Belize Lighthouse Reef: 7 Days / 6 Nights Itinerary

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Departures 2017-18:   Dec 18, 22,26,30    Jan 12, 16, 26, 30    Feb 09, 13, 23    Mar 09, 13, 23, 27    Apr 06, 10, 20

Group Size: 6-8
Guides: 1 Belizean Leader

Activities

Sea Kayaking (paddling & sailing)
Paddleboarding (SUP)
Scuba Diving (optional, cost not included in trip price)
The Blue Hole Snorkeling
Snorkeling, beaches and swimming
Photography
Birding
Intertidal exploration, reef and mangrove ecology
Natural & Cultural History

Accommodations

Bird’s Eye View Lodge
Halfmoon Bay Basecamp (Safari-style tent)
Belize Biltmore Plaza (optional at extra charge)

 

 

The Adventure

Maps-LH[1] We begin our trip with an introduction to the inland waterways of the crooked tree wildlife sanctuary, here we experience, close at hand, the astounding diversity of birds and wildlife for which Belize is renowned.Located 33 miles northwest of Belize city the sanctuary provides both the abundant food sources and the safe resting areas necessary to support a large and diverse population of birds.The best time for viewing resident and migrant birds is December until June, during Belize’s dry-season.

Next, we catch our motor charter to spectacular Lighthouse Reef, one of only four coral atolls in the Caribbean, and home to the famous Blue Hole. In 1972, Capt. Jacques Cousteau and the intrepid crew of the Calypso explored and filmed this incredible atoll, showing its amazing underwater diversity to the world for the first time.

In partnership with the Belize Audubon Society, Island Expeditions Co. has established an Adventure Camp within the Half Moon Cay Marine Reserve, opening up for the first time this spectacular wilderness to adventurers.

The Setting…

Lighthouse Reef
Our journey to Lighthouse Atoll takes us 60 miles offshore to Belize’s most remote and spectacular atoll. On our way to Lighthouse we weave our way through channels and picturesque islands within Belize’s Barrier Reef then, after crossing the reef wall, we enter a keyhole passage and wind through narrow mangrove lined channels to reach the eastern Coral Wall of Turneffe Atoll and then continue another 20 miles to the world renowned Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Half Moon Caye.
One of only four coral atolls in the Caribbean, Lighthouse is home to the famous Blue Hole. In 1972, Capt. Jacques Cousteau and the intrepid crew of the Calypso explored and filmed this incredible atoll, exposing its amazing underwater diversity to the world for the first time.
lighthouse-camp

A Note About the Ecology…

The Flora
The Mesoamerican Coral Reef stretches from Cancun, Mexico through Belize to Honduras. It is the largest reef in the western hemisphere and second largest in the world. In Belize this reef is a well formed wall extending 185 miles (300 km) along the coastline. Approximately 35 miles beyond the Barrier Reef lies one of Belize’s most spectacular atolls – Lighthouse Reef Atoll.These circular shaped reef systems climb up from the ocean floor and surround a central lagoon. The reef structure is primarily made up of two kinds of coral, the hard hydro-coral (reef-forming coral) such as brain coral or elkhorn coral, and the soft corals, such as sea fans and feather plumes. The lagoon shelters one of the world’s most diverse sea environments; harboring an extensive community of fish, shellfish, and patch reefs.One mile off the eastern shore of the atoll and the shallow waters of the lagoon the reef wall drops precipitously over 3000 feet to the ocean floor below. The interaction between the deeper open waters of the Caribbean and the sheltered lagoons of the atoll results in a diversity and abundance of marine life, which is unsurpassed for sea kayaking, snorkeling, and diving.The Fauna
On Half-Moon Caye there is a diverse range of marine life and birds. While snorkeling the area there are opportunities to see grouper, bonefish, angel and parrot fish, stingrays, conger eels, and goatfish – just to name a few. Some of the bird-life includes osprey, terns, red-footed boobies, frigate birds, and mangrove warblers. Half Moon Caye has one of the Caribbean’s most important nesting colonies of red-footed boobies. Around the atoll and the Reef there are nesting sites for loggerhead, green, and hawksbill turtles, and often we see them while out snorkeling or kayaking.
turtle 300

Typical Daily Itinerary:

LH 7
Day 0:

Arrive at the Belize International Airport where our representative will meet you and welcome you to the country. You’ll be taken to the Bird’s Eye View Lodge in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, with its swamps, wetlands and four lagoons, provides an ideal resting place for thousands of migrating and resident birds.

