Into the blue of Belize and the mystery of the Maya
The eastern coast of Mesoamerica is little known and rarely visited via the sea. Since the days of the ancient Maya, who flourished along the coast some 1,500 years go, civilization has had little impact. Large swaths of the region remain wild with protected tropical forests, meandering rivers, abundant birdlife—and the largest coral reef system in North America. The Belize Barrier Reef is alive with a galaxy of brilliantly hued fish and corals. The human history is fascinating, and the imprint of the Maya evident. Discover temples nestled in the forest or set overlooking lakes.And observe modern life—a melting pot of people, cultures, languages, and music.
Book by July 31, 2021, and receive FREE ROUND-TRIP economy group airfare between Miami/Belize City. Complimentary air is based on economy group flights and must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions. In the case that Lindblad's group flight is not available at time of booking, we reserve the right to issue a credit. Baggage fees may be additional. New bookings only and not combinable with other offers or pre- or post-extensions. Call for details.
Book by July 31, 2021, to save 10% when traveling as a group of 6 or more people on select departures. Take advantage of these great savings while enjoying traveling with your friends and family. Valid for new bookings only, subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers. Call for details.
Discover temples and forests teeming with life. See remarkable ruins of pre-Columbian Maya civilization. Delve into the mystery and history amid stone temples, palaces, and terraces cut by ancient people. And dive into a wealth of biodiversity in the Northern Hemisphere’s largest reef system at the Belize Barrier Reef. Revel among hundreds of species of fish, marvelous sea turtles, graceful rays, over 90 varieties of coral, and with luck, manatees. As only a small percentage of the reef has been studied, researchers believe hundreds, even thousands more species could be discovered in this protected zone.
I don’t know if it could get any better than having guides who are super knowledgeable about the way of life today and the way of life 2,000 years ago.
Explore with top expedition teams
See, do, and learn more by going with engaging experts who have been exploring this region for decades. Go with an expedition leader, naturalists, historians, and more.
Veteran expedition leaders are the orchestrators of your experience. Many have advanced degrees and have conducted research or taught for years. They have achieved expedition leader status because they possess the skills, the experience, and the depth of knowledge necessary to continually craft the best expedition possible for our guests.
With a team of naturalists aboard you’re ensured a healthy diversity of specialties—marine biology, evolutionary biology, ornithology, archaeology, and more—and personalities. Choose to spend time with whoever shares your interests.
Your undersea specialist will prepare you for snorkeling outings and offer a voiceover to the corals, fish, and marine species you discover. Plus, they'll don diving gear and capture footage of the deep to review in comfort during Recap.
Every expedition aboard a ship in our National Geographic-flagged fleet offers an exclusive service—a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor. This naturalist is specially trained to offer assistance with camera settings and the basics of composition and to help you become a better, more confident photographer.
Video chroniclers accompany every expedition and shoot vivid HD footage—with no recycled footage ever—to provide you with a professionally edited and completely authentic memento of your expedition. Working during the day and editing into the night, they have your video ready for preview prior to—and available to purchase at—disembarkation.
Henry David Thoreau called it the "tonic of wildness." It’s what Belize and Guatemala, with their beauty and wildness intact, give you—a spirit lift. To compound this healthful effect, add the luxury of comfort to the privilege of being here—with a quality of shipboard life and a philosophy of wellness designed to relax and rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit.
An incredible sunrise was our welcome gift, when we were arriving to the Coiba National Park. A protected area that is consider part of an important marine corridor that connects Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Crystal-clear waters, volcanic rocks and a green vegetation containing one of the planet’s richest ecosystems were all part of today’s itinerary.
The morning began with birdwatching, while others went off to explore the area by kayak. Later, snorkeling among the area’s coral reefs and walking the white sandy coastline. Birds, lizards, and monkeys were among the species we saw today. We later visited a small islet known as Granito de Oro, where the turquoise waters and the variety and vibrance of marine life blow the collective mind. It was another remarkable day at paradise – now our voyage sails on toward Costa Rica.
After cruising during the night from the Bay of Panama,
National Geographic Quest
dropped its anchor in front of Isla Iguana Wildlife Refuge. Isla Iguana is a small island off the eastern coast of the Azuero Peninsula. Declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1981, Isla Iguana protects marine birds, tropical fish, and a large coral reef.
This 136-acre (55-hectare) reserve is surrounded by the oldest coral reef in the Gulf of Panama. The island itself attracts a variety of avian species, and is especially famous for its frigate colony, which includes some 5,000 birds.
We disembarked right after breakfast to explore this reserve. Our guests had the opportunity to walk around the premises and had a lovely encounter with the wildlife of this white sandy hidden paradise.
This morning and after the halfway crossing
was anchor in the middle of Gatun Lake and in front of
Barro Colorado Island also known as BCI.
BCI is a former hill which top became an island in this manmade
lake once considered one of the biggest artificial lakes back in the time.
The island became one of the first Tropical research centers in
the Neotropics and till today still one of the most important of its kind in
The among of knowledge over the tropical ecology, flora and fauna
that this research center have had generating is invaluable as well of the many
of the long-term projects that studied the effect of temperatures change over
this fragile ecosystem.
Today after breakfast our guests have had the chance to visit the
island and its surroundings, some by walking the same trails generations of
tropical biologist walked once and others by Zodiac cruising the periphery. There we saw Central American agouties, three-toed sloths, howler monkeys as well as several beautiful birds like the crested guan, slaty-tailed trogon, chestnut-mandibled toucan and others.
After, all came back on board for a delicious lunch we continued
our transit towards the pacific site. Later,
National Geographic Quest
made a stop in front of Gamboa just before Culebra Cut and nest to the Chagres
Gamboa is where the main equipment uncharged of the maintenance
of the canal is locate and it is here where we got the chance to enjoy a little
salsa time in the sundeck. The weather was perfect and in combination with the
delicious ceviche and the salsa dancing it made a perfect. A vessel that will
be tandem with
National Geographic Ques
t for the transit throughout the
Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks.
Last day of the Belize expedition spent on the tranquil island of Ranguana Caye. Guest enjoyed snorkeling around the Island meeting up with their favorite friends, nurse sharks, spotted moray eel, spotted eagle ray, southern stingrays, tropical fishes and coral reef. Paddleboard and kayaking was also an exquisite exploration on the calm clear waters of Belize. As the sunset on this voyage, it was a pleasure to have all enjoy the thrilling wanders of Belize.
Our morning begins when we took the Zodiacs from
National Geographic Quest
to the beautiful Village of Placencia where our bus to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary was waiting for us.
The drive to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary was just short of an hour and a half, and we got a great introduction on the way about the culture and the people of this side of Belize as all about the conservation and study going on at the wildlife sanctuary.
The geography is really remarkable—with a great diversity of ecosystems and an abundance of land and marine species. On the human side there’s fascinating diversity as well. The region contains many cultures and languages and has a rich history.