A couple gets instruction on efficient kayak packing on the Barrier reef island, Belize
Female sitting atop a mayan temple in tikal guatemala admiring the view over the canopy to the water
A female walks down an empty street on the Island of Flores in Guatelmala
Guatemalan young mother and her son sitting on the sidewalk and smiling at the camera in Flores, Peten in Guatemala
View from one of the temples looking down at a plaza in Tikal Guatemala
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Central America Belize Cruise

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World

Cruise among vibrant reefs and explore near-mythical ruins on this 9-day land-and-sea National Geographic Belize to Tikal expedition. Board the new 100-guest National Geographic Quest to discover the colorful corals and abundant sea life of the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest reef system in the Northern Hemisphere. Discover ancient Maya history, including over a full day and a half in the expansive and enchanting ruins of Tikal National Park.

Snorkel, kayak, stand-up paddleboard and dive the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System on the only expedition ship exploring the Mesoamerican Reef. Explore Belize’s coastal rivers by Zodiac and in one of the largest barrier reef systems in the world discover wild, beautiful places and spot rainbow-colored fish, turtles, rays, toucans, green iguanas.

Venture into the jungles of Guatemala with local experts to discover the spectacular temples and pyramids of both Tikal and Yaxha. Meet the welcoming people and learn about the contemporary cultures of Guatemala at Flores before venturing to explore the Maya ruins of Tikal. See temples overgrown with tropical rainforest and explore the stories and archaeological sites of these stone ruins swathed in plantlife and teeming with wildlife. Dedicate ample time to explore the sublime Maya ruins of Tikal’s stone temples, palaces and public spaces, then head to the little-visited Maya ruins of Yaxha, beautifully situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxha Lake.

This unique Belize cruise that transitions from snorkeling vibrant reefs to discovering the ancient city of Tikal with National Geographic experts is sure to be a trip of a lifetime! Contact the Belize experts at AdventureSmith Explorations to book your Belize to Tikal small ship cruise.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Belize cruises.



Itinerary

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World Itinerary

This 9-day land-and-sea National Geographic to Tikal expedition begins in Guatemala City with a charter flight to Puerto Barrios and ends in Flores with an optional/additional cost return charter flight to Guatemala City.

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers and Ruins of the Maya World cruise route map.
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Day 1
Arrive Guatemala City & Embark Puerto Santo Tomas, Guatemala

Arrive in Guatemala City and connect with the charter flight to Puerto Barrios. Transfer to Puerto Santo Tomás, where you’ll embark the National Geographic Quest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Quest

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Belize Barrier Reef, Northern Cayes

Awake anchored in the northern cayes of the Mesoamerican Reef System, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in terms of biodiversity. Enjoy a full day to further explore this dynamic ecosystem. Take to the water by kayak, or stand-up paddleboard, or don a mask and fins and dive into turquoise waters to encounter sea turtles, swirling schools of tropical fish, and harmless nurse sharks. For scuba divers, incredible dive opportunities abound (additional cost).

Accommodations

National Geographic Quest

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Belize Barrier Reef, Central Cayes

Today, explore more of the Belize Barrier Reef in the central cayes, with an opportunity to visit the Smithsonian-operated research station at Carrie Bow Caye. Learn about the comprehensive studies being conducted on the reef ecosystem, including the biodiversity, evolution, and ecology of its organisms and communities, effectively ‘taking a pulse’ of the reef. The surrounding area offers outstanding snorkeling and diving, with vibrant corals and an incredible undersea diversity–a tropical paradise both above and below the surface of the Caribbean.

Accommodations

National Geographic Quest

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Spend the morning discovering the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first jaguar reserve. Join your naturalists for a hike along one of the reserve’s many nature trails to photograph tropical plants, scan the treetops for winged wonders, and spot the tracks of tapirs and jungle cats. Learn about ongoing research into the behaviors of Belize’s jaguars, then visit a Maya handicraft center. Tonight, an internationally acclaimed drumming group, The Garifuna Collective, come aboard for a festive music performance.

Accommodations

National Geographic Quest

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Monkey River & Belize Barrier Reef

Early this morning, board local boats to cruise inland through this coastal river system. Along the river, lined with cecropia and kapok trees, the throaty roars of mantled howler monkeys echo through the canopy, green and spiny-tailed iguanas languidly laze on overhanging branches and little blue herons, males adorned in their exquisite blue and purple plumage, work the shallows watching and waiting for small fish, frogs and crustaceans. This afternoon head back to the reef, this time in the southern cayes, where we go snorkeling, paddleboarding, or kayaking inside its fringing reef dotted with hundreds of coral patches that harbor parrotfish, butterflyfish, octopus, and other marine species.

Accommodations

National Geographic Quest

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Disembark Puerto Santo Tomas to Tikal, Guatemala

Disembark this morning for the charter flight to Flores. Lunch at a picturesque restaurant overlooking Lake Petén Itzá, before transferring to the Hotel Camino Real Tikal. Check-in on arrival, then take an optional bird-watching walk with your naturalists, or a sunset boat ride on the lake.