After checking into your accommodations you’ll have a chance to meet your fellow travelers, enjoy a meal and if time permits, explore Crooked Tree Village. Crooked Tree Village is one of Belize’s oldest Creole Settlements.

Day 0 is the day to meet your fellow travelers, and acclimatize to your new tropical environment.

Accommodation: Bird’s Eye View Lodge, Meals: Dinner is not included on this night

LH 6  Day 1:

Coffee is served at sunrise. With your binoculars in hand you’ll enjoy the sounds and sights of the awakening wilderness.

There are usually several hundred birds of many species feeding in front of the lodge along the shores of the Crooked Tree lagoons.

After a healthy Belizean breakfast, you’ll embark by boat to explore the surrounding areas. Throughout this adventure, our aim is to provide you with tremendous birding and wildlife opportunities. Turtles, parrots, ibis, Morelet’s crocodiles, and Iguanas are frequently seen.

Weather permitting, later in the morning you’ll be driven along the “Old Belize Road” to the seashore where you’ll board a motor charter. This charter takes you through white sand cayes, mangrove ranges, and beyond the main Barrier Reef to Lighthouse Reef Atoll.

LH 9  

Lighthouse Reef Atoll is located at the furthest edge of the Belizean Reef System. It is 55 miles offshore of the mainland.Upon reaching Half Moon Caye, your guide team will orient you to your new island setting and help you settle into your accommodations. You’ll then enjoy a late lunch and an afternoon snorkel or kayak around Half Moon Caye.

Accommodation: Halfmoon Basecamp Meals: B, L, D

Day 2-4:

Early risers may want to go for a swim, do some yoga – or just grab a cup of coffee and watch the tropical sunrise.

After a healthy Belizean breakfast, everyone gathers to plan the day’s activities.

The waters of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are exceptionally clear with a fabulously rich reef system, which offers some of the best kayaking, snorkeling, and diving in the Caribbean.

Throughout your stay, you’ll have an opportunity to try a variety of activities as you explore this remote and magical part of Belize.

Snorkeling at the ‘Aquarium’ is often a favorite guest activity.

This location has a profusion of tropical fish and towering coral formations uncommon to other locations.

lh-kayak-sailing  This area of the park consists of 45 acres. Many species of birds nest on the island, including a 4000 red-footed booby colony.The Audubon Society has built a series of viewing platforms to intimately observe the many nesting sites.

And of course, we always give you the option of hanging out in a hammock with a good book and a cold beverage!

Accommodation: Halfmoon Basecamp Meals: B, L, D

LH 12 Day 5

The “aquarium” is today’s big adventure. You’ll pack a hearty lunch and your snorkel gear in our kayaks and paddle with motor support to this exciting location.

This dive spot is known for its profusion of fish and towering coral formations. Snorkeling at the ‘Aquarium’ is usually one of the favorite activities among our guests.

You’ll return home, stopping at the Half Moon Wall for a spectacular drift snorkel over the undersea cliff of the atoll.

As you float (or drift) along the sea surface using your snorkel gear, you’ll have an opportunity to view the amazing underworld that lies beneath

Accommodation: Halfmoon Basecamp Meals: B, L, D

epic-belize-5 Day 6


Today you’ll paddle along the protected waters of the Southern Reef towards Long Caye.

At this location, you’ll have a chance to snorkel some of the atoll’s best patch reefs.

After a full day of exploring, you’ll return just in time for a wonderful seafood dinner prepared especially for you by our cooks

Accommodation: Halfmoon Basecamp Meals: B, L, D

 

 

Double Atoll 6 Day 7

For your last morning at Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the choice is yours. Snorkel your favorite patch reefs, walk the island trails, swing in a hammock or beachcomb along the immaculate island beaches.

After lunch a motor charter arrives, and you’ll begin to prepare for your trip back to the mainland.

This return journey takes you through Turneffe atoll across the Great Barrier Reef, and you’ll arrive at the Belize Biltmore Hotel usually by late afternoon.

You can enjoy a fresh shower and swim in the hotel’s pool. Your final evening is reserved for relaxing at the hotel or exploring the local area.

Accommodation: Belize Biltmore Hotel  Meals: B, L

Important Note: For those who are connecting with their international flights on the last day of the trip it is important your flight is scheduled to depart after 3pm. If you are planning on staying an extra night in Belize we can make reservations for you at the Biltmore Hotel or add on an extra night at our lodge in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.
NOTE: Due to the remoteness of the Lighthouse basecamp, the activities on the reef portion of this trip are weather dependent and the following itinerary is a ’guide,’ and will remain flexible and open to changes at the trip leaders’ discretion.

