Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve • Xunantunich Maya Ruins • Red Bank Macaws
Doyle Gardiner who was born in Placencia and knows the surrounding jungle intimately. His family goes back several generations on the peninsula and he followed in this parents footsteps in tourism. At a young age he became an apprentice of legendary guide, David Vernon. Today Doyle has been guiding for almost a decade and is well respected as an exceptional naturalist guide. He specializes in a select few jungle adventures that include natural ecology, wildlife and Maya Ruins. He does a handful of tours and does them exceptionally well. He not only offers an educational experience mixed with adventures but throws in a healthy dose of fun as well. Along with his charismatic personality you are sure to have a memorable experience.
The Cockscomb Basin has the densest population of Jaguars in existence. Wild cats including the Jaguar, Ocelot, Margay, Puma, and Jaguarundi all roam within 100,000 acres of pristine rainforest. The reserve sprawls below the jagged peaks of the Maya Mountains and ranges east towards the sea. Gliding along the rivers is great fun, and there is a honeycomb of nature trails to choose from, many leading to sparkling waterfalls. The lush jungle of the basin is also a birder’s paradise with nearly 300 bird species recorded, including the colorful scarlet macaw. It is also home to Belize’s national animal, Baird’s tapir, the largest terrestrial mammal in Central America. The rainforest itself is a myriad of lush fauna such as giant tree ferns, orchids, air plants and spectacular climbing vines.
Stroll through this dense jungle, while you learn about the plants and animals that inhabit the forest. We depart early in order to include a little morning birding. Cockscomb is home to over 250 species of birds including toucans, jacamars and many tanager species giving the avid birders more than an eyeful. After lunch we head to the river to cool off with an invigorating tube float. Here you will see the forest from a whole new perspective. After the tube float, we then head over to a beautiful waterfall where we will swim and so a series of natural rock waterslides!
Rate: $80.00 US
Xunantunich which was built during the peak of the Mayan civilization, the Classic Period. The center of the site is composed of 6 major plazas and surrounded by more than 25 temples and palaces. There is also a ball court. Here you may climb to the top of “El Castillo”, the second tallest Maya temple in Belize, towering over 130 ft above the main plaza. From the top you will have a breathtaking view of the Macal, Mopan and Belize River Valley below. The most notable feature of El Castillo is the hieroglyphic frieze that raps around the temple.
Water, on its way from a tributary to the Sibun River, emerges from a collapsed sinkhole creating a beautiful sapphire blue pool set in a pristine rainforest setting. This is the Blue Hole, for which the park is named. The sinkhole itself is about 25 feet deep, but there is a large shallow sandy area to relax and enjoy the cool water. Surrounded by 575 acres of lush rainforest, the park offers ample opportunities to observe tropical birds, wildlife and a plethora of fauna.
The Maya ruins of Xunantunich are 2.5 hours from Placencia. When you arrive your guide will explain the history of the site, Maya culture and the ecology of the surrounding jungle. After lunch you’ll depart to the inland Blue Hole where you can swim and relax in this beautiful water sinkhole in the middle of a lush rainforest.
Rate: $120.00 US
Red Bank offers many opportunities to spot some of the over 500 species of birds found in Belize. A number of years ago, birders discovered that Scarlet Macaws leave the depths of the remote Chiquibul Forest in southwestern Belize to feed on the ripened fruit of the Pole-wood tree. Flocks of 15-25 macaws can be seen during their migration between January through April. Other birds you may see include trogans, toucans, white eaglets, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. Not only is this area great for birding, but the surrounding rainforest, nestled at the foothills of the Maya Mountains, offers beautiful nature trails, with abundant opportunities to spot the other wildlife that inhabit this pristine rainforest.
The rare scarlet macaw can be seen in flocks of 15-25 during their migration in January through April. Other birds you may see include trogans, toucans, white eaglets, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. Not only is this area great for birding, but the surrounding rainforest, nestled at the foothills of the Maya Mountains, offers beautiful nature trails, with abundant opportunities to spot the other wildlife that inhabit this pristine rainforest.
Rate: $60.00 US