholic beverages, snacks, guide gratuities, and travel insurance (Effective July 12, 2022, all Foreign Tourists entering Belize will have the option to purchase the Belize travel insurance. It is no longer mandatory but is highly recommended by the Belize Tourism Board.

Trip Info

This trip is designed for women in good condition who want an active vacation in a warm winter environment. Our days are full, although there is time to relax built into each one and also the option to opt out of some activities if you want more downtime. The kayaking and snorkeling on this trip are truly intertwined, as we will do most of our snorkeling from our kayaks. The most kayaking we do in one day is 6 miles, with 3-4 miles being more typical. You should have some prior kayaking experience and be comfortable on the water as you may be paddling in rough or windy conditions at times. Rating: 1 [2] [3] 4 5.

We'll kayak, snorkel, and swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean. The coral reefs of Belize are known for providing both an excellent snorkeling environment and (usually) tranquil water. Some kayak experience is required; your guides will teach you safety skills and basic boat handling and paddling strokes. The kayaks are primarily double kayaks, but you can talk with the guides while you are on the trip if you would like the opportunity to try a single kayak.

One night will be spent at the Tropical Education Center in Belize City, adjacent to the Belize Zoo. The Center has rustic forest cabanas, each on a raised platform, fully screened and equipped with two twin size beds complete with linens. One full size bed is available upon request. There is a shared shower and restroom facility for the cabanas.

Two nights at Tobacco Caye Paradise is a small Belizean-style vacation property with six private "over the water" beach cabanas. All cabanas face north to the Belize Barrier Reef and have wonderful decks perched over turquoise tropical waters. Each deck has a hammock and an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea. The accommodations are clean, comfortable and charmingly rustic. There are five 1 bedroom / 1 bathroom cabanas, and one 2 bedroom / 1 bathroom cabana. Each bedroom has either one or two beds. Each cabana has a private bathroom and cool (unheated) rainwater-fed showers .

We'll spend three nights at IZE on South Water Caye. Seaside cabanas are nestled in the mangroves on the eastern shoreline of the island to take advantage of the cooling trade winds. They are so close to the water's edge that you will awaken to a view of the barrier reef and the sound of waves gently lapping the shore beneath you. The cabanas have private bathrooms with hot water showers.