Accommodations

LH 15-250 LH 5-250 08-biltmore-poo-250l
 Night 1: Bird’s Eye View Lodge  Nights 1-5: Half Moon Bay  Basecamp  Night 6: (optional at extra charge).

When beginning our itinerary with the Reef component on ‘Day 0’, we will be staying at the Bird’s Eye View Lodge at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

While out at Half Moon Caye, we are “Basecamping”, sleeping in tent-walled cabanas. These spacious safari-style tents have ample headroom to walk around and are on raised wooden floors with double or single beds, with all linen provided. On the island, we have a fully equipped kitchen, fresh-water collection system for drinking water, fresh-water showers, and modern composting toilets. We also have a large dining area and resource library lounge.

Transportation…
At the start of the trip we pick you up on arrival at the Belize International Airport on Day 0. On the last day of the trip we can drop you off directly at the Belize International Airport or the Biltmore Plaza Hotel. All transportation by land and water from Day 0 to Day 6 on the trip is included.

Scuba Divers…
Optional diving is available for certified divers on certain days of the trip.

Scuba Diving Rates… (2014)
BC and Reg Rental $15 US
Two Dives $125 US
Three Dives $165 US

Equipment…
While at our base-camp on Half-moon Caye, our guests have unrestricted use of the following equipment: Double Kayaks (outfitted with special sails), Single Kayaks, Complete Research Library, On the island, we are in communication with the mainland via satellite phone and VHF Marine radio.

What’s Included…

1. Comprehensive pre-trip information package
2. All meals, accommodation, and transfers described in the itinerary
3. Professional Guiding Services
4. Unlimited use of our Equipment and facilities
5. Government Fees & Taxes

What’s Not Included…

1. Post-trip transfer to Belize International Airport
2. Gratuities
3. Fishing Licences
4. Scuba Diving
5. International Flights and Airport Departure Tax
6. Extra costs due to late Arrivals, lost baggage and other circumstances beyond our contro

Single Traveler Pricing

Many of our guests travel on their own. Our style of trip is ideal for single travelers combining the benefits of group camaraderie and group security with lots of individual flexibility in what you want to do each day. Single supplement options vary by trip style. Standard trip pricing is based on double occupancy. Solo guests can request either to share twin accommodations with another traveler or request single accommodations for an additional fee. If you are willing to share and we are able to match you up – no problem and no extra cost. If we cannot match you up then we have a simple, affordable $149 US / $189 CAD supplement fee . This fee will be applied at the time of booking, but will be reimbursed just before your departure if we are able to match you up.

Should you prefer private accommodations, we can provide you with your own room and the following charges apply. Note that the number of single rooms available on most departures is limited.

Single Room: $300 US / $375 CAD

Recommended Tour-books:
Eltringham, Peter. 2002. Belize: The Rough Guide .London. Penguin Publishers. Perottet, Tony. 2000. Belize: Insight Guide Singapore. Houghton Mifflin Publishers. -Great photographs and written by a Belizean!

Recommended Reading:
Rabinowitz, Alan. 2000 Jaguar, One Man’s Struggle to Establish the First Jaguar Sanctuary New York. Island Press.

Getting to Belize City:

American Airlines: Toll Free: 1-800-433-7300 website: www.aa.com

US Airways: Toll Free: 1-800-622-1015 website: www.usairways.com

Delta Airlines: Toll Free: 1-800-221-1212 website: www.delta.com

United Airways: Toll Free: 1-800-421-4655 website: www.united.com

Southwest Airlines – via Houston, TX Toll Free: 1-800-435-9792 website: www.southwest.com

Expedia: website: (Canada) www.expedia.ca (US) www.expedia.com

WestJet (Canada): Toll Free: 1-888-937-8538 (United Kingdom): Toll Free: 0-800-279-7072 website: www.westjet.com

Still have questions? Please give us a call toll free in North America at: 1-866-383-9453 or email us at wildernessadventures1@gmail.com

Booking: The booking requires a 30% deposit by Visa or MasterCard (for Canadian Credit Cards) with the balance due 60 days prior to trip departure. Non Canadian Credit Cards are charged the full trip fee payment in US dollars or a Bank Wire Transfer in Canadian Dollars at the time of booking.

The trip dates do sell out so please book early to get the trip dates you want.

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