Discover the Wild West like no other. Explore, learn and be amazed by the abundant wildlife that call this Eco-adventure destination home. The wide range of options for high adrenaline adventure awaits in the Cayo District. Ride horseback through the jungle, early morning and late evening bird watching. In addition to exploring the ancient Mayan caves and archaeological sites or visit the butterfly farm or green Iguana project.
Where is the Cayo District?
The Cayo District is Belize’s western most district and the official western border crossing into Guatemala at Santa Elena. In fact, some 90,000 people call this eco-tourism destination home. The Cayo District takes in more than 2,061 square miles (5,338 km²) of tropical forest, rolling hills, rich pasture land and vibrant rivers. In addition to housing an amazing assortment of Maya archaeological sites.
While 4 days isn’t enough to see the whole country. However, it does allow enough time to see some of the main highlights within the Cayo District. There are so many options available to every traveler, talk to a Travel Specialist about your trip plans for recommendations.
Day 1 – Xunantunich by Horse back
The adventure begins with a fun Horse Back Ride on a riverside trail along the Mopan River Bank. This trail will lead you through natural habitat for birds, green iguanas and several other intriguing Belizean Wildlife. The Trail ends on the banks of the Mopan River in the village of San Jose Succutz. Straight ahead an ancient hand-cranked ferry awaits to transfer you across the river. The tour of Xunantunich (pronounced “shoo-nan-too-NEECH”) lasts about an hour, after which you will return to your mount and make your way back to the start of your journey.
Xunantunich is a site from the Classic Period. It is relatively small and very easy to move around. El Castillo, the massive 120 foot-high main temple, was built on a leveled hilltop with a spectacular 360-degree panorama. As a result, you will be able to view the Mopan River Valley, while looking across Belize’s Cayo District and into Guatemala. On the eastern wall of El Castillo is a reproduction of one of the finest Mayan carvings in Belize—a frieze decorated with jaguar heads, human faces, and abstract geometric patterns telling the story of the Moon’s affair with Morning Light.
Day 2 – Cave of the Stone Sepulchre – Actun Tunichil Muknal
Taking a journey into the Mayan underworld at Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM), or the “Cave of the Stone Sepulchre”, will be one of the most enlightening, epic, and unique experiences of your life. Recently deemed the #1 Sacred Cave destination in the world by National Geographic, the ATM cave is not only beautiful geologically, with its crystalline stalactites and stalagmites, but also historically, as is a natural museum of ancient Mayan artifacts, as well as a sacred burial place.
At the cave entrance, your guide briefs you on the cave’s historical facts, then we gear up with helmets and head lights. The hike inside the cave entails very short swims and mostly wading through the river. Admire the myriad cave formations until reaching the hidden dry chamber. Here your guide explains the Maya rituals while you awe at the magnificence of this ancient tomb.
Leave your cameras behind and experience the power of ancient spirits with your mind, body, and soul. This is not only a physical adventure, but a journey into the spiritual realm
Day 3 – Black Hole Drop
The black hole drop is a fantastic adventure tour for all ages. Explorers will visit the “Mother of all Caves” Actun Loch Tunich. Today your adventure starts with a vigorous hike up into the foothills of the Maya Mountains. The Actun Loch Tunich sink hole sits over 300 feet above the basin below, and 200 feet above the rain forest canopy that grows out from the sink hole basin.
The first 10 feet provides the adrenaline, the next 200 feet provides an unforgettable experience and sights to behold. While the last 100 feet takes you down through the rain forest canopy. The sink hole is not actually black, but you can’t see the bottom from where you start on top. Once you’re at the bottom of the sinkhole you will enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. After a return hike which including some rock climbing, ladder climbing, and a lot of sweating. You will enjoy a short ride back to the lodge for a dip in the pool with a well-deserved cold drink.
Day 4 – Guatemala for the day – Tikal Archeological Site
Tikal is an ancient Mayan ceremonial center located just across the border in Peten, Guatemala. Located 19 miles north of Lake Peten Itza and the quaint town of Flores. Tikal is known for its massive pyramid temples, monumental plazas, palaces and stelae. This is a very significant site in the history of the region. Tikal was the most powerful metropolis in the area for many centuries. It was a prominent player in the Mesoamerican trade route, which extended up through Belize, into Mexico and beyond.
You will also have time to view wildlife such as howler monkeys and coatis. However, you will also enjoy birding as you spy parrots, toucans and oscillated turkeys among the trees. As well as sample some of the local culture of modern day Guatemala. After an extensive tour of the site we make our way to a local restaurant for lunch.
Best Places to Stay
Depending on what your taste, style and budget you are sure to find the perfect accommodation in Cayo. Ask our Travel Specialist to provide you with the best recommendations.
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