The last three nights will be at Bird's Eye View Lodge, a family owned lodge in standard rooms with two double beds and en-suite bathrooms.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Arrive at the Belize International Airport by 2:00 p.m. today. You'll be met and transferred to the Belize Biltmore Plaza where the group gathers at 3:00 p.m. From there we go to the Tropical Education Center, adjacent to the Belize Zoo and our lodging for the first night. We will be staying in Forest Cabanas, situated in the midst of idyllic tropical pine forest with a network of interpretative trails and wildlife viewing platforms at our doorstep. You can start getting ready for the adventure at the Interpretive Centre, which details the diverse ecology of Belize and is an ideal introduction. About 6 p.m. we'll gather for introductions and share a "Welcome to Belize Dinner." If you're not too tired, we highly recommend joining us for an optional nocturnal tour of the Belize Zoo. Jaguars, ocelots, tapirs and other native species provide our first introduction to Belize's amazing wildlife. Overnight at the Tropical Education Center. (D)
Our first day in the Tropics. We start the morning with a drive over the Maya Mountains to our Operations Base in Dangriga. Here we'll transfer all our items into dry sacks (provided) and hop onto a charter boat that takes us to our first of the aptly named Paradise Islands on the Southern Barrier Reef. We'll meet our Belizean guide team who will give us an overview of tropical marine safety. We'll then begin with kayaking instruction: safety, group and self-rescues, and touring techniques with an emphasis on how to use our muscles most efficiently and how to get in and out of kayaks safely. If you've never received formal instruction, you'll be surprised how much a few basic tips can improve your kayaking. After a break for a swim, some time to explore the island shoreline, and a tasty Belizean lunch, we'll practice our new strokes and become familiar with the local waters. We'll return to our lodging, enjoy drinks and dinner, and be lulled to sleep by the sound of ocean waves. Overnight on Tobacco Caye. (B, L, D)
For those who love the early morning, watching the sun rise is the perfect way to start your day. After breakfast we'll have our first snorkeling demo and instruction, learning both beginning and advanced skills as appropriate, at the Tobacco Caye cut and outer reef walls. In the afternoon we'll paddle to nearby reefs to snorkel and explore healthy and vibrant coral and brightly colored fish. Staying right on the Barrier Reef in the heart of the Southwater Caye Marine Reserve, we are ideally situated to explore all the surrounding reefs and cayes. We'll return that night to our lodge on Tobacco Caye and another delicious dinner. (B, L, D)
This morning we'll pack all our personal gear into our kayaks and paddle south along the Barrier Reef crest to South Water Caye and our lodge for the next two nights. We'll start with an introduction to kayak sailing - nothing like letting the wind do some of the work for you! We'll paddle and sail our kayaks along one of the most beautiful sections of the entire reef system. The clear, shallow waters reveal an abundance of marine life: southern stingrays, eagle rays, nurse sharks (they're safe, don't worry), grouper, and more. Landing on the beach near our lodge, we'll be glad for a cold drink, a chance to relax, and a swim to cool off. In the afternoon we take a short paddle to a nearby island that is home to the Smithsonian Institute, here we are treated to a tour of the research lab. As the sun sets it's time to enjoy a well-earned dinner that will recharge us after our full day. Overnight South Water Caye - IZE. (B, L, D)
We're staying at the same lodge tonight, so we have lots of flexibility today and lots of time to kayak, snorkel, fish, enjoy the marine life of Belize and - dare we say it - even relax if we choose. We'll explore both the inner and outer walls of the reef, follow wandering paths through mangrove ranges, and dip into protected lagoons. We gain insight into the lives of the fishermen who make this area their home and their living from the sea. Ho Hum, just another day in Paradise. Overnight South Water Caye - IZE. (B, L, D)
Today we spend our last full day kayaking to Billy Hawk Caye, formerly a Garifuna Fishing Camp, located in the Blue Ground Range. Arriving in time for lunch, we'll have time to relax in the most idyllic hammock setting and recharge for an afternoon of snorkeling. Sadly, we leave our kayaks on this island and enjoy a fun boat ride back to South Water Caye. This evening we'll celebrate our final evening together with a feast and a chance to enjoy island festivities. Overnight South Water Caye - IZE. (B, L, D)
After basking in Belizean island life for a week, it's time to explore the culture, flora and fauna of inland Belize. After a boat ride to Dangriga and a short in-country flight, we will take a van ride to our new home for the next two nights, Bird's Eye View Lodge. Located in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary the lodge sits along the banks of the Crooked Tree Lagoon, a protected area created in 1984 primarily to preserve resident and migratory birds. Tonight, we enjoy a home cooked dinner that incorporates many ingredients grown right on the property. Overnight Bird’s Eye View Lodge. (B, L, D)
Today we have a full day of exploration as we travel overland and by river to some Mayan ruins. During our exploration of the New River en route, we'll learn the history of this ancient mahogany trading route. In addition to the large variety of bird species (including parrots and toucans), monkeys, crocodiles and other animals may also be seen. What a way to arrive at Lamanai, the site was one of the longest continuously occupied Mayan cities, from about 500 BC to 1675 AD. During our guided tour we'll thoroughly explore the many temples, plazas, palaces, and museums within the park boundaries. Perhaps we'll meet one of the four troops of howler monkeys that make their home here. About 3 miles of walking, with frequent stops to listen and explore these historic ruins. We'll welcome the return to our lodge along the banks of the Crooked Tree Lagoons for another delicious dinner. Overnight Bird’s Eye View Lodge. (B, L, D)
Today we will enjoy an extended tour of the Crooked Tree lagoon, a network of inland lagoons, swamps, and waterways, where you will discover just how aptly named the Birds Eye View Lodge is. There are literally hundreds of species within the sanctuary, including, snail kites, tiger herons, snowy egrets, ospreys, black collared hawks, and the reserve's most famous resident, the massive jabiru stork. Our Belizean guide knows the species well and will be identifying them for you along the way. This afternoon we'll experience hands-on demonstrations of what has sustained the economy of the local Crooked Tree village over hundreds of years, including a rice and log dye presentation and a museum tour. (B, L, D)
DAY 10
Soak up the last morning in paradise with a leisurely breakfast before a transport back to the airport. We will have you back to the Belize International Airport in plenty of time for flights out after 12:30pm. (B)


(26 reviews)
4.2 Food
4.4 Lodging
4.9 Safety

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Most Recent

Nancy S.
4 months ago

A super group of compatable travelers and guides who paid attention to what we were interested in doing. The destination was beautiful and allowed me to see more of a country than just one spot.

