8 Days, 7 Nights|
Guides, Instruction, All kayaking and group equipment, Lodging and all meals|
Airfare and transportation to Placencia, personal clothing and equipment including sleeping bag & pad, full medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, taxes and gratuities.
Blessed with the world’s second largest barrier reef and of the four true coral atolls, Belize is a winter haven for North American paddlers. Join us as we explore Belize’s coastal waters including a jungle river and some marvelous cayes. Spend your first and last nights in beachfront inns, and experience first-class camping on the cayes. At night we enjoy fresh seafood and insights in the the Belizean culture from our local guides.
Day 1: Arrive in Belize City mid-day to catch an in-country flight to Placencia. We'll spend our first night in comfortable cabanas and dine on Belizean cuisine as we get to know our fellow travelers.
Day 2: We'll depart in the morning and head to a local jungle river for a two-day paddle down to the sea. Along the way we'll enjoy the abundant variety of life in the jungle and become familiar with this very unique ecosystem.
Day 3: We continue our journey to the sea meeting our support vessel for a shuttle out to the cayes. We'll camp on the cayes just inside the barrier reef enjoying freshly caught seafood for dinner.
Day 4-6: We combine paddling in our kayaks with plenty of opportunities for snorkeling, fishing and simply relaxing. With warm waters lapping at our shores and the world's second longest barrier reef yards away the opportunities are plentiful! Throughout our time on the cayes we are accompanied by a support boat.
Day 7: We pack up and bid farewell to the beauty of the cayes to return to the mainland and spend our final night in Placencia. We celebrate the trip over dinner at a local restaurant. Day 8: We say good-bye to our Belizean guide and travelling companions return to Belize City and catch return flights home.
This is all you will need - anything else is unnecessary baggage and will only be extra weight to carry.
3-7 t-shirts, some synthetic for paddling
1 shirt, long sleeved
2-3 pair shorts (some quick drying)
Sneakers/cross trainers hiking; some prefer hiking in Tevas or other sandals with socks
Rain gear just in case! For Belize, a full rain suit is recommended.
pair sport sandals; Tevas, water socks, etc. (Paddling booties work great!)</li>
Casual clothes for evenings (shorts/summer dresses are fine!)
Clean change of clothing for the trip home
Passport (be sure to check expiration date - it should be at least six months after your intended date of return)
Toiletry kit- toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, face cream, nail clippers, moleskin, baby powder, soap, washcloth (most hotels don’t provide them) etc.
Personal medication kit- ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamins, band-aids, Dramamine®, cold/sinus meds if prone to colds
Daypack/fanny pack for hiking options
Collapsible walking stick for optional hikes
Sunglasses Chums/Croakies® to keep glasses on your head are imperative
Water bottle (optional- bottled water is plentiful and cheap)
Small dry bag with carabiner clip (clear ones are very useful)
Camera, digital media, waterproof container
Paddling gloves (for the tender of palm- not neoprene but any open fingered glove can help; e.g. biking gloves etc)
Small towel (e.g. PackTowel® works well)
Small travel alarm clock
Mask and snorkel
Field glasses – binoculars
Your own Paddle/PFD- we will supply paddles and PFD’s for group but, if you prefer your own paddle and PFD, feel free to bring them along
Ziploc® storage bags (to keep stuff extra dry in dry bag)
What is special about this trip?
Home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, the aquatic life is unmatched in this hemisphere. A world under the surface awaits your kayak paddle, snorkel and fins. Camping on remote cays far from the call of civilization you can imagine what the first explorers felt when first visiting these shores. Fresh food, local guides and a unique jungle river camping experience top out this warm weather adventure.
How do I get there?
The Northwest Passage will have your flight itinerary and will meet you at the Placencia airport. You will need to switch planes in Belize City, generally at the International airport. Upon disembarking from the plane at Belize International Airport, you will have to go through customs before entering the terminal. English is the national language in Belize, so don't hesitate to ask an official if you are confused about where to go when you get off the plane.
What papers do I need for travel?
US citizens require a valid US passport. The expiration date should be at least six months after your intended date of return. Non-US citizens should check with their Belizean embassy.
Do I need to get any shots before traveling?
No inoculations are required for Belize, although it’s a good idea to ask your physician about any optional vaccinations he or she might recommend.
How and where will you meet me?
The Northwest Passage will have your flight itinerary, and, in most cases, will meet you at the airport. Your guide(s) will be wearing Northwest Passage shirts and be holding a Northwest Passage sign. If the guides are unable to meet you at the airport, they will give you detailed directions to the meet-up spot.
