Ancient Sites, Forests, Reefs
Travel with Experts
Each voyage is accompanied by an experienced team of expedition staff and lecturers who are intimately familiar with our destinations. Read More ↓
2017 Belize Tours Available
8 Day – Belize & Guatemala
4 Day – Optional Pre-cruise extension to Tikal
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2017 Belize Tours Available
Ancient Sites, Rain Forests & Coral Reefs
On this journey, you will be an explorer, cruising up a wild river, listening to the calls of exotic birds and the howls of monkeys. You’ll experience the teeming marine life of Belize’s Barrier Reef. And you’ll be part of expeditions into the jungle to discover the lost world of the Maya.
Experts will introduce you to the wonders of a magnificent world that is home to countless tropical fish and several varieties of other marine life. Snorkelers can make their own discoveries along Half Moon Caye, while birders can visit the permanent colonies of frigates, red-footed boobies, and turtles.
Join us aboard the Yorktown for an unforgettable journey to find archaeological and natural treasures.
Optional Pre-cruise Extension to Tikal
Tikal is perhaps the most magnificent and significant site in the Maya world. The fabled site is dominated by five huge pyramid-temples that rise over 190 feet from the ground. Surrounding the temples are hundreds of other buildings, while others remain hidden beneath mounds of soil, trees, and vines. It is estimated that only about 7% of the site has been excavated so far, but what visitors see reveals the ingenuity of the Maya.
Tikal is located deep in the thick rain forest of the Parque Nacional Tikal, which is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including howler and spider monkeys, parakeets, and toucans. Explore the site leisurely, and observe the wildlife.
Paradise is closer than you think.
Stretching for 190 miles off the coast of Belize, the Belize Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems. Researchers have identified 70 species of hard coral, 36 species of soft coral, 500 species of fish, and hundreds of species of invertebrates. And in all probability, these finds represent only 10 percent of the marine life of the reef.
No journey to Central America would be complete without visiting Maya sites, and our itinerary includes Quirigua, famous for its collection of magnificently carved stelae that represent Maya kings and priests, and Lubaantun, a ceremonial center where all the stone structures were built without mortar: Maya masons cut each block so carefully that they fit perfectly together, like a jigsaw puzzle in stone. If you wish, you can join a pre-cruise excursion to Tikal, one of the most magnificent Maya sites, famous for its soaring pyramids.
Belize is an ecological marvel. Its rain forests are home to jaguars, howler monkeys, ocelots, and giant tapirs. Its lush plant life attracts more tropical birds than any other place in Central America, including the keel-billed toucan and the hoatzin bird. Along the banks of the jungle rivers grow mahogany, campeche, sapote, and the towering ceiba, one of the tallest trees in the rain forest. Overhead, flowering vines link the trees, creating a gorgeous jungle canopy. To safeguard this extraordinary habitat, the people of Belize have set aside forty percent of their nation as protected zones—the highest percentage of any country in the world.
Travel and learn with a team of experts
Each voyage features an experienced team of expedition staff and lecturers—naturalists, Mayanists, archaeologists, scientists, and leaders who are intimately familiar with our destinations. Through a series of lectures and informal discussions, they will introduce you to the culture, history, architecture, art, botany, birds, wildlife, and marine life of these unforgettable lands. Among the experts you may travel with are:
Expedition Leader John Frick has been an active traveler for the past thirty years, and his wanderlust continues to lead him to far-flung and exotic locations. Among the places he has called home are Alaska and the village of Tansen in western Nepal, where he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in science and math education. For over 15 years, he has led groups on programs throughout Central America, the Galapagos, the Mediterranean, Antarctica, and several other regions of the globe. He especially enjoys sharing his expertise in stargazing and astronomy with his fellow travelers.
Juan Jose Apestegui
Naturalist and ornithologist Juan Jose Apestegui was born and raised in Costa Rica. JJ is a world-roaming naturalist who has lectured and led groups for the last 20 years. He has trained extensively in natural history at the University of Costa Rica and the National Apprenticeship Institute in San Jose. He also maintains a keen interest in cultural and historical characteristics of the places he works in and visits.
Naturalist and photographer Jonathan Green studied Geology and Geography at the University of North London. After completing his degree, he moved to the Galapagos, training as a naturalist at the, Charles Darwin Research Station. He has spent the last 20 years working as a diver, photographer, and naturalist in the Galapagos, Central America, Andes, Amazon, and Patagonia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London.
Naturalist and field biologist Chris Cutler studied biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he began several years of investigation of birds and marine mammals. He developed monitoring methods for forest bird communities and studied various threatened and endangered species of birds and mammals. Other research has included studies of seabird biology, passerine migration, avian song, sea turtle reproduction, and cetacean ecology in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Keenly interested in ecology, evolution, and conservation, he is an engaging interpreter of the natural world and a lifelong student of its endless lessons.
Renowned epigrapher and translator of the Paris Codex, Bruce Love has more than 35 years of experience working at ancient Maya sites. He has published a number of books and articles on subjects ranging from contemporary Maya ritual practice to hieroglyphic writing of the Maya Classic Period (a.d. 300-900). Dr. Love’s broad range of interests include hieroglyphic texts from more than a thousand years ago, sacred books of the calendar priests from just before ,Spanish contact, the survival of Maya culture into the Colonial Period, and the contemporary Maya of today.
Stephen L. Whittington
Bio-archaeologist Stephen L. Whittington, Director of the Museum of Anthropology and Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology at Wake Forest University, has directed archaeological projects and analyzed ancient Maya skeletal remains at various ancient Maya sites. He was co-editor, with David Reed, of Bones of the Maya: Studies of Ancient Skeletons and co-author, with Roger Nance and Barbara Borg, of Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Iximché. He has curated three museum exhibits about the Maya and recently wrote a catalog, Art of Sky, Art of Earth: Cosmic Imagery in St. Bonaventure University’s Maya Collection.