• Visit Our Family
    of Travel Leaders
Snorkeling in Belize
Custom Expeditions
Land-Based Expeditions

Belize & Guatemala at Coppola Lodges

Snorkeling in Belize

You are here

Belize & Guatemala at Coppola Lodges

Belize and Guatemala offer adventurous travelers a remarkable variety of experiences, all packed into the relatively short span of our journey. Your private Guatemala & Belize tour stays in luxurious lodges supremely situated in beautiful natural settings, explore ancient ruins, commune with nature, and enjoy adrenaline-packed activities.

Spot Unique Wildlife

Belize is a crossroads for wildlife of the temperate north and the tropical south, but unlike many of Earth’s tropical regions, Belize still has large tracts of primary rainforest, preserving many rare and colorful species, including a thriving population of jaguar. Spot iguanas sunning themselves, colorful birds flitting through the forest and howler monkeys roaring in the high jungle canopy. 

Snorkel with Colorful Fish

Just off Belize’s coast lies the longest unbroken living reef in the world, providing wonderful chances to see some of the most beautiful coral and fish anywhere. The reef also protects an extensive string of small islands with white beaches and swaying palm trees. Coastal mangroves provide shelter for juvenile fish and rookeries for millions of birds. 

Get Ready for Adventure

Explore the ancient ruins of the Maya civilization, hike along wildlife-rich nature trails, fly through the trees on a zip-line, go canoeing through a cave, and more on this action-packed itinerary!

Daily Itinerary

Belize & Guatemala at Coppola Lodges

  • Day
    1

    Arrive Flores, Guatemala / Lake Peten Itza

    Board your independent flight to Guatemala. Upon arrival in Flores, you will be transferred by vehicle along the shores of Lake Peten Itza to Francis Ford Coppola’s small luxury lodge, La Lancha, located on a lush, forested hillside above the lake. Winding paths lead down the slopes to secluded guest casitas, each furnished with hand-crafted Guatemalan furniture, fabrics and art. La Lancha is our home for the next three nights and our base for exploring the monumental Mayan city of Tikal, as well as other nearby ruins. This afternoon we have an orientation to the area and a briefing about our activities, and then there is time to relax. Spend three nights at La Lancha in a Lakeview Suite (D)

  • Day
    2

    Tikal

    Today we explore Tikal. The sheer immensity of its structures makes it a powerful experience. Believed to have covered 25 square miles, the population of the ancient city reached 75,000 to 100,000. Explore pyramids soaring over 200 feet, plaza complexes, ball courts, terraces and temples, all surrounded by tropical rainforest that is home to a variety of wildlife. Huge, overgrown reservoirs and multileveled palaces give us a unique opportunity to view the canopy wildlife at eye level. There are 285 species of birds, with regular sightings of toucans, motmots, parrots and oscillated turkeys. Other wildlife in residence includes howler and spider monkeys, peccaries, deer, jaguars, ocelots and pumas. The park itself is 222 square miles and includes 3,000 separate constructions within the six square miles of ruins that have been investigated thus far. Good walking shoes are important today because we will be covering about five square miles of excavated sites. Return to La Lancha in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)

    Tikal
  • Day
    3

    Ixpanpajul Parque Natural / Flores / Lake Peten Itza

    Travel by boat to Ixpanpajul, a private nature reserve and environmental center that covers an area of 450 hectares and is home to over 150 species of birds, about 40 species of mammals and over 200 species of trees. Get a bird’s-eye view of the forest on the Skyway, a series of six suspension bridges that provide the opportunity to explore the different strata of the rainforest. The canopy walkway suspension bridges and trails require a moderate level of fitness as the trails are occasionally steep and humidity can be high under the forest canopy. There’s even a zip line for the adventurous. The return trip to La Lancha includes a short stop in Flores, allowing time to peruse the local handicraft shops along the narrow cobbled streets, and to visit the prominent Cathedral of Flores. (B,L,D)

     

    Belize and Guatemala cuisine
  • Day
    4

    La Lancha / Topozte & Yaxha / Blancaneaux, Belize

    Say goodbye to our friends at La Lancha and for Belize. The highlight of the day will be our visits to the two important Mayan archaeological sites of Topoxte and Yaxha, located near Lake Yaxha. First, we board a motorized canoe to visit Topoxte, located on an island. The structures on the island seem to be built in miniature, giving rise to the local legend of the “Island of the Little People.” Some speculate that the small buildings served as design models for the construction of temples at Tikal. Parts of the island have been recently restored to show how the Maya lived and protected themselves here. After lunch we visit the site of Yaxha, which is considered to be the largest city of the Mayan world. There is a spectacular view of the jungle and lakes of Yasha and Sacnab from the top of temple 216. This afternoon we continue to the Belize border and then travel up into the Mountain Pine Ridge to Blancaneaux Lodge. The property overlooks the gentle rapids and shimmering waterfalls of the Privassion River, where the flora of the jungle and pine forest intertwine in a stunning landscape. Spend three nights at Blancaneaux (B,L)

  • Day
    5

    Barton Creek Cave & Zip Line / Hidden Falls

    Explore Barton Creek Cave, a remote cave once used by the ancient Maya as a burial site. Adorned with amazing stalactites and stalagmites, the guides will regale you with stories of civilizations past as they use spotlights to point out Maya pottery shards and remains in the depths below. This journey is enjoyed in a canoe as your guide paddles you through the dramatic cave.  After exploring Barton Creek Cave we enjoy a zip line tour offering 2,573 feet of line separated in seven runs and twelve platforms. This tour includes a short ten-minute hike through the forest and crosses a hammock bridge.  We are back at Blancaneaux this afternoon for a gentle horseback ride through the forest that takes you to hidden falls. Take a break from the saddle and swim under a cascading waterfall. This tour is perfect for beginners or those who just want a short time in the saddle. (B,L)