How long will it take me to get there?
The flight from Miami, Houston or New Orleans takes about 2.5 hours. Direct flights from Los Angeles and New York are typically also available.
Where should I stay overnight around there?
If you plan on spending extra time in Belize or the surrounding area, contact the office for recommendations on where to stay.
What money should I take?
You will not need money on the trip unless you’d like to call home or purchase gifts to bring back home. Ask your guide for the best places to exchange currency.
What's the currency? Exchange rate? Where can I exchange money?
While having Belize dollars can be helpful at times, there is really no need to exchange money. Everyone in Belize accepts US dollars. The only time you would need Belize money is if you were to use a payphone or similar automatic machine. The exchange rate is two Belize dollars for every one US dollar. It is very easy and convenient. Always ask if the price of something is in Belize dollars (BZE) or US dollars. If an item or service is in BZE simply divide it in half to find the US price.
Do they take plastic there? Are there cash stations?"
Credit cards are taken at some tourist facilities (i.e. some hotels, restaurants and airport gift shops) but most merchants do not accept them. Be prepared by having adequate amounts of cash with you for your visit, and some smaller-denomination bills may also be useful for small purchases.
What's the weather like?
The daytime temperatures generally will be in the 80s with a lot of sun. Make sure that you have a way to cover your skin and face (a brimmed hat etc). It is also likely that we will encounter some rain and for this you will definitely want a full rain suit. Evenings tend to be somewhat cooler than the days which makes for pleasant sleeping. Winds can sometimes be strong, but tend to die out towards afternoon. Find out what the weather is like in Belize today by visiting www.wunderground.com
What are the accommodations like?
On the first and last nights we stay in hotels so close to the sea that waves lull you to sleep. On the nights inbetween we camp in expedition tents.
What do I need to bring?
Upon registering, we will provide you with a detailed packing list. As for clothes, casual is in order - no black ties here!
Can I drink the water?
You may want to bring a bottle of water with you for your flight down and for your layover in Belize City (bottled water is also available at the airport). Once in Placencia, the water is mostly rainwater and is ok to drink. While we are paddling we will also have fresh water that is OK to drink.
What's the food like?
Belizeans eat widely from among the food groups. The typical breakfast consists of bread, often homemade but increasingly bought from Chinese shopkeepers, eaten with cheeses, beans, eggs or cereal, topped off by milk for younger ones and coffee or tea for adults. Midday meals vary, from lighter foods such as tamales, panades (fried maize shells with beans or fish), and meat pies, escabeche (onion soup), chi mole (soup), and garnaches fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and sauce, to various constituted dinners featuring some type of rice and beans, meat and salad or coleslaw. In the rural areas meals may be more simplified than in the cities; the Maya use corn or maize for most of their meals, and the Garifuna are fond of seafoods, cassava (particularly made into hudut) and vegetables.
What time zone will I be in?
Belize is six hours behind GMT.
How can people reach me in an emergency? Can I call home?
If you'd like to give a contact resource to family and/or friends while you are away, you can give them either Northwest Passages contact information (see the bottom of this page) or the name and number of the hotel we will be staying at on the first and last night of the trip. Communication to and from Belize can be difficult and it may be easier to let NWP get a message through. We will be difficult to contact for the majority of our trip, however upon returning from the cayes you will be able to call home.
How much time do we spend traveling each day? How many miles? Do I have free time?
We paddle between 4 and 14 miles a day, which allows for free time in the afternoon.
What kind of equipment do you use?
We use single and double plastic kayaks and foldable double kayaks.
How many people are on this trip? How many guides? Who are the guides / what are their qualifications?
Our group sizes for this trip range from 6 to 16 participants. We generally have two guides on the water and one or two additional staff members as van drivers. Your guides will be knowledgeable Northwest Passage staff members who are highly skilled in all aspects of sea kayaking and wilderness travel and have years of experience leading groups. They all have training and/or certification in Wilderness First Aid.
How can I prepare physically for the trip? How much prior experience is needed?
We have had participants on this trip who have never been in a kayak before and others who have been paddling for years. We have found that all levels of kayakers have enjoyed this adventure. A good level of personal fitness makes the journey more enjoyable. For kayaking, upper body exercises that strengthen your shoulders, back and arms are recommended. Strengthening exercises with free weights can be very beneficial. Upper body stretches and exercises such as rowing are also useful. Keep in mind that we have had folks at all different levels of physical conditioning thoroughly enjoy this trip and the van is always an option! It is extremely important that you know how to swim and are comfortable in the water. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about your physical capabilities for this trip.