|Tubing through the “River of Caves” in Belize.|
Belize continues to remain one of Travel Agent’s favorite destinations in the world. From the very underrated cuisine to cheap hotel rates, the destination offers so much. But it has special allure for thrill-seekers with its vast array of heart-thumping action-and-adventure attractions.
Since there are so many such options, Travel Agent, in no particular order, points out the five most in-demand tour opportunities that will give your clients a healthy adrenaline rush to last for days.
The ATM Cave Tour
The Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave has a series of chambers where Maya sacrificial ceremonies once took place, and where artifacts remain to this day. The tour includes hiking over streams and boulders in some parts (and maybe a little swimming).
Black Hole Drop Tour/Cave Tubing
The Black Hole drop tour starts off with a vigorous hike into the foothills of the Maya Mountains, followed by rappelling more than 200 feet into the “Black Hole,” the Actun Loch Tunich sinkhole. Fully trained guides rig a system of rappelling ropes for the travelers’ descent to the basin below. The first 10 feet provides the adrenaline, the next 200 feet provides an unforgettable experience and sights to behold, and the last 100 feet takes clients down through the rain forest canopy.
Cave tubing was started by Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Adventure Company & Jungle Lodge. It is Belize’s longest and most outstanding “River of Caves” cave tubing float. The tour is more than seven miles underground. Clients float past side windows that filter the jungle light through the mist as they swirl around stalagmites jutting from the river and stalactites looming from above. They float past underground waterfalls and then into the crystal cathedral, a spiritual center to the ancient Maya.
Also, two years ago, Travel Agent took part in the Waterfall Cave Expedition, which was $90 a person. But if clients stay at the lodge for a week, they should take advantage of one of the resort’s many packages, which all include room rates and as many adventures as they would like.
All of these excursions require some fitness and your clients better not be afraid of heights. There is a portion of the tour we did where you need a harness to climb up a roughly 25-foot waterfall. The climb wasn’t too hard but the water gushing in your face adds a wee bit of variable to the equation.
Agents should contact Caves Branch’s Reservations Manager Larry Vanegas ([email protected]) with special requests.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve/Shark Ray Alley Sail and Snorkel Tour
SEAduced by Belize has a Caye Caulker sail and snorkel tour. The tour begins by sailing to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where guides will show visitors around the snorkel area. Then clients head to Shark Ray Alley, where they encounter sharks and rays in their natural habitat. Next up is a sail to Caye Caulker. When visitors get there, they can explore the sister island, Ambergris Caye. After lunch, they sail back to San Pedro, a town on the south end of Ambergris Caye. Direct any questions to Rebecca Arceo ([email protected]), owner of SEAduced by Belize.
Great Blue Hole Dive/Snorkeling Tours
This is the ultimate dive spot. Diving in the Great Blue Hole or snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef are both once-in-a-lifetime experiences and are usually part of most thrill-seeker’s “bucket lists.”
Belize is, in fact, home to the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere and the second largest barrier reef in the world. Measuring 185 miles in length, this coral formation is the perfect location for snorkeling and diving. At roughly 412 feet deep, the Great Blue Hole is an almost perfectly circular sinkhole and is a must for divers.
Dive/Snorkel With Whale Sharks at Splash Dive Center
Divers and snorkelers will likely see whale sharks very close-up, but are not allowed to chase, ride, touch or otherwise disturb these creatures. Splash Dive Shop offers tours to Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve with professional guides to ensure your clients’ safety. Advise your clients, however, that the peak time for whale activity is from February to April, so if they can’t make it down this season they should start planning ahead for 2013. Agents should talk to Patricia Ramirez (011-501-523-3058), Splash Dive Center’s manager, for further details.