    Cave Tubing in Belize
  • Day
    6

    Caracol / Rio Frio Cave

    This morning we travel through the Mountain Pine Ridge to the rainforest of the Vaca Plateau, which adjoins the Maya Mountains. Then it’s on to the sprawling Mayan ruins of Caracol, located deep in the Chiquibul rainforest beyond the mountains. The ruins are truly spectacular. Even though there is a good all-weather road to Caracol, the ruins are in a remote location and thus not frequently seen by visitors and offers an intimate experience. This Classic Period site is noted for the rare use of giant date glyphs on circular stone altars. Caracol was once a rival of Tikal, and there are Maya carvings here that commemorate Caracol’s victories and domination over Tikal. After our exploration of the ruins and a picnic lunch, we return by way of Rio Frio Cave. With an enormous arched entranceway, the Rio Frio flows in one end of this cave and out the other, helping to create smooth limestone walls and huge stalactites. (B,L)

  • Day
    7

    Placencia / Turtle Inn

    Leave Blancaneaux Lodge and drive across Belize via the Hummingbird Highway before connecting to the Southern Highway and continuing to the coastal village of Placencia. En route, make a stop at the Nohuch Che’en Reserve for gentle walk through the forest for an hour long float along the Caves Branch River. Each participant receives a special tube for the float, a headlamp, life vest and water shoes. The float goes through a series of huge interconnecting caves separated by open sections where the river is flanked by high jungle. Our final destination today is Turtle Inn which is located on a sweeping bay of white sand and is surrounded by tall coconut palms. The restaurant and pool are especially breakthaking. Each Balinese-inspired cabana has a spacious screened deck featuring a roomy hammock and comfortable chairs as well as having its own private tropical garden with outdoor shower. A combination of natural wonders with luxurious amenities makes this secluded hideaway a serene and peaceful oasis. Spend three nights at Turtle Inn. (B,L)

  • Day
    8

    Turtle Inn: Belize Barrier Reef

    Grab snorkel gear and practice in a sheltered area to become familiar with our equipment and to review proper technique before going out by boat to pristine coral reefs. Massive stands of staghorn coral line the outer reef while more delicate forms and large brain coral thrive in the quiet waters of the inner reef. Some of the fascinating fish we are likely to see include rainbow parrotfish, Nassau grouper and spotted eagle ray as well as brilliantly colored small fish such as angelfish, butterflyfish and wrasse. After enjoying a picnic lunch on one of the many small islands enjoy another opportunity to explore the underwater realm. This afternoon, snorkel among the mangroves at a terrific location in protected waters close to Placencia. Mangroves are nurseries for many species of marine life and this particular location is truly amazing. Later in the afternoon we return to the Turtle Inn. For those who are interested in exploring, there are several local restaurants in the village where fresh seafood is the specialty. (B,L)

    La Lancha
  • Day
    9

    Turtle Inn: Placencia Lagoon

    This morning and early afternoon we have the luxury to relax and enjoy the Turtle Inn. This evening board a local boat to enjoy the sunset over the distant Maya Mountains from the calm waters of the Placencia Lagoon. The cruise generally lasts from 60 to 90 minutes and includes hors d'oeuvres and wines from Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Keep an eye out for the dolphins and manatees that are often visible from the deck of the boat! (B)

  • Day
    10

    Placencia / Depart Belize City

    Enjoy one last walk on the beach, finish up some last-minute shopping or prepare for the journey home if your flight time allows. Fly from Placencia to Belize International Airport, where flights back to the U.S. depart in the afternoon. (B)

Accommodations

Bar at La Lancha

La Lancha

Set in the rainforest high above the shores of Lago Peten Itza is La Lancha, a quaint, 10-room lodge decorated with furniture, fabrics, and carvings from Guatemala personally selected by the Coppola family. With its beautiful lakeshore setting, relaxed ambiance, and close proximity to the lost world of the Maya, La Lancha is an ideal destination to both enjoy a languid pace and explore the many adventures of the Peten region.

Blancaneaux Loodge in Belize

Blancaneaux Lodge

Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury hideaway where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. The remote mountain setting allows guests to spend the day exploring the ancient civilization of the Maya and to return to their own thatched roof dwelling, rich with Guatemalan decor and nestled in the foliage of the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve.

Turtle Inn Cottage

Turtle Inn

This 25-room seafront escape delights guests with individual thatched cottages, decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings, naturally cooled by the ever-present sea breezes. Just steps beyond your private deck, the white-sand beach dissolves into the clear Caribbean Sea.

Call 800.234.9620
Duration
10 Days, 9 Nights
Trip Type
Land

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the impressive ruins of four ancient Maya cities—Tikal, Topoxte, Yaxha & Caracol.
  • Stay at three of Francis Ford Coppola’s luxurious resorts, all boast beautiful natural settings, gorgeously appointed rooms, a relaxed ambiance & first-class service.
  • Get a bird’s-eye view of the different strata of the rainforest on a suspended walkway in Ixpanpajul.
  • Enjoy a cruise on the calm waters of the Placencia Lagoon, accompanied by hors d'oeuvres & wines from Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
  • Explore Barton Creek Cave, a remote cave once used by the ancient Maya as a burial site.
  • Search for wildlife during nature walks & discover colorful tropical fish as you snorkel over pristine reefs.
  • Go on a river float past verdant, jungle-draped shores & through a series of huge interconnecting caves.