Jeff Litton, Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
We're proud to be awarded the #1 small ship cruise line by the 2021 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards!
Back to Belize
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is once again sailing to the breathtaking Belize Barrier Reef and venturing inland in search of elusive jaguars and mystical Mayan ruins. Experience this stunning geography aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, a 62-guest expedition vessel once likened to Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso by National Geographic author Andrew Evans.
When we silence the engines and pause our excited conversations, a tranquil symphony emerges from the gently swaying canopy and undulating surf. Listen (sound on!) for a preview of your Belizean escape.
Book by October 31, 2022, and receive a $450 air credit per person. Valid for new bookings only, subject to availability, and may not be combined with other offers. Credit will be deducted from cabin fare, prior to any additional applicable savings. Call for details.
Book by October 31, 2022, 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.
FREE ROUND-TRIP AIRFARE ON SELECT DATES
Book by October 31, 2022, 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 may not be combinable with other offers or pre- or post-extensions. 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.
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.
Why Belize Is a Bird-Lover's Paradise
Home to six Important Bird Areas, Belize is an avian oasis—crucial for endangered species like the yellow-headed Amazon parrot and the mouse-sized black rail.
If you asked the average person to describe to you their image of paradise, they would probably paint a picture of Half Moon Caye. Situated amongst a smattering of corals sits an island with white sand beaches, coconut palms, and endless bird nests.
Katie Mills-Orcutt, Naturalist/Expedition Diver, January 28, 2022
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.
Today we woke up to a beautiful sunrise o n National Geographic Sea Lion in Belize. We are getting ready to do an inland activity that will take us to a waterfall to enjoy part of the day and the possibility to do tubing down a river called South Stan Creek River. It was my first time and I was very impressed by the natural beauty of the waterfall and the rock formation. We enjoyed about an hour at the falls then took a drive to the tubing site. We passed by land once used for growing oranges and bananas. At the private waterfall and river access, we did some swimming and tubing. Some guests saw scarlet macaws while tubing. It was a great expedition to the foot of a Mayan mountain. This afternoon, after a spectacular lunch, we rode Zodiacs to a place called the Yacht Club. Here we got the chance to enjoy a performance by the Garifuna Collective, a group that plays a kind of music known as punta. It was a fond farewell to Belize.
The sun rose today with the promise of a fantastic day. As we swung on the mooring on the south side of Half Moon Caye at Lighthouse Reef Atoll, we observed the 50 feet drop-off below us, which dropped 1,500 additional feet to a deep cobalt blue. Everyone was excited as we sped six miles north to the Great Blue Hole. A beautiful rim of shallow corals surrounds a 1,000-foot wide marine sinkhole, a collapsed cavern in a now submerged cave system. Purple sea fans, green rope sponges and various mounds of stony corals are home to fish of so many shapes and colors. The highlight was a great hammerhead that swam into the Blue Hole just 20 feet below a group of snorkelers. Back at Half Moon Caye, baby red-footed boobies have grown quickly and become more active. The birds move around their flimsy nests in the orange-flowered ziricote trees. Unfortunately, the nests become unstable sometimes, and a baby falls. Today, two baby birds were rescued from the forest floor and taken for rehabilitation to the Belize Audubon Society’s field station and then to the Belize Bird Rescue. In a few weeks, the boobies will return to their home for a soft release back into the wild. With a painted sunset, the day ended for happy explorers onboard National Geographic Sea Lion .
We woke up early this morning to venture upstream on the Monkey River. Our early morning start gave us an opportunity to view wildlife during the most active time of day, just after dawn. Starting in Monkey River Town, we picked up our guides who expertly navigated the shallow river while pointing out shore dwelling birds and iguanas. Farther upriver, we heard what sounded like dinosaurs in the trees. We slowed our motors and viewed a whole troop of howler monkeys feeding. Male howler monkeys have an enlarged hyoid bone in their throat that amplifies their voice, making each “howl” identifiable for miles around. After our jungle cruise, we repositioned the boat to Laughingbird Caye, a national park and World Heritage Site. We spent the afternoon lounging and snorkeling. Calm seas allowed for impressive views of the corals and shoaling fish. Some snorkelers even spotted nurse sharks and barracudas in the shallows. Just another day in paradise here in Belize!
Today begins with morning coffee and breakfast on National Geographic Sea Lion . This morning we are at the Half Moon Caye and it will be a day to remember. The Great Blue Hole is the second largest barrier reef. Coming here has always been one of the must-do activities of visitors to Belize. The weather and wind are always factors when visiting the Half Moon Caye because of we are in open waters. Today, conditions were calm and almost windless. The water was pristine, and the reef was beautiful. Half Moon Caye is known as one of the seven natural wonders, and we can see why. After a snorkeling experience over the blue abyss, we took the smooth boat ride back to the ship for lunch. The afternoon activities were also amazing. We visited Half Moon Caye where we enjoyed the natural state of the island. We saw red-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds, who were always trying to steal food meant for the booby chicks. The cycle of life goes on as we end the day and leave the island for the ship’s next destination.
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.