Heather T.
4 months ago

This was an excellent trip for a first time solo traveler. We kayaked, snorkeled, fished, stand up paddled, stargazed, saw Mayan temples, went birding, and learned about the diverse culture and history of this beautiful country. All of this, while being gently organized by a local and AGC guide.

Laurie L.
4 months ago

Beautiful diverse location

Robin B.
4 months ago

Peggy E.
4 months ago

All of the adventures on the water and what the guides had to do to make it all happen.

Suzanne W.
4 months ago

lots of snorkelling excellent local guide (Wilson Ascencio) rekindled my love of birding

Amy S.
5 months ago

I enjoyed the locations, the guides, and meeting new people! The Islands and snorkeling were my favorite!

Sharon L.
5 months ago

Lainie was a great guide. She really made an effort for each person; whether to help arrange transport for those that needed to leave early, or for finding a way to do something that may not have been on the agenda. She spent time with each person to get to know them. Our local guides were also excellent. Belize had been on my list of places for many years so having the opportunity to see many aspects of it was great. And with Lainie’s encouragement, I went SCUBA diving for the first time. With our local guide Ben, I was able to stand up and paddle on the SUP. With Wilson, becoming a bit of a birder. The people we met and traveled with also made it such a good trip.

Diana V.
6 months ago

Karen M.
6 months ago

Kip B.
1 year ago

The guides, both AGC and the local guide, are incredibly knowledgeable about birds and other wildlife.

Cathie D.
1 year ago

The other women in the group and all the help and knowledge from our two guides.

Barbara B.
1 year ago

The trek across the barrier reef from Tobacco Caye to South Water Caye was amazing. The islands had a good vibe too - it is very special to get away from tourists in the Caribbean. The women were great too. Everyone seemed to get along with each other.

Bonnie S.
1 year ago

I loved the cabana at Tobacco Caye. It felt like a tropical escape- like being a beach bum. The zoo was better than I expected. Having the howler monkeys waiting for our boat at the Mayan temple was a great touch.

Marjorie L.
1 year ago

Israel our guide

Juanita C.
1 year ago

New challenges, amazing array of interesting women, helpful and inclusive Excellent guides all over

Michele W.
1 year ago

The variety of changes in location/accommodations with rotating roommates was great. Excellent guides; Alexa, Israel, Bryon

April B.
2 years ago

The gentle support provided by the guides. The chance to meet other women from around the states.

Victoria L.
2 years ago

Spending 5 days on Belize’s Barrier Reef snorkeling during the day and at night.

Libby D.
2 years ago

The guides showing us fish. The guide identified 63 species of birds. Loved learning to sail a kayak.

Betty B.
2 years ago

The location is magical to experience. Activities are well planned and just challenging enough to give you a thrill and a sense of accomplishment when you DID it!

Joan S.
2 years ago

The knowledge and competency of the guides; our AGC guide Linda and our cultural guides, Israel and Clint.

Kristine K.
2 years ago

The variety of activities that were provided each day, if you chose to participate, were well organized and presented in a very welcoming and non threatening way. The islands were beautiful, laid back and comfortable. The knowledge of the guide brought the trip to another level.

Char R.
2 years ago

This trip went above and beyond expectations. With Linda (our AGC guide) and Israel and Clint (our Belizian guides) our days we’re full of activity options. The island accommodations were not crowded with tourists. Our guides gave us thoughtful guidance and kept us safe while trying out new water sports.

Louise W.
2 years ago

The location, the activities, and most of all the guides!

Lisa J.
2 years ago

The local guides - they were the best!!

  1. I have never kayaked before, is this the right trip for me?

    We suggest that you have at least some kayaking experience and feel comfortable in a boat. You should also feel comfortable with swimming and being in the water. Some of the snorkeling is out in the open water so being able to get in and out of your kayaks is important.
  2. Where do we eat?

    You will be eating all your meals at the family-run lodges where you're staying.
  3. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  4. Are there bothersome insects?

    Some women have noticed sand flies in the evening at dinnertime, especially when the typical breeze isn't blowing, but they haven't been at a level that impacts anyone's trip.