Accommodations

Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Tikal

Today is dedicated to exploring Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site where ancient pyramids tower more than 200 feet, and thousands of temples, shrines, and plazas are scattered beneath the rain forest canopy. Discover the site’s archaeological treasures, including the Temple of the Great Jaguar and the North and South Acropolis. Encounter ancient Maya art and hieroglyphs, and examine carved stone inscriptions that illuminate the history and spiritual significance of Tikal.

Accommodations

Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Yaxha

Explore Yaxhá, a former Maya ceremonial center situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxhá Lake. The world’s third largest known Maya site, Yaxhá spreads across nine plazas and contains multiple pyramids, ball courts, and stelae. Examine its features with a local guides and, if you wish, climb a temple for panoramic views. Later, enjoy lunch at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant, followed by an evening at leisure.

Accommodations

Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Flores & Depart Guatemala City

The journey ends in Flores with a pre-arranged charter flight to Guatemala City (additional cost), to connect with international flights home. It’s possible to opt-out of this flight in order to spend more time in Flores or make independent arrangements to Guatemala City.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Day 1 charter flight from Guatemala City to Puerto Barrios; all accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary; meals as indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of equipment; expedition fees; all port charges and service taxes and airport transfers to and from ship.

Exclusions

Air transportation (except for day 1 charter flight from Guatemala City to Puerto Barrios); extensions; passport, visa and immigration fees; scuba diving (added cost); personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, etc.; discretionary tips for ship’s crew; insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World begins and ends in Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Guatemala City before 12:30pm on day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Guatemala City after 2:00pm on day 9. Group flights between Miami, Florida and Guatemala City, Guatemala may be arranged. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

The day 1 charter flight from Guatemala City to Puerto Barrios is included. The day 9 charter flight from Flores to Guatemala City incurs a fee of $275 per person. At the time of booking, your Adventure Specialist can confirm whether luggage weight limits apply and if so, whether the option to pay for extra luggage is available.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, biking, snorkeling, scuba diving (added cost), kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

See Deals section for details on flexible booking policies.

Feb 11 - Feb 19, 2021
National Geographic Quest • 9 days
From $6480USD
Per Person
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Feb 21 - Mar 01, 2021
National Geographic Quest • 9 days
From $6480USD
Per Person
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Feb 26 - Mar 06, 2021
National Geographic Quest • 9 days
From $6480USD
Per Person
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Mar 03 - Mar 11, 2021
National Geographic Quest • 9 days
From $6480USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Small Ships & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Quest

Purpose built to cruise coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels, the 100-guest National Geographic Quest is a state-of-the-art, expedition, luxury vessel designed for supreme comfort and enhanced wildlife viewing.

Hotel
Camino Real Tikal Hotel

Camino Real Tikal Hotel is located on the remote north shore Lake Petén Itzá, 45 minutes by car to Tikal National Park. The hotel is a convenient, tranquil retreat for exploring the history, culture and traditions of the ancient Mayans.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires December 31st, 2020
Complimentary Airfare On 2021 Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World Cruises

Book your Belize cruise and receive complimentary flights in this special deal.

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires December 31st, 2020
Flexible Cancellation Available Close To Departure on 2020 & 2021 National Geographic Expeditions

Book or re-book 2020 & 2021 travel aboard the National Geographic fleet of ships with confidence using these risk-free, flexible policy details.

Expert Reviews

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Lis Larson • January 4th, 2016
Expert Review: Guatemala with AdventureSmith

An AdventureSmith expert visits Tikal National Park, Antigua, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan and the Highlands region.

Arielle Lightcap • August 27th, 2017
Expert Aboard: National Geographic Quest Review

Adventure Specialist Arielle Figueroa was among the first to step aboard the new National Geographic Quest during its first month sailing. Read her review of this stunning small ship.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

Choose from a wide variety of other AdventureSmith Belize trips to extend your journey, or opt for a postcruise extension with your fellow passengers on this cruise. Consult the following for prices and further details:

Antigua, Guatemala Extension is a 3-day post-cruise guided extension offered in conjunction with this cruise. Visit either the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology or the Museum of Textiles in Guatemala City. Transfer to Antigua to tour a coffee plantation and see the Monastery of La Merced, the Main Plaza, and Arco de Santa Catalina, and possibly a jade factory and the local handicraft market. Feast on an included traditional Guatemalan meal followed by a traditional dance performance. End the extension by transferring back to Guatemala City for your flight home. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for details and pricing.

Costa Rica Extension is a 10-day post-cruise extension offered in conjunction with this cruise. Visit the Tarcoles River, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a butterfly farm, a family-run farm, Lake Arenal, Arenal Hanging Bridges, Tortuguero National Park, Sea Turtle Conservancy and Sibu Chocolatier. Enjoy opportunities to swim, hike, sample some of the world’s finest organic chocolate and sugar cane liquor, relax in thermal pools, take advantage of optional spa treatments, experience a car-free village, learn about the history of the region, kayak and tour Costa Rica’s wildlife-rich waters in Zodiacs. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for details and pricing.

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Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of the Maya World

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